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Mine is the kind of curiosity that doesn’t kill. Is there such a kind at all, you ask, having mostly heard about the one that got the cat killed. You bet there is. I am curious about the universe (a wide topic that cannot be known in any one lifetime, I know), how things work (broadly and generally in some cases, I have my limitations!) and so on. You have to admit, these are quite harmless and quite different from the one that got the proverbial cat into trouble, and also the lizard which poked its nose where noses should not be poked.

You know what I think is wrong about the world? Well. one of the many things. People aren’t curious enough about the right things. They are curious about all the wrong and unnecessary things. Some are curious what their neighbors are up to. I used to have one who kept an eye on me like a hawk twenty four hours a day. Even at 3-30 a.m. Others are curious about who is sleeping with whom among the celebrities. Gossip columns and magazines thrive just because of them.

Then there are the other kind, who are not curious at all. You might think that’s good, but only when compared with the above lot. But otherwise they are the kind that evoke the fervent feeling in you to take the nearest handy object and bang one on their head to wake them up from their slumber, rather slumber-like state. These kind are mostly the extra religious and spiritual kind. Or pretending to be. It is all maya (illusion), they will say quoting from the scriptures in the kind of voice cultivated by the self-styled god-persons. To them everything is merely god’s greatness. If you so much as look at a dog and say, ‘What a cute dog!’ or see a flower and remark on its perfection, they will tell you it is all god’s handiwork, made in all his wisdom. Nothing amazes or piques their interests, there is only smugness. Ugh

My curiosity about the world is a later development. As a child it was never encouraged. it angers me that people take so much time and effort as a society to inculcate blind faith in children, but do not cultivate a curious mind. What good is keeping your study books in front of the goddess, purportedly to be blessed with knowledge, when you stifle curiosity in learning in children? What you see of me today is a much older version of the curious-child phenomenon everyone keeps talking about, trying my best to satisfy the insatiable thirst for knowledge in the limited time I have. Believe me, most things go right over my head, but that doesn’t matter. Learning/finding things out is interesting by itself, and engrossing too. And anyways, I break it all down and grasp it in my own way. What I miss sorely: people with the same curiosity about the universe and its wonders.

© Shail Mohan 2020