MIDWAY : The lost virtue

Honesty is the best policy. Or it was. Nowadays, you’ll be lucky to come across a truly honest person in your lifetime. Similar arguments can be made about modesty, that disappearing virtue.

Most people these days do not bother about such trivialities as weighing one’s words, but are ever ready to mount their high horses and start boasting of their own virtues and accomplishments. And, if none of these features describes you, most probably, you are lying, if you’re not among the few “modest and humble” people still left on the planet.

No matter where one is — in a local tea shop with friends or at a lavish party or when one needs to break the ice — one never misses an opportunity to gush about his ‘superior’ traits. It’ll be hard to miss the whiff of self-aggrandisement in the subtly veiled remarks he tosses around about himself.

Modesty and diffidence have become obsolete words, for the record-books. In a world full of impressionists, all masters at camouflage, modesty can often be confused with hypocrisy. Well, considering the blossoming number of hypocrites in our society, it is not surprising that the truly unpretentious fellows have gone out of fashion. Even the honest might dither from appearing who they really are, lest people mistake meekness for mendacity.

But how does one define modesty? Is it all one’s refusal to overrate one’s abilities and reluctance to gain fame? If so, does it not undermine one’s true abilities, thereby leading one to lose self-confidence?

But whatever they are inside, over-ambitious or shy, this lot always avoid putting on airs and trumpeting their abilities.

For this, they deserved our true respect. But the ability to distinguish between those spinning tall tales and those who truly pour out their heart, albeit with some reluctance, does not come easy. Does one then trust his lying eyes, or one’s ears ever on the lookout for those who try to pull a fast one?

So the next time you come across a person who’s hard to judge, remember: You might have a gem at hand. But you should also not lower your guard for there always lurk the bunch who who are past masters at exaggeration.