On Irony

My boss has a peculiar habit of using random words in the most technically incorrect and inappropriate ways. For Grammar Nazis', that's the equivalent of scratching fingernails on a blackboard.

Last week, the word was Irony. I get it that irony is one of the most misused words in English. Heck, even Alanis Morissette got it wrong. What's my boss?

But, the curious cat that I am, I started reading about irony. And man, what a galore of interesting titbits. Since I have never done an informative post on my blog, like ever, I thought today should be a good start for this. This also being my blog's birthday month.

So, anyway, the thing about irony is that everyone gets it wrong. Irony, in simple words, is reverse of expectations. When you say what you don't mean, its verbal irony. When the outcome of a situation is the reverse of what was expected, its situational irony. 

And so, we can safely conclude that Alanis got it horribly wrong, didn't she? Like this guy explains beautifully, it is not ironic that a man who has been afraid to fly all his life, finally gets on an aeroplane and ends up dying in a crash. That was the expected outcome, wasn't it? It would have been ironic, though, if he decided not to fly because he was scared and then the aircraft crashed. Boom. That's irony.

Too technical? I tend to get carried away like that.

So anyway, then I started discovering more ironies. Like it happens in life, usually, you learn a new word and you find it everywhere you go. One of the biggest ironies of life is the human definition of religion. The Crusades, one of the earliest religious wars fought, are a big example. The Western Church went all the way to Constantinople to help out their friends in the Eastern Church, who had asked for help to keep out the Muslims. When the war ended, the Western Church just conveniently dethroned Constantinople himself and took over and eliminated the Eastern Church itself. Boom. Irony.

Another learning about irony happened when I went to a Shubha Mudgal concert the other day and was mesmerized by her rendition of a Kabir song. This man has to be one of the least accredited in our history books. Well before anyone else ever pointed it out, this man sang about how Muslims and Hindus aren't really that different from each other, and must stop being foolish in fighting over their Gods. You want irony? Take this. When Kabir died, riots broke out between Hindus and Muslims, because they couldn't decide whether to bury him or cremate him. Yowzaaaa.

And then a friend pointed out another brilliant example. Lord Buddha, The man who travelled far and wide telling people that idol worship was pointless because God exists within us. Guess who has the highest number of idols in the world today? You guessed it right.

History, in itself, has so many ironies. Alexander! Alexander, The Great, became great when he was declared the deserving Emperor of the Achaemenid Throne by the dying commander, Darius. The irony was that it was Alexander who had pursued Darius to death. A man became the world's greatest ruler, riding on irony. 

The man who invented dynamite, has a peace prize named after him. Noble. Nobel. Not very different from the US policy of pursuing wars to bring peace. And not surprisingly, the butt of quite a few jokes. Like Steven Wright quips, "I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize!" :D

Socialism and what it always results in. Remember Animal Farm? A bunch of livestock animals throw out their human owners and decide to create a world of their own with their own rule - "All animals are equal". Within a short period, the smartest of the animals, the pigs start growing as the natural leaders in the system. The rule gradually changes to "All animals are equal, but some are more equal than the others." And the animals suddenly find themselves in the exact same, pathetic situation they were in, when they were ruled by humans.
That's irony, in its most cruel form.

Gift of Magi, by O'Henry. I can read that story any number of times, and yet regale at the author's amazing take on dramatic irony. Imagine. The girl cuts her beautiful, long hair, sells it and uses the money to buy an expensive chain for her man's watch. Without her knowing, the man sells his watch and uses the money to buy an expensive comb for his girl. They both can't use the gifts they receive from each other, because of the sacrifices they made for each other. Irony.

So, anyway. My point is that, for all that my boss does and doesn't, every once in a rare while, he gets me thinking, albeit with his ignorance. And this time, I must thank him.

I promise I will not resort to informative posts again, if you found it boring. But I do love yapping about the little bit of information I have! So, excusez moi! :)



  1. So 10 lines down, I went back and checked if I was reading the blog I thought I was reading.
    I used Irony in my last post. Now you got me all worked up, and I NEED to check if that was correct. Bah!
    Ok, fine informative posts will be accepted, as long as we have your 'rtravel by Delhi metro' posts more often (the first post of yours I read ;))

    1. Hahaha! I don't think the blog world took to it very well! :)
      No informative posts from next time! :D

  2. Not that I never got it, but it confused me tremendously each time I wanted to use the word. Is that right? And thanks to your Informative post, I may have understood it better. But I swear, until you do Informative post-10 on the same word, I wont dare use it. I will get it wrong :)

    1. :D
      I think I scared all you guys! :D

    2. You wrote this 'informative' post for people to start using the word, correctly. But now people are scared to use it. Irony? ;)

      I enjoyed the post, Curious Cat! :D

    3. Bang on. :D
      Thank god someone enjoyed it! :)

    4. Okay. Now, that I understood. :D

  3. Woah!!! Your Boss finally made you think about 'Irony' and cough out an entire post on 'Irony'..Now is that an 'Irony'?

    1. Sigh. Lesser said, the better! :D

  4. Please do more informative posts in future. It was an interesting post. I did learn a lot thanks to this post.:)


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