The toughest question.

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What’s the toughest question you’ve ever answered? Think about it. Was it something in an examination? Those have the potential to be the toughest question you’ve ever answered, but there are things that are much objectively harder, not because the answer is difficult to come by, but because the question itself provokes humanity in a place you’d not expect.

Questions are harder when you’re weaker. I truly sympathise with those who’ve lost their loved ones. Putting someone off life support, for example, is probably the toughest decision that one can make. Not because of the answer; the answer is simply yes, or no. It’s arriving at that answer after weighing in physical and psychological conditions and consequences. But that is not what makes it hard, either. Maybe they are suffering, and you can put an end to their misery. Still, the decision is not easy.

Thankfully I have never had to experience such dire situations and hopefully, most of us will not. The toughest questions to me have nothing to do with academics, expenditure, savings, favourite musicians or decisions. This is an entirely subjective topic, and of course it depends on the person’s strengths and weaknesses. I, for example, have no problem thinking about the universe and philosophical questions. What came first? The egg or the chicken? The egg: the egg of an animal that was not a chicken. Easy.

I can’t think of my toughest question, personally. But I’m sure that one day I’ll be faced with a question to which I’ll fumble for an answer. Life isn’t a perfect utopia of pain and pleasure that’s easy to distinguish between; there are blurred lines and grey areas between two juxtaposing feelings, happiness and sadness, for example, in which one can dwell for a finite eternity till they get bored and turn to dust. And from that dust you often find the charred remains of some forgotten memory that’ll make you think about years later, and maybe you’ll forget, and wonder. And in wonder there’s amazement, and in amazement, there’s joy.
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Upamanyu Acharya is a writer who doesn't write. Sometimes he's an artist, musician, photographer, physicist or lazy student. His hobbies include being vague, bending rules, time-travel, and embellishment of words. This is his personal blog where he writes on topics ranging from leadership skills to the consistency of jam.

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