The Disease of Underestimation

Image Courtesy : Shrink For The Shy Guy

My friend and I were sitting at a restaurant near our house. After a few minutes, a person came and sat in front of us as there was a seat available and, immediately he ordered something. We were waiting eagerly, to have something very delicious. My friend started talking about the past and present.

Meanwhile, the waiter delivered burgers to the other person who was sitting in front of us. Whenever he was devouring a piece, he made a big slurp which disturbed us a lot. I did not bother much, but my friend literally got annoyed. Soon he wanted to move out of the place. I was trying to convince him. Unfortunately, he did not listen to me, and I was forced to finish my eating. Both went to a small park. To find out the reason for his walkout I asked him ” What happened to you?”

He said, “the person  spoiled my mind completely.”

I understood that he mentioned about the person who made a slurp at the restaurant.


“He didn’t know how to behave or eat in a public place. I think these people are a problem for us. They should not be allowed to sit inside. They don’t know anything and they don’t possess any knowledge about anything. I wanted to enjoy a pleasant evening with you. He ruined everything. I’m extremely sorry. We’ll meet another day.”

He left right away. His behaviour was completely annoying to me. I was thinking about his strange behaviour.

After some days passed, a few days ago there was a leak in a pipeline in my bathroom. I was trying to arrest the leakage, but I could not. Finally, a plumber was contacted and he reached immediately. He repaired the leakage within 20 minutes. I asked him where he came from. That was the only question which I asked him but for the next 30 minutes, he was talking (in fact speaking) without any stoppage.  It was about the Indian economy, inflation, World Bank, weather forecast, and even global warming. If the truth be told I was wondering about his talking. When I paid his charges, out of my curiosity, I asked him, “What’s  your education?”

“I studied up to 12th standard. Everyone seeks my education because people are wondering how a plumber is able to talk this much. Sir, for grasping all these no need to study at college. If you keenly watch your surroundings and this world then do a little analysis of what you read in the newspapers.”

He left the place immediately, but I could not come out of the stunning moment.

The next day I shared these two experiences with my superior during lunch. But his views were extremely different than mine.

He said, “This is an obsession of our mind. We habitually think that those who live a luxury life are knowledgeable, clever, and solution providers. On the other hand, those who live a modest life are not knowledgeable. I have come across many persons. Some of them are holding plump posts but they have never lived their rich life so far. Do you mean to say that they are not capable of executing anything or they aren’t knowledgeable? No. They are very much interested in leading a modest life and they want to be role models for their children through their activities and behaviours.

Similarly, I know some call taxi drivers, electricians, and others who are all capable of discussing matters such as the budget, economy, and global warming. Earlier these were astonished but later I came to know that knowledge is everywhere but we overlooked a lot and further categorized people into two parts. i.e Knowledgeable and non-knowledgeable. In addition, their dining etiquette and speaking manner will be taken into account. As your plumber rightly mentioned, being a knowledgeable person, it’s not necessary to attend classes somewhere.

If you analyze deeply, you may get some reasons for this. First of all, the presumption on persons brings intolerance and intolerance blocks nearness with the people. Hence, this is a mind game. We developed our minds like that. We don’t recognize the potential of the people, and our mind doesn’t accept the truth that they know something too. Ours brought up maybe one of the reasons for this sort of behaviours. That’s the reason you stunned when the plumber gave a speech. The person, who made a big slurp while eating, did not do any sin. This is not unusual.  

The beauty of life is just to accept what comes to you. If you underestimate everybody in this world, you can’t live your life peacefully and your actions may be an injustice to them.”

His words are certainly an eye-opener for me. I would advise my friend how to behave in a public place if I meet him next time.

©2020 Murali

7 thoughts on “The Disease of Underestimation

  1. Murali, I got married right out of high school. I had a fulltime job and a family when I began college at age 26. At age 40, I graduated and became a teacher, finishing my masters degree while teaching full-time and taking care of my husband (a quadriplegic attorney, graduate of Harvard Law school, and White House Fellow) nights and weekends. I was self-educated, even in high school, and I always believed that I could learn from every person I met and every experience. Education is wonderful, both formal and experiential. I believe, ideally, we need both.

    I feel very bad for the “slurper” in the restaurant. Are there etiquette books in India that he could read?

    Thank you, Murali for discussing this interesting topic.You are providing helpful information to many people. All the best! Cheryl

    1. We sure can learn from other people Cheryl.
      WOW! YOU ARE AMAZING! Of course I knew that about you but taking care of your husband who is quadriplegic and going to school was really unbelievable. But what we wouldn’t do for love. Did you have a hard time opening Murali’s site today?

I'd love to hear from you.