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“Mom told me that big boys wear underwear, is that true?”  The innocent little boy I was, I asked. Perhaps the correlation between age and underwear was an enigma. I do not know how smart or unintelligent the question was but I asked nevertheless.

“Yes, mom is absolutely right! All big boys wear underwear!” With confidence my father assured me categorically not intending to contradict what my mother had set out to accomplish – less fight in getting me into my little boys’ briefs every time I changed into clean clothes, or so I imagine.

“You are a big boy, you are wearing underwear, right?” My father asked as the opportunity presented to plant the practice in me was ideal.

“Yes dad! Am a big boy!” I agreed while all smiles most likely thrilled that my father had mentioned me with big in the same sentence, “So dad, are you wearing underwear?”

I do not remember what his answer was; frankly, I have no recollection of any of it. My big brother who was there when it all ensued narrated it to me.

Similar questions got me to watch a lot less Bollywood movies when I discovered Hollywood. Essentially, I could not understand why on average an English movie runs one hour thirty minutes yet on average an Indian movie exceeds three hours. My questions lead me to answers that brought about more questions.

 

Case in point, an Indian movie will have about five songs of five to eight minutes long, give or take that is half an hour lost; can they not have movies without songs in them? Where gardens (mostly from some part of Scandinavia) running and rolling in love on the blossoming flowers have to be showcased! Then I observed, being chased by bad guys from point A to point B, a Hollywood James would simply run A to B, a Bollywood Rajesh over the same distance would have to go through an exploding car, defeat a fat guy, kill a crocodile and bring down a wall with his raging fists. Then of course, all Bollywood movies star characters that play similar roles with good looks and nice hair that at some point have to get wet from either rain or waterfalls. I came to the above conclusions because I asked.

Asking questions is vital for the survival of the human race. Isaac Newton asked questions on something as simple as observing an apple fall from a tree. His simple questions lead to the discovery of the earth’s gravitational pull. Innovators, explorers and philosophers have always been and will forever remain people of paramount questions that pave way into critical thinking. The more questions asked, the more thinking done and the more breakthroughs into worlds unknown to the normal mind.

It is vital that we ask the right questions. For instance, I dare you go ask anyone superior to you if he or she is wearing underwear today. Asking my father that question many years back was the right question for me at that time. Leaders – political, religious or otherwise, tend to lie in shape with their convenience.  We must not follow anyone blindly but ask questions that matter; questions that shake their very being. In fact, we need to ask them the most difficult questions that an average follower keeps them on toes.clip_image001

Asking sets us into research mode forcing us to experiment and read widely on whatever it is that we seek to understand. We end up with little discoveries that allow us to understand the world better than we know it. Rally it in you to ask questions that will make you read scriptures, constitutions, policies and any material that builds you up as a person. Naturally, asking questions makes you more aware of your surroundings and what affects you as a person and those that you care about. The contrary, is poison.

People however, do not ask as much as they should. It may be because we are lazy to push our minds into solemn thinking, into exploration. It is important to know that thinking borne out of hard questions sets the extraordinary apart from the ordinary. At times, we may be scared to ask as it often leads into shaking the status quo since questions are a sure way to cut across the grain. However, if the status quo is not working right, why then not ask questions that makes things move as they should? If you cannot ask loudly, ask silently at least for you to have a rough idea on the true state of affairs.

It is fundamental however, to understand that criticism has to be positive because only then does it bear fruits.  If your questions are malicious or not well thought out, you set yourself up as a dupe.

Start asking today and nurture those around you to do the same. Be a thinker!

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