Taking things for granted

The opening puzzle posed to three contestants five days a week in the Kannada quiz programme telecast in the evening by DD channel invariably features a Kannada idiom. The contestants, after the mostly inappropriate response to the puzzle, are enlightened by the quiz master saying the meaning of the whole phrase has no connect with the meaning of its words, however simple and common place. One such English idiom is Take for granted commonly heard in the slightly changed form Taken for granted. Taking someone for granted means to underestimate the value (or status) of that person, which may be illustrated clearly by the sentence “The editors felt that the publisher was taking them for granted.” Innumerable examples from daily life can be cited to bring home the often unrealised Indian ethos of taking anything or anyone for granted. Customs and beliefs behind the rituals are unarguably the best examples of people of the land in most cross sections of its populace taking them as sacrosanct, but for being questioned by many in some circles of the self-appointed rationalists.

Without casting aspersions on the land’s ancient luminaries to whom are attributed words of wisdom, one is prompted to discount the culture of accepting everything uttered by the elderly in society. The book titled “Don’t accept anything without questioning” (in Kannada), authored by Prof. H. Narasimhaiah of National College, Bengaluru, throws light on the many aspects of taking things for granted.

The advisory Forewarned is Forearmed adequately alerts everyone about the wisdom of not taking things for granted. Reading reports on various happenings in newspaper columns nowadays takes us to the world of uncertainties. Incidents of a scientist losing his life by being washed away in the river at Chunchanakatte (60 kms from Mysuru) and four people bathing at the base of a waterfall getting killed by a boulder that came hurtling down are only some examples of taking things for granted. A seemingly light-hearted example of water not flowing out of the tap in the kitchen early morning on some days is also a common example of taking the water supply system in Mysuru for granted. Then, the everyday happenings of electricity giving the slip, unexpectedly many times a day.

Many among us do not want to think even for a moment about the veracity of whatever comes to them as a rumour relating to inter-communal discord, mostly triggering a local disruption. The nation is paying heavily for taking the rumour as fact. We are witnessing such happenings taking them also for granted.