Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Ostrich Syndrome

More than three decades of teaching in dental schools that had students of various nationalities gives some definite surprises, mostly very pleasant ones! We have been fortunate to visit some countries and wherever I am lecturing or giving a course, somebody would come and ask with a beaming face, ‘Madam, do you remember me? I was your student.’ I derive so much happiness from seeing my students well settled in life.

Many of them would insist that we should visit their house or at least have a meal with them. Sometimes old friends happen to see flyers of my course. They would manage to get my contact from the organizers and come to meet. Occasionally we have been taken on a long drive to their home for a lovely dinner!

As in other aspects of life, here also there is the other side. People, who are usually in touch with us, when we tell that we are visiting their country, suddenly will go underground. There will be no trace of them and they can’t be contacted. This behavior I found typically associated with two countries. In one of this, many professionals project a different picture of their lifestyle, but actually they are leading a tough life, driving cabs and doing something similar. I happen to see Indian dentists serving as assistants to the local dentists. Naturally they don’t want us to see the actual situation.

In the other country, people have insatiable hunger for materialistic wealth that they are always under stress and lack inner happiness. So they don’t want to take friends home. That is perfectly alright. The problem is, they will say, ‘Now that you have come here, you should definitely visit our home too’, not once, but many times, and no action will be taken. I find this very amusing and call it the ‘Ostrich syndrome’.

Ostrich Syndrome is denying or refusing to acknowledge something that is blatantly obvious as if your head were in the sand like an ostrich. Another definition of ostrich syndrome is ‘A peculiar condition marked by the person making absolutely nonsensical statements displaying pure stupidity and lack of common sense akin to an ostrich with the head in ground’.

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