Sunday, January 11, 2009


Not what, where, when, how, which, or who. For "why" is undoubtedly the emperor of questions. Or so I can confidently claim in these parts, where the idea that opinion supplants fact, or a well-reasoned argument, is not seen as anything unnatural.

But I digress.

I was first introduced to the power of "why" when I was about half my current age. There was this particular girl, whose depth and thoughtfulness I was very impressed with, and no, I am not talking about Ayn Rand - although I did have a mild necrophilic crush on her. This person was as real as Coke, and really smart. It took me a while to realize that what was being perceived as her smartness, was, in fact, her gift for using "why"s as semantic placeholders instead of the more uneducated "I mean"s, or "um"s.

"Hi, my name is Sachin."

You have to admit it makes the conversation one notch more interesting, even if it is only because it is unexpected.

"There are 24 hours in a day."

"God created man."

"The capital of the United States is Washington DC."

You get the idea.

In many cases, the answer is merely illuminating, and many times that is enough to make for a good week. If you are lucky enough to ask the right "why", you may suffer a mild stroke of insight. And if you are really really lucky, you may have an epiphany that may change your life.

Of course, I haven't had the last one yet, but it is fair to suppose. (Linear extrapolation was precomplied in my DNA.)

Of course, this begs the question, why?

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