There are many ways to cheat another person, or oneself. Cheating another person is the vocation of con-men and some ‘businessman’. Cheating oneself is a more serious thing-for one may not even be aware of doing so.
In this modern hectic world of ours, many people indulge in cheating to get what they want. I remember two men who once came to my neighborhood to sell “fireproof clothes. You may laugh at the thought of such absurdities as ‘fireproof clothes, but a few of my neighbours were convinced into parting with their money by these smooth-talking tricksters.
Later on they realized that they had paid atrocious amounts of money for ordinary clothes. They had been cheated by sweet words and smiling faces. Well, at least I hope they learned a valuable lesson.
Yet some people seem to fall prey to these con-men all the time. Often we read about people who were cheated of vast amounts of money by strangers who had promised them bigger fortunes. The victims were guble enough to believe that their money could be multiplied by magic stones, or magic words and incantations. Invariably, these strangers disappeared along with the “life-savings” of the victims. If, hi the first place, the victims had not been greedy, they would not have been cheated like that. They deserve to lose what they had willingly given to these con-artists.
Have you ever felt that you were cheated over the things you bought? I have, many times. Once I brought a tube of popular brand toothpaste only to discover the next morning that it was a clever imitation of the original. The box in which it came in looked genuine at the first glance. A closer look revealed otherwise. The taste of the toothpaste affirmed its falsity.
There are also unscrupulous fellows who make imitations of common over-the-counter medicine. Imagine taking a flour-pill for your headache! No wonder the headache does not go away. Nobody really knows the extent to which such activities occur. The only safe thing to do is to get your medicine from a reputed and trustworthy dealer.
Inferior products, underweight goods, adulterated drinks and contaminated food are instances of cheating by dealers who do not care what happens to their customers as long as they make their profits. Such practices cannot be stopped. Indeed, it will probably increase. It is upto the authorities to keep an eye on these cheats. It is also up to us not to patronize them. We can do without most of the things which we buy needlessly. We can also make our own drinks and cook our own food instead of buying them from the market.
Cheating others is a relatively obvious activity. Cheating yourself is less so. Sometimes, you do not even realize your self-cheating. Some examples of self-cheating that you may recognize are—telling lies to save yourself, copying a friend’s homework, raiding the refrigerator while you are on a diet or your mom is out, saying yes when you mean no, saying no when you mean yes, conveniently forgetting a promise made to someone, keeping borrowed objects and studying only to please your parents.
Some people indulge in cheating most of the time. Others cheat sometimes. I don’t know of anyone who is totally honest, either to the other person or to himself. The only living being that I know of that do not cheat are the rest of the plant and animal kingdom Yes, these so-called animals and vegetables—live honest lives. A dog will growl if angry or wag its tail if happy. It does not, actually it cannot, pretend. It is totally honest. Similarly trees grow and flowers bloom regardless where they are. They do not grow exceptionally well in a pious man’s garden and refuse to grow in a crook’s garden. Scheming and cheating are exclusively human activities.
Is it not ironic that we, being more intelligent, must cheat in order to get what we want, while the less intelligent animals live honestly and in the process often get bullied by us?