Photograph copyright: DAVID McMAHON
Sometimes, assumptions can come completely unstuck. Yep, even assumptions made on the basis of what might seem perfect logic.
Consider this case. It was back in the days when I lived in India and edited a weekly sports magazine for a large media organisation. I was about twenty-four years old. At that stage, I rode a motorbike and wore one of the first locally manufactured full-face helmets. It was a Studds helmet, produced in Madras and after a couple of years, the sliding visor cracked when someone dropped a cricket bat on it.
The only way to replace it was to take the helmet all the way to Madras and have a new visor fitted by the Studds staff. Because I travelled a great deal, it was not long before I found myself booked on a flight for a two-day trip to Madras. I took an overnight bag with me, and carried the helmet in my hand. A very good friend of mine, the late sports journalist Ashok Kamath, met me at Madras airport and we walked out in deep conversation.
At the exit, someone asked me something in Tamil, a language I do not speak. The man was immediately rebuked by someone standing next to him. As we walked past them I asked Ashok what had just transpired. He chuckled and gave me a translation.
The first man had asked me if I wanted a cab or an auto-rickshaw. The second man had chided him for his apparent stupidity. ``Don’t you have eyes? The fellow is carrying a helmet, so he obviously has a motorcycle parked outside.’’
Perfectly logical. But oh, so wrong.