Window Seat | Mrinal Chatterjee


Biologically speaking, developing a phobia is as easy as experiencing a traumatic event and consistently relating that event to something (often arbitrary) that was present when the event transpired.It is possible for someone to develop an irrational fear of almost anything.

For example,’caligynephobia’ is the distinct fear of beautiful women; at least the ones the sufferer deems to be beautiful. ‘Philophobia is the fear of falling in love. This may start out by obsessing over a broken relationship, and eventually culminate in the fear of experiencing heartbreak again.

Then there is phronemophobia. People who suffer from phronemophobia are scared of thinking. More specifically, they are afraid to be alone with their thoughts, and are said to have a faulty understanding of how the brain interprets ideas and reactions as separate things. They feel that if a certain thought enters their head, they will be powerless to stop it. Therefore ‘phronemophobics’ spend a lot of their time distracting themselves in order to keep deeper thoughts at bay.

And then there is ‘Pantophobia’, (also referred to as panophobia or omniphobia), which means fear of everything. While understandably hard to pin down in direct psychological terms, it can also refer to a non-specific phobia, or just a general sense of being scared all the time.

I guess, most of us are suffering from pantophobia. We are scared of everything. And some of us middle class ‘intellectuals’ are definitely suffering from phronemophobia.

Clarity is dangerous?

Richard Dawkins, often termed as the world’s most famous atheist said in a recent interview,” I have two theories which are not mutually exclusive. One is the religion business. People really, really hate their religion being critisised. It’s as through you’ve said they had an ugly face. There is a historical attitude that religion is off-limit to criticism. Also some people find clarity threatening. They like muddle, confusion, obscurity. So when somebody does no more than speak clearly it sounds threatening.”

How profound!


The other day I attended a farewell party of a colleague who is retiring on this month end. I realised that farewell party is an occasion for nostalgia, reflection and probably plans for the one’s own post-retirement future. Even as I was munching the pastries, I was thinking how I would feel when I’ll retire on 2025. On mid 2017 it looks too distant. But I know, I’ll be there almost suddenly- without me even realising that the time has arrived. Will I be happy? Will I be sad? But one thing is certain- I’ll miss this place in which I have been working for the last seventeen years, this small Central Odisha town, this small campus with a hill and a forest woven at its rims.
Let me not think about retirement now. I have a heavy load of pending works before I hang my boots. And I do not want to be distracted by the thought of life without any work to do, any deadline to meet, any assignment to complete. That is too tempting to fall in love with.

Tailpiece 1: How to get a seat in a crowded restaurant?

A man went to a restaurant and after seeing every table being occupied by couples, he took out hiw phone and pretended to make a phone call loudly saying

“Hey your wife is here with another man…come over and see for yourself.”

Nine ladies disappreared!

Tailpiece 2: Kya Common Hai?

Mandir k bahar Chappal rakhane me aur Miscall dene me kya common hai?

  …..Hamesa dar laga raheta he k sala udhar se utha na le…!!!

(Courtesy: Sudhansu Deo )


Mrinal Chatterjee, a journalist turned media academician. He lives on the valley of Paniohala Hills at Dhenkanal, Odisha and besides writing on media and current affairs, also writes fiction.

[email protected]

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