“I don’t know”.
It is an ominous word really. You hear them the most when you do not want to and people generally do not use them when they are supposed to.
But when you think about it, it is probably the most common and irritating word you hear on a daily basis. More often than not and not surprisingly, I feel that the phrase ‘I don’t know’ is used for convenience sake than for any real reason.
Let us take a wedding or family reunion for instance. A 50-year-old nosy aunt you have probably seen a decade before in another wedding starts a conversation. “Oh do you know that boy, Paddu’s son? He is studied in your college only. He must be your batch. He is such a chamathu fella, does sandhi everyday and does not even look at girls. “
Well you do not obviously want to say, that boy is a pain-in-the-bad-place and in the last one year has had string of girlfriends and probably does not even know what sandhi is. So you end up saying: “No auntie. I don’t know. It is a pretty big college na!”
I’m sure there is a point in everyone’s life where we have come across sticky situations like these, where ‘I don’t know’ has come in handy. I’m sure, even adults (I’m talking about mothers and fathers here) use them to get themselves out of the awkward conversations that will save both the parties from losing face.
I think for us, it is a more like a phrase of evasion that saves you from innumerable unnecessarily long conversations and trouble.
But it is not every time you want to hear that answer, do you? Definitely not a phrase you want to here when you are looking for someone, in my case a source who could give me great inputs. Or may be you are in a new place and trying to location a building. When Google fails you and at times it does, you have no option but to depend on the locals. This is where the funniest things happen.
You will have a vegetable wala telling you one route, auto wala telling you another. In the end you figure out yourself and cursing them for not saying the magic phrase: ‘I don’t know’. Now you get what I mean when I say the phrase is ominous.
In hindsight, ‘I don’t know’ is rather a powerful phrase that could make or break your day. It gives you insight into the quirkiness and intelligence humans have gained over years, who can tweak the answers based on situation. It shows that we have grown and also that we could be cruel enough if we want to.
That makes us a strange breed indeed. May be a simple ‘I don’t know’ isn’t as simple as it looks.
I don’t know, it sure deeper than anyone thing they are!