Telling a lie is an art ? A straight faced innocent lie is art because not everyone can do it. That is probably how the folks who can carry it off end up feeling that they can get away with anything. When you look at all that has happened in the world lately..... The big scams, the collapse of the big firms, the shaming of the big celebrities, whatever it be. When you look deeper, it all probably started off with one little lie. Something that looked quite harmless at that time. And then it grew bigger and bigger and finally reached unmanageable proportions. It grew bigger because no one questioned it, corrected it.
I remember my childhood days when the little lies crept in. I was probably six or seven then. Were they really small lies or was it a child's imaginative mind? The line is unclear. But like most children who day-dream about becoming a big sportsman or the like, I had my little dreams too. I would dream about being that famous footballer. In those dreams of mine, I would be scoring the most glorious of goals, winning the closest of matches and lifting trophies of gold. Reality was of-course different. I was not the most gifted or natural footballer. I would not score the most glorious of goals or win the closest of matches...forget lifting that trophy of gold. After a while, I started loving the world of my imagination more than reality. So, I started talking about it. On my way back from school, I would tell my mom stories of my football heroics. It obviously looked too good to be true for my mom. She listened in a couple of times, but finally had to tell me that the stories were not tying up. She broke the news to me very subtly that it was not a good thing to lie. She told me in as many words that she would not tolerate lies. I felt ashamed. So, imagination stopped flirting with reality, the little dreams stayed in the mind and I stopped the little lie.
What might have happened if I had got away with those little lies? Who knows. But, I learnt early on that telling the lie risks getting caught out. I learnt early on the embarrassment of being caught telling a lie. I learnt early on that it was not done. However, there was another incident that reinforced this in my mind. I was a little older, maybe grade five and in those days it was a real privilege to carry a fountain pen to school. I had my own fountain pen and it was something I really treasured. One day I misplaced the pen and when my folks asked me where it was, I was scared that I had lost it. So, I spun some story about having given it to some friend who did not return it.... actually, another little lie. Again as fate would have it, soon after, my mom found the pen and realized that I had lied. This time it was clear to me that every-time I say a lie, I will get caught and that it was not worth it. My mom told me that whatever the circumstance, including in a situation of fear, it still makes sense to speak the truth. The truth might make you look bad, but the lie will make you look worse. The simple truth wins always over that little lie. That is a lesson I never forget all my life, something I share with my children. Really thank my mom for those early lessons on integrity...I can now sleep easy every night. In today's world, that is a blessing!!