MIDWAY: Walking encyclopedias

Little knowledge is dangerous and also loud and irritating. It’s amazing how people, especially those who have little or no knowledge about a subject, are always there with unsolicited advice. You may never get an encouraging smile from them when you really need it, but they’ll nevertheless be there to say “I told you so” every time you fail.

I always appreciate well-intentioned advice, however bizarre it may be. It’s the patients of the “I know it all syndrome” that irritate me. This is the 21st century and the world is rapidly moving from specialisation to micro-specialisation. Yet, these people behave as if they possess a degree in politics, academics, fashion, etiquette or even philosophy. They presume to have the right to give their “expert” opinion anywhere and anytime.

Everyone, including the aunt who got married because she couldn’t pass the 9th grade, will “teach” you the “methods” of studying effectively. It’s ridiculous like obese people giving dietary instructions. Then you are stuck with a career decision. Suggestions? Of course. Only they talk so much crap that all they manage to do is get you confused and scared. “No, no scope in science…don’t even think of commerce. Arts? But why? “Basically, it’s “you can’t do it because I couldn’t syndrome.” But that’s human nature, I guess.

My brother, a qualified doctor, was cleaning up my aunt’s wound. There were five people around, each giving his own “medical” advice. “Oh clean up there too or the infection will spread.” “No, not that bandage, it’s too short”, “Don’t touch that, it’s not sterile. “

Study, career, love life, marriage, even medicine... these walking encyclopedias seem to know everything without actually knowing anything.

Interestingly, the real professionals are usually silent. A board topper would never screw his nose at a 65 per cent, he knows what it takes. A job-holder will never underestimate any work although those unemployed are sure to comment on your not-so-good position or less-than-expected remuneration. Lesson for the day: Filter what you hear, check your facts and make decisions based on your own convictions. After all, the responsibilities and consequences are always yours alone.