One of the signs of being powerful, is when you become an expert in giving unclear ambiguous answers, all the while behaving as if these are definitive answers.
Unable to decide if you want a gulab jamoon or cake is OK; it doesn't hurt anyone except you (Whatever you chose ,it is bad for you).
Unable to say yes or no when asked if you like the gift you have just received ? Its a toss up between lying and hurting someone. And lying is so much easier.
It even happened in the scriptures. Kaurava Senapati Guru Dronacharya , with his special powers was invincible. Lord Krishna, advised folks to kill an elephant called Ashwatthama and then go around spreading the news that Ashwatthama was dead. Unfortunately, Guru Drona's son bore the same name. Assailed by doubts he decided to ask Yudhistir. So when eldest Pandava Yudhishtir, known for always telling the truth, was asked about it, he gave an ambiguous answer with the voice volume selectively modulated. All said amidst celebratory planned conch shell blowing, shouting et al to drown the clarity.
He said "Narowa Kunjarowa". (Which isn't Japanese. Please. ) It is Sanskrit for saying, in this case that " it could be elephant or man ". Who was dead. Guru Drona,did not hear the elephant part, and unable to handle this news which he presumed was about his son, laid down his arms and along with it a big strength of the Kauravas in the battle. Yudhistira, whose chariot always rode so many feet above the ground in celebration of his erstwhile single minded truthfulness, suddenly noticed his chariot touch the earth, hopefully with a thud.
Politicians do this all the time. The Narowa Kunjarowa stuff. A step towards "power".
Conversely, someone who is really good and habituated to this, will always make a good politician, and possibly has an excellent future in the realm of power.
We Indians even have a "head bobble" which comes to us naturally, but to others feels as if we are being ambiguous about yes and no.
The trouble is , all these things are feasible when you have a fancy title, give oral instructions, blow conch shells to drown answers, and employ a lot of PR.
You don't have to write down things. And send them to people.
But then sometimes, one even has long transcripts of emails, all in black white and even color, documenting one thing
Telling you one thing. "No permissions were taken"
Then you get another email from another bigger party, saying exactly the opposite regarding whoever sent the earlier emails. "Permissions were taken.."
Happened in the case of two parties concerned with the appearance of my copyrighted post in one of the leading newspapers. See my earlier post.
Turns out (as of Monday Dec 24, 2012, just received email), that the book where my article was published in print, was sent to TOI for review a long time ago, and permission was given then. (And everyone forgot. ) The paper then gets to print excerpts of the book, without special permission, and the publisher is grateful for the free publicity. This happened so long ago, possibly 2011, that the junior staff at the publisher who handled it forgot all about it.
Stupid Me. And I thought that when they review and publish, at the end of what they have to say, they always give details about the book, such as its full title, pagination, ISBN, year of publication, publisher, and sometimes, price.
What appeared in the Times didn't look like a review to me. If they reviewed the book earlier in 2012, I have not seen it. This Dec 9, 2012 thing was a plain and simple printing of my article, that too, with their own title on top.
No clarity in all this. All ambiguous. In posh terms it is called Human Error.
I guess the Pandavas won the battle, but not the war. Yudhishtir's exalted status for honesty came down several notches, post-Mahabharata the descendants of the Pandavas messed things up with their misrule, and the Yadavas fought each other.
Every thing came to a head with a massive flood, rising of the seas, and the drowning of that civilization under the ocean.
Yes, I know world will not end, the Mayans may have made a mistake. It's OK.
One set of rulers will go, another set will come.
Somehow, I do not know who to believe. About the emails. Or whether i should even bother.
I feel like the elephant Ashwatthama. Who quietly died. Unambiguously.
While all around folks were ambiguously misrepresenting things
So that they might simply get on with their business of power ....