For your ears only

Last Updated 19 April 2014, 14:01 IST

“Lend me your ears,” thundered Marcus Brutus at the Roman crowds. What ensued was a Shakespearean tragedy.

It is possible, though, to lend your ears and not lose them. The advantages of doing so are many.

You can listen to and soothe a troubled heart, you can get a whiff of the latest scam doing the rounds or even succeed in getting around a worrying problem of your own.

So long as you can hear with your ears, they will admit the sounds of a spinning world and not condemn you to the sufferings of a deaf person caught in a web of silence.

The wise tell us that we have been given two ears and one mouth so that we listen more and talk less.

But who is listening?

Not unless there is criticism and then the results, as one little boy found out, are painful.

Bullied and teased by his seniors, he went with his woes to his mother. She listened patiently and then told him, “Son, just let them in by one ear and allow them to go out by the other.”

“But, Ma,” he said plaintively, “they come in by both ears and sit in my head. The way is blocked.”

Mother merely smiled and so he put her advice to the test. His next complaint was, “Ma, I put one grain of wheat into my left ear, but it is not coming out of the right!’
‘Ear’, in more senses than one, is only a part of ‘hear’.

The real hearing mechanism lies within the head.

What strikes our eyes are the flaps that, unless misshapen or unduly large, lie folded back almost flat against the sides of the head.

Most of us have lost the animal faculty of being able to turn them about to gather sounds, but human ingenuity and enterprise has found a use for them in the business of beauty.

Every part of this organ has seen ornaments, big and small, hung on it.

These fleshy protuberances, willingly and suitably pierced, have for countless centuries been pegs on which have sparkled some of the world’s finest gems and jewels.

Archaeological evidence from Persepolis shows soldiers wearing earrings. During the Renaissance, courtiers wore hoops of gold, stones and pearls.

In ancient India, both men and women wore earrings.

The ears were stretched by heavy ornaments until the lower lobes of the ear became slender stretches of flesh that hung in big loops.

When I was a child, a venerable old lady who exhibited such ears paid occasional visits.

The fascination they exerted on me was complete and I was quite sure she was someone special. I, of course, did not know then that heavy earrings were behind the phenomenon.

Earrings are a true test of a craftsman’s skill, for both should turn out identical in every detail.

At a bus stop, I once came across a lady wearing earrings of two different kinds.

When I pointed this out to her, she puckered her face and said, “You know, I have at home another pair that looks exactly the same.

” I held my counsel after that, but perhaps today’s fashionistas can take a leaf out of her book and start a brand new trend.

Language has a way with words and ‘ear’ is no exception.

If you are inquisitive, you are all ears.

You can be wise and keep your ear to the ground or be out on your ear and so out of a job.

Walls have ears too, and are especially keen when the ears you plaster against them are your own!

(Published 19 April 2014, 14:01 IST)

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