On ignorance.

One time, last year, I wanted to fill out this form on a blog. When I got to the “verify you are not a robot” stage of it, I was presented with the following multiple choice question:

Who is the president of India?
a) Manmohan Singh
b) Pratibha Patil
c) Pranab Mukherjee
d) Abdul Kalam

And I picked (b). And it said I was wrong. And then I picked (b) again, thinking it was a bug with the thing. Wrong again. Did they mean prime minister? (a). Wrong. (d). Wrong. At this point I gave up, confident that the question was broken.

Weeks later, someone recounted this same experience on a forum. And he said the answer was (c). Because it was the correct answer.

Only then did I realise that the president had changed.

I also know nothing of sport. I can’t name everyone on the Indian cricket team. Or match names to faces of players. I don’t know anything about India in general. I think Gwalior is in Gujarat, and that every other north-Indian sounding city is in Madhya Pradesh. I don’t know anything about old Indian music, Hindi or Telugu. I don’t know much history. I don’t know how much rice to put on my plate at the mess (because the plate keeps changing and I can’t keep track dammit). I cannot estimate time or distance any more accurately than I can remember the lyrics to songs I love.

Ignorance is good.

You don’t just define yourself by what you know. You also define yourself by what you don’t. What you choose to ignore, or what you truly never knew.

This was #14.


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