Just because you are literate, you are not wise

T.S. SATYAN writes: It happened long ago.I had gone with a friend to the telegraph office near Banumiah‘s high school in Mysore when a coolie working at the nearby Santhepet came to us with a request.

“Swami, I want to send a telegram. Will you please write it for me?”

“Certainly. What’s the matter?”

“Someone in my neighbourhood is dead. I want to inform his relative who is living far away. I have his name and address.”

We drafted the message and gave it to him.

He returned it and asked: “Swami, Will you please read what you have written?”

We read out: “Your relative is dead. Start immediately.”

On hearing us the coolie seemed upset, looked at us with folded hands and asked: “Swami, Will you kindly remove the last sentence?”

“Why? What’s wrong with it?” We asked in surprise.

“Swami, the decision to come here or not is something that he has to take. Who are we to ask him what he should do?”

We were dumbfounded at the common sense and values of someone who could neither read or write.