Phrases English sayings marbles
Phrases: Are our age old proverbs are at risk? Image Credit: Shutterstock

The present times are best described in one word — as a rush. We are always eternally on the run — to get something, to reach somewhere, to be someone. It renders us to wonder whether our age old proverbs are at risk?

Let us consider situations where people with good Connections appear far more at an advantage than those without. ‘Try, try, try again’ goes the saying. Question is, is it still valid? ‘birds of the same feather flock together’ — I am sure we are very familiar — with this.

Just a thought — how many times have we had to be in a flock where our feathers did not match? Just for the sake of survival? ‘the early bird catches the worm’ — what if the worm has already been secured the night before for that fortunate one born with a silver spoon in the mouth? ‘no pain no gain’ becomes almost irrelevant here.

‘If it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ makes me laugh out loud. How many times do we change our phones, laptops, watches — just to stay on the top of the latest fashion? ‘A stitch in time saves nine’ taken absolutely literally will leave those ripped jeans in tears.

When too many cooks spoil the broth

‘Business before pleasure’ and ‘comparisons are odious’ today would put the world out of business. The lavish lunches and fierce competitions would be left helpless. ‘Too many cooks spoil the broth’ — really? What about the brainstorming sessions then? ‘Flattery will get you nowhere, is unfortunately receding. Flattery wins hearts!

‘Knowledge is power’ — well it can be subordinated by those with money — think of the digital divide leaving millions out of lost opportunities. ‘If you pay peanuts you get monkeys’ — On the contrary, you get the best at the cheapest -outsourcing remember? ‘Fortune favours the brave’-no longer -rather the more well placed in life benefit more. ‘Jack of all trades master of none’-perhaps faces the worst of times.

How many co-curricular activities are children pushed into to be an all rounder is worth the thought for a moment. Perhaps we could ‘cut the’ kiddos ‘some slack? ‘A rolling stone gathers no moss’ — well we often hear our friends, relatives and colleagues switching jobs to get better returns. A cousin (before the pandemic of course) returned to the same company she started with after her fifth job switch in three years!

Related to this ‘a squeaky wheel gets the grease’-in reality someone complaining too much is regarded a threat and is asked to ‘get’ their ‘act together’ or shown the door. The ‘will’ to get through is sometimes faced with ‘ways’ that are nowadays unsurpassable. The twists and turns exhaust us so much that often the ‘will’ exhales. Sad.

Manners still maketh a man

Friends and acquaintances have become so important to stay alive in the present times that ‘there is no place like home’ has taken a back seat — well, for a large number. ‘Cleanliness’ and ‘godliness’ are residing further and further away because we never let ‘bygones be bygones’ and we hardly ‘forgive and forget. We hardly ‘practise what we teach. We have forgotten ‘manners maketh a man’ in our rush to reach.

‘It takes all sorts to make the world’ seems to be our saviour. It gives us hope that maybe, just maybe the other type also exists -even if in a minority. Has it become very difficult for us to give ‘every dog’ ‘his day? ‘Familiarity breeds contempt’-but can we not live in harmony?

We as human beings can do better. Without ‘adding insult to injury’ we can give ‘a penny’ for other’s ‘thoughts’ ‘at the drop of a hat’. Such ‘actions speak louder than words’. When the ‘ball is in’ our ‘court’ let us not go ‘barking up the wrong tree’ or ‘be glad to see the back of people’.

Let us regard the present times as a ‘blessing in disguise’ and believe that ‘every cloud has silver lining’. It seems times are ‘drastic’ so it calls for ‘drastic measures’.

Let us slow down and give a chance to those who have ‘miss’ed ‘the boat’, help them to ‘pull’ themselves ‘together’ so that it’s not their ‘last straw’. Let this not be a ‘once in a blue moon’ act. Let us make this the new normal —‘ better late than never’.

Mamata Bandyopadhyay is a homemaker based in Sharjah.