Height of assumption


The bus from Vytila to Kottayam (point A to point B ) had a few passengers standing, though was not overloaded, I decided to board, hoping to get a seat by the next two stops. All the standing ones were looking around and trying to figure out which seats had the potential to be  vacant.

I saw a guy raising his butt inches  of his seat and resting back at the first stop. Ah thats the guy I should focus on, I thought.

I was not looking anywhere else, thats my future seat. It kept happening for the next 5 to 6 stops. My asumptions were not working. About 10 minutes away from my stop  the guy next to him got down and and I took that seat.

Meanwhile, I was curious to know why this chap was misleading me though he was oblivious to the fact

I asked him where was he going ?

He said “kottayam” and that was where the bus was heading to. I was getting annoyed with my assumption.

I told him ” you looked like you were going to get down at every stop and I was hoping for your seat. What was happening ? You looked like changing your mind at every stop”

He whispered ” I have a boil”, he rolled his eyes down, which suggested ‘you know where’, “I was finding relief by sitting lightly”.

” you better stand and travel” you will be more comfortable and another guy  who is standing can sit and travel .

A win win situation, I told him.

Looks like he enjoyed his discomfort more than the others comfort.

There are two main factors to be considered. One is assumption, the other is communucation and I misfired on both counts.

I had a goal, here to get a seat, with only plan A.

Note that for our day to day activities, whether in office or personal life, we need to make many number of assumptions. If I promise to meet you the next day at 9 am, I am taking lot of things for granted. I am assuming that my vehicle is in running condition, will nor break down on the way,  I will be able to travel without trafic obstacles, etc etc., no emergency at home,  will be alive at 9 am, again etc etc. We can plan and work for it. However, we have no control over the outcome. I am not sure how people make it happen !!!

The lesson  here, to work on the assumptions and prove it right. For that we have to communicate and thats my problem, I dont ask for directions since I am from Mars (men are from mars, women are from venus)

In the bus, I could have asked the guy , ya the guy with “you know what” directly where he intends to get down, I could have made a plan B.

Another option, I could have asked the conductor to tell me who is the guy paid less, he should know since he has issued the ticket. And could have gone and stood next to the him waiting for him to get up. Even that does not guarantee you seat, there may be a smartee who elbows you out and grabs the seat. You see,  planning has to continue..

Can you think of situations, when things did not go your way ? Maybe you should have proved as many of your assumptions right and proceeded.

I get a bit annoyed when someone asks many questions on a single point like direction to a place, do we turn left, is it south or north, next to the bakery, what are the things they have in the bakery, will we get the smell of cake or bread, when we near that ; all these because I told them to take a left turn after the bakery. Their questions may upset me, however the possibility of they reaching their destination on time or achieving their goal is very high.

We take N number of decision every day accompanied by  N plus assumptions

Work on the assumptions and improve the communication for a better performance .

The obvious.

It was my first time to a place called angadipuram, in interior kerala. From Shornur station, I had to buy a train ticket for a passenger train, to….you know what, I was just two guys behind to the counter when I could not remember the destination name. Shucks, what do I tell at the counter where I need the ticket to. As soon as I was behind the guy in front of the counter, I heard him say two tickets to Angadipuram, Yessss, thats the place I am going to, and when my turn came,  I said confidently, two angadipuram with an enquiry, which platform is the train ? Platform 7.

On our way to platform 7, I got talking to the couple with a baby, the guy who was of timely help to remind me where I was going, at the counter.

There, the train was waiting and we took our seats, in different compartments. I asked the guy sitting next to me ” where you going “. He  said Palghat. I said ” not where you coming from, where you going” since this train was coming from palghat. He repeated his reply and I told him this is not going to palghat. He asked me where am I going to. I told him angadipuram. He cried out, you are in the wrong bogey. I said what, this is platform 7 ?

This train is split into two. This goes to palghat and the other half disjointed after two compartments goes to angadipuram. I with my better half jumped out and ran towards the other half, the so called right half and got into a bogey, double checked with the passengers.

All of a sudden, I remembered, the couple with the baby. The train looked  ready to leave and we were debating, should we take the risk to go in search of them. I said I owe them a help because they could not afford to go the wrong way with the baby in hand and I ran to search for them. I found them and together we, me, the couple with the baby and their bags managed to throw ourselves into the moving train. I felt good with my deed, helping the couple and the baby avoid all the hasles, going the wrong way.

