Sunday, July 17, 2016

HOW MANY CROWS LIVE IN AGRA?










Pic.: Azriel D'Souza

Years ago, when I had decided to do something about my poor English, one of the things I did – and found very effective – was telling a nice story in two tenses… the Present and the Past. Over the years, I have helped hundreds of people, who were earnest about improving their English, with the same method… Yes, write a nice story down in both the tenses… and, then, tell it to someone…

We need Birbal’s intellect – call it wit or shrewdness – to deal with all these fools and fanatics around us…



HOW MANY CROWS
LIVE IN AGRA?

 PAST: 
Once, a scholar wanted to prove before everyone, that Birbal, Emperor Akbar’s favorite minister, was a hoax. So, he threw a challenge before Birbal. 

“Birbal, you claim yourself to be a wise-man,” taunted the scholar, “can you tell me how many crows live in Agra?”

A grim silence fell over the packed courtroom. Even Emperor’s face suddenly wore a worried look. “How would Birbal know the answer? ... In fact, how would anyone?”

“You will have your answer by tomorrow morning, sir,” Birbal announced, absolutely unnerved by the challenge.

The court was adjourned for the day.

After everyone had left, the worried Akbar called his darling minister aside and said, “Birbal, how will you answer him, tomorrow?”

“Don’t you worry, Badshah," Birbal calmed his Emperor down, "he will have his answer, as I promised.”

The next morning, when the court assembled, everyone seemed anxious, but not Birbal.

“So, Birbal, do you have the answer?” the scholar asked with concealed arrogance. He was just waiting to ‘expose’ Birbal before the court.

“Seventy-thousand-eight-hundred-and-ninety-nine!” declared a confident Birbal without even blinking!



The courtroom was shocked! Akbar raised his eyebrows!

“How can you be so sure?” the scholar was taken aback!

“I have personally counted,” was Birbal’s blunt answer, “You can check yourself.”

“What if the actual number is more than what you have just stated?” argued the scholar.

“Oh, that would simply mean that some crows from other cities have come to Agra to visit their relatives,” Birbal put forward his brilliant logic!

“And, what if the actual count is less?” the scholar tried to hook Birbal with that.

“Very clear, sir,” concluded our Birbal, “it would mean that some crows from our city have gone out of station to visit their dear ones!”



 PRESENT:

(Once), a scholar wants to prove before everyone, that Birbal, Emperor Akbar’s favorite minister, is a hoax. So, he throws a challenge before Birbal. 

“Birbal, you claim yourself to be a wise-man,” taunts the scholar, “can you tell me how many crows live in Agra?”

A grim silence falls over the packed courtroom. Even Emperor’s face suddenly wears a worried look. “How would Birbal know the answer? ... In fact, how would anyone?”

“You will have your answer by tomorrow morning, sir,” Birbal announces, absolutely unnerved by the challenge.

The court is adjourned for the day.

After everyone has left, the worried Akbar calls his darling minister aside and says, “Birbal, how will you answer him, tomorrow?”

“Don’t you worry, Badshah," Birbal calms his Emperor down, "he will have his answer, as I promised.”

The next morning, when the court assembles, everyone seems anxious, but not Birbal.

“So, Birbal, do you have the answer?” the scholar asks with concealed arrogance. He is just waiting to ‘expose’ Birbal before the court.

“Seventy-thousand-eight-hundred-and-ninety-nine!” declares a confident Birbal without even blinking!

The courtroom is shocked! Akbar raises his eyebrows!

“How can you be so sure?” the scholar is taken aback!

“I have personally counted,” is Birbal’s blunt answer, “You can check yourself.”

“What if the actual number is more than what you have just stated?” argues the scholar.

“Oh, that would simply mean that some crows from other cities have come to Agra to visit their relatives,” Birbal puts forward his brilliant logic!

“And, what if the actual count is less?” the scholar tries to hook Birbal with that.

“Very clear, sir,” concludes our Birbal, “it would mean that some crows from our city have gone out of station to visit their dear ones!”



GERALD D’CUNHA



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