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    © Sriram and sriramchewsthefat, 2009. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Sriram and sriramchewsthefat with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

DIRT – Short Story about ‘Herd Mentality’

Posted by sriramchewsthefat on July 28, 2017

Consider a group of friends living in a big house in one of the big cities in the subcontinent. Common rooms of the house are Bathroom, Toilet, Living Room and Kitchen. Total number of people who are staying in this house is ‘eleven’ and each one of them will have their own bedroom. All of them are men and out of which ‘ten’ of them likes playing the sport called Cricket. The one who doesn’t play cricket is named as ODD and the others are named as EVEN_Number (EVEN_1, EVEN_2 etc) in this story. Every week all the EVEN members will be playing cricket in the Sunday evening in the ground which is walkable from their house. Every week someone has to clean the common rooms and this week is ODD’s turn. From this Sunday evening, one more person named NEUTRAL is going to stay in this house (He will be sleeping in the Living Room).

SUNDAY:
Around 4 pm all the ten EVEN persons started from the house to play cricket in the ground. ODD started cleaning the common rooms. He cleaned all the common rooms and the objects present in it by 7 pm. Around 7.15 pm all the EVEN members reached the home after playing cricket. ODD saw a common thing among all these EVEN members when he opened the door.  All their faces are covered with DIRT. Now ODD was wondering how it is possible for all of them to have a DIRT in their face. His mind was thinking that some big fight might have happened during the play which is common if you play beat matches between the teams. ODD was waiting for others to speak about this. But none of them noted this DIRT on other’s face and most of them are busy in discussing about the matches they played today. ODD thought that once they have taken rest for sufficient amount of time, at least everyone will wash their faces in the bathroom.

After 10 minutes, one by one went to bathroom. All of them washed only their hands and returned to the living room. All their faces still covered with DIRT. This raises curiosity in ODD and he want to let them know this information as everyone is present in the living room. The conversation is as follows,

ODD: Hi, it seems all your faces are covered with DIRT. It seems, you guys forget to wash your face.

EVEN_1 is the first person who went to the bathroom. He just washed his hand and not his face and people have just followed what he has done. Now he got annoyed after hearing ODD’s suggestion.

EVEN_1: ODD, do you know the meaning of DIRT? Define DIRT? What is DIRT? How the DIRT will look like?

Now EVEN_1 got support from EVEN_2.

EVEN_2: He doesn’t know anything about DIRT. Look at his oily and ugly face. He is getting envious because of our looks. So, don’t believe whatever ODD is saying.

Now more than fifty percent of EVEN members started supporting EVEN_1 and EVEN_2. They got annoyed of the ODD suggestions.

EVEN_3, a friend of ODD who used to speak to him regularly went near to ODD in person and started the conversation about the reason behind his suggestions to others.

EVEN_3: Why you said those suggestion to us?
ODD: Don’t you think you guys are having DIRT in your faces?
EVEN_3: Nope. We all look same here. Actually you look odd here compared to us. You might need to wash your face.

Listening to what EVEN_3 said carefully, ODD now thinks that it’s difficult to convince them. But still he wants clarification as this is for the first time he is seeing all their faces are having DIRT.

ODD: Can you explain what happened in the ground today? Any fight happened?
EVEN_3: No fight has happened in the ground. In fact after long time we played three matches today. We could have played an extra match if not the stand storm which came and disrupt the play for 15 mins during the second match.

Now ODD found the root cause of the DIRT problem.

ODD: OK. So don’t you think the stand storm is the reason behind all this (That is DIRT in all your faces)?
EVEN_3: It might be if the DIRT was in our face. But we don’t have any DIRT in our face.
ODD: DIRT was visible in all your faces.
EVEN_3: No. I don’t think so. By the way, why are you not coming to ground with us for playing cricket?
ODD: I am not interested in playing cricket for past 2 years.
EVEN_3: OK. Got it.

Now EVEN_3 explained to other EVEN persons about the perspective of ODD,

EVEN_3: ODD got annoyed with respect to how we reacted to him. Even though, ODD said some valid reason about why all of us are having DIRT, still I am not sure about it. By the way, he doesn’t like playing cricket.

Now EVEN_1 and EVEN_2 started saying to others that,

ODD has started all these stuffs because he doesn’t like playing cricket and he doesn’t want others to play cricket too. Also, he was not following and doing things like what all of us in this house are doing. Now nine out of ten EVEN members agree that ODD is lying and he doesn’t want them to play cricket as every EVEN members are getting entertained compared to ODD by playing the game. Now the overall context got changed.

Still one EVEN person is having a doubt about whether the DIRT is present in his face or not. EVEN_2 found out that EVEN_10 is still not assured like other EVEN members. He got a plan to convince him. There was a mirror present in the hall. So he and EVEN_10 went to check their faces in the mirror. All the others are eagerly waiting for their findings and replies based on the same:

EVEN_2: We have checked both our faces. We found that DIRT is visible in our faces. Then he gave a pause…

Every EVEN members face is turning pale and ODD is slightly getting relieved that finally people are going to understand the truth. EVEN_2 continued now..

EVEN_2: But the DIRT is not in our face. It’s should be in the mirror. Because how come the DIRT will be present in both me and him (EVEN_10). It is impossible. Only common thing between me and him is this mirror. This week is ODD’s turn to do the cleaning work of the common rooms. He didn’t cleaned the mirror properly. I doubt, whether he has done the cleaning work today.

Now the smile is coming on all the EVEN members faces as their belief is correct from their perspective. ODD was perplexed now. He don’t have any words to reply to others. He was totally lost. And then after few seconds, he said that he has cleaned all the rooms an hour back properly including the mirror.

Meanwhile, NEUTRAL along with his luggage’s entered the house. Then by looking at the faces of everyone, he predicted that some big incident has happened. Then he enquired about what has happened till now and heard the stories from all of them. As his name suggests every one eagerly waiting for what he is going to say about this situation.

NEUTRAL: By pointing out to ODD, If I was you, I wouldn’t have bothered all these guys to say things like this. If you don’t like playing cricket don’t say things like this to stop other’s to play the game. I don’t get why you wasted so much time on these things which you don’t even like and trying to stop others in playing this game.

After hearing what NEUTRAL said every EVEN members become joyous. One of the EVEN member asked NEUTRAL for cross-checking the mirror once for confirmation. NEUTRAL ‘S reply for that request is,

NEUTRAL: After 6 pm, I don’t like to see the mirror because of my superstition. Will check tomorrow.

Now every EVEN members started giving more respect NEUTRAL now and they also made one important decision about ODD. That is, from now onwards, NEUTRAL should be moved to ODD’S bed room and ODD should be sleeping in the living room. Except ODD everyone agreed for this move and they have also asked ODD to clean the mirror properly by tonight. Now the time is 9 pm. So few people started preparing dinner and everyone completed their dinner by 11 pm.

After dinner, NEUTRAL moved to ODD’S bedroom. Others went inside their own bedroom’s. ODD has taken his luggage from his room and placed it in the one side of the living room. There was a sofa in the centre of the living room. He was just thinking what has happened between him and his friends for the past few hours. He saw the mirror which was hanging in the wall. He just want to cross check the mirror once whether it has any DIRT like what EVEN_2 said earlier. He went near the wall, taken the mirror in his right hand and checked the same by looking at it.

Mirror looks as clean as it should be without any DIRT.

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