Fear of sounding stupid is a paralyzing force.
The first time I faced this was when I was trying to speak English with proper speakers of the language. I had started learning the language only after I turned 9 years old. I still sound stupid when I speak English, I don’t care. There are numerous instances where what comes out of your mouth is completely different from what’s in your mind.
I knew facing humiliation was the only way forward. Luckily for me, I didn’t get humiliated as often as I thought I would.
As I started becoming more confident, my willingness to look and sound stupid has grown. I am taking this to the next level, taking stupid questions to very intelligent people. I am surprised to see that the wise people don’t humiliate you. They are rather inspired by the new questions. Some are patient enough to explain what’s wrong with the question.
Sometimes, they answer a completely different question than the one you asked. Because your question was not correctly framed. The answer is so wonderful, you don’t care to even ask again.
Not every such encounter is easy. Sometimes, they think you are stupid, and they don’t even want to engage.
Sometimes, they think you are more intelligent than you are. They get defensive.
Sometimes, they think the question is insulting. They get angry.
The idea of doing this in front of a camera was the next step towards humiliation. This time around, even if the person in front of you is forgiving, people who watch the video may not be.
Every humiliation has tought me a valuable lesson, I am hopeful about this too.
This was the first episode to air. Adv. Jayashankar is one of the most influential political commentators and a successful lawyer in the Kerala High Court.