Common Sense

Common sense is a way of thinking that needs constant nourishing and application. Common sense is simply a way of getting across your point of view in such a way that everybody understands and is able to think of as a simple way of doing things.

common sense

Common means something that is applicable to a greater part of a group or society. In Indian folk lore we have characters like Birbal and Tennali Raman who were courtiers in the administration of great kings. They had great common sense and kept their rulers grounded. Their common sense was laced with wit.


King Akbar was very fond of Birbal and this made other courtiers in his very jealous. One courtier always wanted to be chief minister, but this was not possible as Birbal filled that position.  One day Akbar praised Birbal in front of the courtier. This made the courtier very angry and he complained that the king had praised Birbal unjustly. He then set a challenge and said if Birbal could answer three of his questions, he would accept the fact that Birbal was intelligent. Akbar was always wanting to test Birbal’s wit readily agreed.


The three questions were

  1. How many stars are there in the sky?
  2. Where is the centre of the Earth?
  3. How many men and how many women are there in the world?

Akbar asked Birbal these three questions and arned him that if he could not answer them, he would have to resign as chief minister.

Birbal answered the first question by bringing a hairy sheep into the court. He said, “There are as many stars in the sky as there is hair on the sheep’s body. My friend the courtier is welcome to count them if he likes.”

Birbal answered the second question simply. Birbal drew a couple of lines on the floor and placed an iron rod on it and said, “This is the centre of the Earth, the courtier may measure it himself if he has any doubts.”

In answer to the third question, Birbal said, “Counting the exact number of men and women in the world would be a problem as there are some specimens like our courtier friends here who cannot easily be classified as either. Therefore if all people like him are killed, only then can one count the exact number.”

Tenali Rama and his wife were deciding on what colour to paint their house.

Wife : I want pink!

Tenali : Are you serious? We better leave it white and bright!

Wife : I have made up my mind. I will be happy only with pink.

Tenali (giving her a pair of pink-coloured glasses) : Fine. Have it your way. Wear these glasses and not just these walls, even I will be pink!


The seven other bloggers who write regularly are, in alphabetical order, Ashok, gaelikaa, Maxi, Rummuser, Shackman and The Old Fossil. We have a new blogger Lin at Dun-Na-Sead to the LBC.

About padmum

You could call me Dame Quixote! I tilt at windmills. I have an opinion on most matters. What I don't have, my husband Raju has in plenty. Writer and story teller, columnist and contributer of articles, blogs, poems, travelogues and essays to Chennai newspapers, national magazines and websites, I review and edit books for publishers and have specialized as a Culinary Editor and contributed content, edited and collaborated on Cookbooks. My other major interest used to be acting on Tamil and English stage, Indian cinema and TV. I am a wordsmith, a voracious reader, crossword buff and write about India's heritage, culture and traditions. I am interested in Vedanta nowadays. I am now an Armchair traveller/opinionator/busybody!
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2 Responses to Common Sense

  1. Rummuser says:

    It has been decades since I came across those stories. Nice getting in touch with them again.


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