No. I am not referring to the Mammootty starrer. Far from it. I am talking about THE truth.
Something I saw on TV a couple of nights back got me thinking. It was this show called ‘The Moment of Truth’, of which Season 2 is currently being aired on Star World. Whatever I saw of the promos got me really intrigued and I wanted to check it out. It definitely promised to be scandalous, what with the participants being asked “increasingly personal and embarrassing questions to receive cash prizes”. The episode I saw happened to be that of an engaged couple (a first on the show), where questions would be asked alternatively to each of them.
Prior to the show, the participants would be asked 50 (personal) questions, while they were hooked onto a polygraph and they would answer these. The polygraph, obviously, is to verify the verity of the answers, but the particpants are never told how they fared. On the show they’d choose 21 questions of these 50, and the participants get to answer them on national television. For each level (with multiple questions) they clear successfully they get a cash prize, with upto $ 500,000 at stake. A wrong answer (where what you said and what the polygraph detects does not tally) means that game’s over. The show would also have family and/or friends of the participants when the drama would play out.
“That’s it? All I have to do to get that much money is to tell the truth?”, you may think. Not so easy. That’s why you’ve got to watch the show! The episode I saw was indeed interesting. Since it involved an engaged couple, that meant their very relationship was at risk. Each level was more difficult that the preceeding one. It started with questions related to money, then moved on to those related to family and friends, and finally got into specifics about the two of them. They won $100,000 and (very wisely) decided to quit the show there (and not get into any more mess than they already had!). In any case, I thought they had enough going for a fight that could last quite a while!. The End? Not quite. The game show host had another (enticing) ‘offer’ for them. Answer another question on the polygraph (backstage) and for the right answer win $ 5,000 each. They were told the question right there, and they could decide whether to give it a shot or not. The question was simple (??) enough – Do you still want to get married? (!!!!) To my surprise the woman agreed, leaving her fiance with not much of a choice. He did too. What happened? She said a ‘yes’ and it turned out to be true. And him? He said a ‘no’ (and yea, that answer turned out to be true too). They might have won some money, but then…
Anyway, there was this line the host kept repeating throughout the show that was very relevant. "You can play further rounds… but at what cost?” Sure, you can win more money. All you need to do is say the truth (the absolute truth and nothing but the truth). But is it worth it? Yea, sure… the “truly truthful” out there may sit and scorn, and pass judgement on the others – Why should someone be so fearful of telling the truth, unless they’ve done or said things that are shameful?
But the truth is... no one can be completely truthful (how ironical!). You need not have to deliberately tell a lie. Not telling a truth is akin to lying, albeit it maybe called ‘hiding’. There are things you wouldn’t tell others because it may hurt them. There are things that, if made known, will ruin your peace of mind. There are some things you are better off not knowing as certain (you’d rather not know something and have some hope, than know for certain and feel miserable). Sometimes you “know” things are a certain way and you may not like it. Even though you “know” it, it feels a lot worse if someone gives those thoughts words, and thereby confirmation. Also, things change, people change, situations change. What was true once, may not hold good now. Some things are private - your innermost thoughts (or feelings). You probably wouldn’t trust telling it to anyone. We may also choose not to be completely truthful in our self-interest. And what is 'truth' anyway? Aren't all these perceptions? When it comes to facts and figures there is an absolute truth. But what about feelings? Those are subjective enough. Hell, even we're not sure of it sometimes, so how can you judge whether it's a truth or a lie?
Come to think of it, every day we decide about these things... even in the smallest of things we do. To say or not to say; to do or not to do... that is the question. Even when our conscience prods us "to do the right thing", we ask ourselves - at what cost? Some people are willing to get some money for the fact that they'd like to tell the truth (for a change!). Others don't want the money, nor the truth. Few will tell the truth, lead honest lives (atleast as honestly as humanly possible) and don't need money to motivate them.
But eventually when we look at it... We all lie. We all hide. No one can live peacefully by baring all. That is an absolute fact. And if anybody out there claims otherwise… what more proof!
Think about it.
God offers to every mind its choice between truth and repose. Take which you please - you can never have both. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
There is no Truth. There is only the truth within each moment. ~ Ramana Maharshi (attributed)
[P. S. An Indian version of the show already aired last year, Sach ka Saamna. There were plans of a simliar show to be hosted by SRK, but guess that didn't take off.]