Ullu (owl) – Foolish or Wise? Today in ITPN class, a very interesting debate started but due to lack of time and due to some over excited people (mostly psychology stream kids, they speak so much! Are all psychology people gifted with feature like “I think after I speak,”? it’s so annoying) who have to speak on everything! The debate somehow could not finish properly. So, the house was divided on if “Ullu” was wise or foolish. Owl, who wakes up at night and sleeps during the day, is considered to be the poster boy of wisdom and smartness.
In Hindu mythology owl has been bestowed with the honor of being the vehicle of goddess Saraswati. Now Saraswati is supposed to be the goddess of knowledge and music. So if we interpret it correctly, owl can be seen as the vehicle of knowledge, which I assume, is a very respectable thing to be. But then why does “ullu da patha” which means son of an owl is taken as an insult? So when someone is calling you “ullu da patha” isn’t he indirectly calling you something truly respectable?
But actual meaning of “ullu da patha” isn’t son of an owl, but when someone calls you “ullu da patha” what he’s trying to say is “I can’t abuse you properly right now”, and by properly I mean reaching mothers and sisters. That’s the reason it’s taken as an insult because we know the hidden meaning. We often hear people calling us “ullu” whenever we do something foolish. But what is that foolish thing which our poor owl does that people keep associating our foolish acts with his? Is it his gaze? Or his nocturnal sleeping habits? But what’s so wrong about sleeping in the daytime?
If everyone is sleeping at night that does not mean our poor owl has to copy them. I think it somehow shows how our society sees things, if someone is not doing what majority is doing, he is labeled as stupid. Why are everybody expected to do same things? Walk the same path to success. Isn’t this stupid? (Doing things without thinking and follow what others do) Ask any science student today who is studying in school that what he wants to do after school? Answer would be the same, “I want to become an engineer and then do an MBA! Thank God, I am not running in this horse race. I guess, not everybody was so ignorant and somebody somehow realized that how wise our poor owl could be. I don’t know what was that person thinking when s/he made owl the vehicle of Saraswati and put our owl in the league of wise. I think what makes him wise, is the fact that he has the wisdom of the night. He knows what others don’t and he knows what other’s hide. He knows the secrets of the night. His uninterrupted gaze, his 360 degree vision, sees what lies in the dark, what happens in the underbelly.
Maybe people had started calling him stupid, to hide their shame, they thought that by calling him stupid they would make him untrustworthy and nobody will trust his words. But they forgot that our poor owl needs to sleep too, he won’t tell their secrets to anybody because when the whole world daydreaming, our poor owl is actually dreaming in his sleep. So, if next time, someone calls you “ullu da patha,” don’t feel bad and think about the hidden meaning. Rather think about the respect that man is giving you unknowingly! -Shikhar Goel
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