Coming back to platform 7, it was too much for a first timer to expect a two headed disjointed train ready to move in opposite direction from a single platform.

The obvious need to be challenged at times, like the assumptions. With this experience, we cannot be running up and down the platform to check all the bogies are connected whenever you travel the next time.

You can have plan A and Plan B, not necessary to stretch it to plan Z. And leave alone a few assumptions, take the risk.

My friend Hari Kumar was telling me , ASSUME is making an ass of u and me. Here the ass is only me, however wiser.

An elder staying with the couple for 18 years, died. The husband commented to his wife, I have to confess, I tolerated him all these years because he was your relative.

My relative, exclaimed the wife, I thought he was yours and that must be height of assumption.

Any body wants to adopt the wisdom, you are welcome and I may continue the same way don’t want to miss the fun .


In life, like in cricket or any sport, you miss some, you hit some.

Life is a game, play it with sincerity and integrity.

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Grateful for the love and respect received so far. Inspire, motivate and enable anybody to achieve their limitless limits-that is my goal for the rest of my life. Worked in MECON, Mphasis, Cofounder KelpHR, kelphr.com

Categories Uncategorized6 Comments

6 thoughts on “Height of assumption”

  1. Your writing comes through as in Esop tales – it has a story and a moral. It is readable because it flows like a fiction. I am too formal and serious in my writing. Not being my style, I like your posts even more.

    They say a person stops learning after an age and can never change his personality or behavior. But I think we can and do change. Afterall, as we grow, as we age we have a ton of expereince to show for our white hair. It was some 10-15 years ago when I hit upon an observation that whenever I made an assumption that was one sided, it had a good probability of turning out to be false and what is worse the downside of such a development also followed. What my cumulative experience in assumption making was telling me to avoid making one sided assumption. ‘Don’t make any one-sided assumption.’ hs been my personal advise to self and many others. It has helped me avoid some messy situations in which I would have found myself otherwise.

    Another moral of your story is that too much planning is not worth it. Planning is required (mega projects would otherwise suck too much of wasteful money, time and effort. But all project plans change in light of developments, new information, changed circumstanes etc. Good planning calls for dynamic plan that revisits the plan at periodic intervals and tweaks the plan if required.

    I am an introvert. I have a tendency to avoid asking stranger any questions which are uppermost in my mind. My wife, Archana is bit opposite and would without any hesitation ask her questions and get answers. She would have ask the squirming passenger about his destination whereas I would have kept the question churning in my mind amid ‘should I or shouldn’t I?’ conundrum.

    I look forward to your blog posts. Their monthly or so frequency is just right to enjoy them delicioisly.

  2. Another nice blog by Menon in Kerala.
    Being a good player of chess, bridge and cricket, your level of deductive logic and inductive logic are beyond average. But these are developed by more and more experiences and that too new ones which you were going through especially when you travel.
    Some article mentions that you have to work on areas like Observation, Listening, Logic, Humility and Open-Mindedness to improve your ” Assumptions” or inductive logic.
    But any amount of logic will not work with persons with boils or Indian Railways.

  3. You are at it again…
    With humour leading…
    Great Rajan, keep up the entertaining…

    I never imagined (see, I am not using the word ‘assumed’……) that you would stretch to such nicely readable lengths, a simple perspective of what I referred, the “you know what”…

    Btw, I am just wondering what is planning after all, without assumptions…!!!

    Rather, the successes in Plannings are results of higher levels of accuracies in Assumptions…

    I believe, every big Biz idea surely had lots of Assumptions getting desected day in n day out, save the Survey’s for hard data…

    The reference to ass-of-u-n-me essentially confirms the Absence-of-Communication aspect n you have nicely elaborated it, great again…

    Waiting for your next installment….

  4. There have to be assumptions in all the plannings. Proving as many assumption right as possible improves the possibility of getting the required outcome. Thank you, for your comments.

  5. Hi. I thoroughly enjoyed the way you have put across your point in a humorous way…. pressumptions are required while planning anything and are based on the fact that v take certain aspects in that scenario for granted…and when preassumption turns out to be perfectly correct , it results in successful planning…. However assumption are those where we have a little lack of confidence without proof…It’s a fine line….That’s why I believe it’s said that to assume turns out to be an ass of u n me :-)… But it’s gud at times to sit back n njoi n go with the flow to keep the surprise element which makes it fun and exciting…

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