The Difficulty In Listening
Nasruddin was at the teahouse one afternoon when Arif the hakim walked in.
“How are you, Mullah? I hope you and your family are well,” Arif asked politely.
“I’m fine, thanks, Arif, but I’m worried about my wife, who seems to have become very hard of hearing. Is there any cure for her problem?” asked Nasruddin.
“Well, some degree of age-related hearing loss is normal,” Arif said. “If you bring your wife to my dispensary, I can check her hearing and prescribe the necessary treatment. But before you do that, you can try this simple test. When you go home this evening, call out to your wife from the gate and see if she hears you. If not, then try speaking to her from the front door and keep reducing the distance until she responds. This way you will be able to gauge how serious her hearing deficiency is.”
Nasruddin thanked the doctor for the free medical advice and headed home. Calling out to Fatima from the gate in the front yard, Nasruddin said loudly: “I’m home, dear. What are we having for dinner?”
Getting no reply, Nasruddin opened the front door and yelled: “I’m home, dear. What are we having for dinner?”
Still getting no response, Nasruddin pushed open the kitchen door and repeated loudly: “What’s for dinner, dear?”
Fatima, who was stirring a large pot on the stove, turned to face her husband. “Are you deaf, Nasruddin?” she said angrily, wiping her hands on her apron. “For the third and last time I repeat: we are having fish stew and pilaf, followed by apricot halva for dessert.”
Excerpted from Teaching a Horse to Sing: Tales of Uncommon Sense from India and Elsewhere, by Delshad Karanjia.
Seed questions for reflection: How do you relate to Nasruddin's misplaced inference? Can you share a personal story of a time you judged someone, only to discover the issue lay squarely at your end? What helps you catch your mistakes of inference?
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