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Apples, Oranges and Other Things


Law of Comparison

The derisive cliché employed to quell disputants, in the context of comparisons, inculpates the perceived dissimilarities between the two otherwise utterly enjoyable fruits bequeathed by trees that sport the august appellations of Malus Domestica and Citrus X Sinensis, the latter, as noticeable, claiming a middle name as well. Unsophisticated commoners know these fruits simply as apples and oranges.

Their mention in the referred cliché is made considering the perception of the said commoners, who only deem the immediate visual and gustatory characteristics of the fruits to be their defining criteria. The fundamentals of all objects being the same matter-energy combination that has manifested into this immense assemblage that we call the universe following rule driven steps, the lower we go down these steps of manifestation of an object, the more is it prone to exhibit similarities with other objects, notwithstanding their conspicuous diversity upon the mundane plane. This traversal across planes of manifest fundamentals, moves the indicator of comparability from the extremity of being entirely dissimilar to revealing total resemblance. Clichés, however, fall by the wayside, never to bare their fallacious impertinence again, during this cross-planar perambulation.


Law of Deduction

Consummate loquacity deviously aiding the establishment of the narrative that dissimilarities and homogeneity are but two sides of the same coin, which can be termed the law of comparison, it may be useful to understand another such related principle - the law of deduction. Languages can be defined to be the sonic expression of experiences. Every language has its own set of phonemes and morphemes that decide how such expressions are devised, the evolution of these contrivances dictated, prompted, and influenced by the prevailing environment of a geographical and/or social realm to which the language in question is associated. However, there is an array of human experiences that exude a signification of universality, the process of reproduction being one such member of this class. If phonemes and morphemes are functions of the physical and social environment, and reproduction being primarily and overwhelmingly female centric, the innate and instinctive expression for a mother must be near-about similar in all languages. It is indeed so, with about 95% of languages worldwide using the sound "Ma" in their expression for mother.

Fathers, with their generally diminished involvement in the process of birthing and fostering, barring the initial contribution, are not granted such unequivocal importance. The more conscientious among them do however lend their services in providing a safe domain for the feminine activities and later gradually introducing the young ones to the vagaries of the outside world. But here too the sounds "Pa" and "Ta" along with some of their closely related first cousins (like, "Ba" or "Fa" being cousins of "Pa" based on the very similar tongue and lip placements while pronouncing them; ditto being the defining relationship between "Da" and "Ta") dominate the expression for father across languages, the first sub-group of sonant cousins being more prominent between the two.


The Two Laws Applied in Tandem

Exploring life more intricately, we see the two laws described and derived above, work in harmonious tandem in most situations. Consider the ubiquitous tavern, with its beguiling locale and carefree atmosphere. When the pressure of populations was more manageable, casual visitors and incorrigible dipsomaniacs would bask in the tender care of bar-hands, while their innards did the same under similar attention bestowed by the intoxicants consumed. As an immediate consequence, their nephridial mechanisms would start to work overtime requiring them to often seek relief. Vicinities in impoverished neighborhoods would offer long rows of walls lining the street for this interaction with the outside world, while more affluent ones would contrive to bring the outside inside but within confines. Burgeoning populations of today may have tempered the sedate and genial ambiance of the past, but the essential flavor of these retreats endure.

In such a scenario, the ministering lavished upon visitors at the bar counter by solicitous human care providers and their inanimate, aqueous counterparts can understandably and reasonably be equated to the motherly sentiment. The periodic urge to interact with the outside world, the need to abide by protocols of transactions thereof , and the physical effort involved in the exercise, undeniably relate it to the fatherly outlook. With the explained human behavioral processes for an imposing and emphasizing backdrop, the immediate expectation would be to easily locate expressions in some languages at least, if not all, where phonemes already identified with the sentiments in focus assert their presence. Disappointed, we are not. One language at least, surely does so.

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Denouement Expressed

The Urdu language evolved from the amalgamation of contributions of cultural expressions from four others, namely - Turkic, Arabic, Persian, and Hindi in varying proportions. Unique was its upbringing, divided between contrasting climates, as in the tents of marauding soldiers and the courts of conquering kings. It reflected the vanity and indulgence of the victor and the disillusionment and dismay of the subjugated, seamlessly woven together. With nearly 30% of the world population speaking the four mentioned tongues, Urdu professes a nativistic link with all of them. Having glorified it adequately, it is time to fixate upon the desired sentimental pursuit. The word for a tavern / bar in Urdu's versatile vocabulary is "Maikhana" while that for a loo is "Paikhana". Just perfect, aren't they! All snoops worth their salt, will be envious of this electrifying sleuthing accomplishment.

Does this inspiring story end here? No sirree! Up and coming is yet another twist. Furtive hoarding of wealth is one more occupation affiliated to the state of being a male. In a flourishing tavern, there being no known exception to this distinctiveness, there is always a one-way migration of pecuniary wealth between visitors and the tavern-owner. Verifiable testimony of this fact can be had from the well-stocked and usually secluded and concealed safety vault of the tavern. The Urdu moniker for a vault is "Tehkhana". Bingo!


A Contemplative Footnote

Religion and science may provide a more somber and pedagogic platform for formal truth-seeking. But the laws of comparison and deduction offer a buoyant and robust setting where transgressions are no bar and fun is for free, in addition to the great satisfaction of probing verisimilitudes. What about truth then? Well, if humans have sought it ever since they have come to be and are still at it -unsuccessfully, maybe it is a futile quest.


Saleem Qureshi on March 10, 2021:

Nice , interesting reading indeed !

Its provoking me to do a bit of research into finding more amusing words ,,, perhaps in other languages too !!!

Suresh Srinivasan on March 09, 2021:

Very delightful writing, with a subtle touch of wit, humour and parody while broaching on the theme of science, religion and language. The particular analogy of the masculinity and feminity in a tavern was really hilarious and most enjoyable. Maikhana, Paikhana, taikhana but all finally may lead you to dawakhana!!! I doubt after rwading the piece, i shall ever compare apples and oranges!!!

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