Sunday, February 7, 2016

Winners and Losers

"Losers ... always know much more than winners."

Winners focus on one thing.  Focus.  Specialise.  And win.  That's the secret.  Don't waste time on other things.

Blessed are the losers because "the pleasures of erudition are reserved for losers."

The quotes are from Umberto Eco's latest novel, Numero Zero.

"The more a person a knows, the more things have gone wrong," asserts the irrepressible Eco ( his narrator, rather).

One of the pleasures of reading writers like Eco is that they tickle you into thinking.  Think about life.
And be a loser?

I've accepted my loser's streak with both humility and grace, rather recent entries into my genes.  So I sat down to ponder.

If you choose to go on learning endlessly until the Doomsday (of your life, of course), can you be a winner?  No, you can't.  Learners are never winners.  Learners are discontented.  Nothing satisfies them.  Bad luck.

Learners dream impossible dreams.  Learners nurture unrealistic hopes.

"And anyone who nurtures impossible hopes is already a loser."  Eco again.

The real stab came a page later.  Eco's narrator dreams "what all losers dream, about one day writing a book that would bring me fame and fortune."

I felt my heart just to make sure it was not bleeding.  I'm writing a book, you see.

So I stopped thinking and took a walk.  A kilometre from home whose quietness is the hotbed of contemplation, there was a Fest going on.  Pineapple Fest.  In the Pineapple City of Vazhakulam, Kerala.  And I killed my contemplation and joined the winners.  Some pics from the comic relief.

Pineapple is a Winner

From the Flower Show

On Duty

Comic relief is temporary for the losers.  And so I'm back with Eco.  Still reading it.  Funny man, he is.  He can ask you things like: "Why did Christopher Columbus sail west?"  And give you answers like: "Because if he'd sailed east, he would have discovered Naples."  Or, "Why was whisky invented in Scotland?  Because if it had been invented in Japan, it would be sake, and you couldn't drink it with soda."  He can make suggestions like: "instead of saying 'fuck' each time, to express surprise or consternation," why not say something like: "Oh, coitus, I've had my purse stolen!"

Eco is not a cheap comedian trying to tickle the reader's base instincts.  He is a philosopher of meanings.  He can interpret a matrimonial ad, for example, like this:

The Ad: "Hi, I'm Samantha, twenty-nine years old, professionally qualified, housewife, separated, no children, seeking a man, attractive, bright and sociable."

Subtext: "I'm now thirty.  After my husband left, I had no luck finding a job with the bookkeeping diploma I worked hard to get.  I am stuck at home all day twiddling my thumbs.  (I don't even have brats to look after.)  I'm looking for a man, he doesn't have to be handsome, provided he doesn't knock me around like that bastard I married."

Meanings.  Subtexts.  The losers go on looking for them.  That's their problem.


  1. Pretty sarcastic tone.Were you frustrated about something? That's legitimate for people who can SEE,for real.

    1. It's an acceptance more than frustration. Natural as you have already implied.


My India

“Where the king goes, the realm follows,” says a character in Game of Thrones .   It is the leader who shapes the country.   A visiona...