The moment of truth

04 Mar

You must have seen the gameshow by now. Everyone I know has. In case you havent it goes like this

Prior to the show, a contestant is hooked up to a polygraph and asked more than 50 questions; there is no polygraph testing conducted during the actual show. Without knowing the results of the polygraph, he or she is asked 21 of those same questions again on the program, each becoming progressively more personal in nature. If the contestant answers honestly, according to the polygraph results, he or she moves on to the next question; however, should a contestant lie in his or her answer (as determined by the polygraph) or simply refuse to answer a question after it has been asked, the game ends.

The questions vary, increasing in difficulty and degree of personal nature of the questions. To date, no contestant has reached the final tier. Sometimes, a “surprise guest” – such as an ex-partner or a good friend – will come on the stage and ask a particularly difficult question. Friends, colleagues, and family of the contestant who are gathered near the player have access to a button which can be used to switch out a question once per game, an option which is introduced to them after the third question.

Personal nature means personal nature. Those questions carry an amount of money for a reason.Sample

Contestant Lauren Cleri admitted to committing adultery and that she believes she is meant to be married to an ex-boyfriend instead of her husband. The latter was a replacement question after Lauren’s sister hit the button to keep her from answering the question of whether she’d leave her husband if the same ex-boyfriend (who was present to read this question and the replacement question to her) wanted her back. She won $100,000 and went on to play for $200,000, but lost everything on the question, “Do you think you’re a good person?” She answered “Yes,” which, according to the polygraph, was revealed to be false.In May 2008, Frank Cleri filed for divorce.

Why do people like me watch the show?Can there be a better tamasha substitute than washing of individual’s dirty laundry in public?You pretend to be shocked as questions of personal nature surface eagerly waiting for the contestants partner’s reaction. As their faces shrink on public embarressment you quickly pass judgement on the morality of the contestant, sympathise with the embarrassed partner and then salivate at the prospect of the next question being more demeaning than the current. You wonder how much is this person willing to push the envelop for cold,hard cash.

Why do people participate in such a show?And why do people with dubious past/serious dysfunctional character flaws participate in such a show?Is it the money?15 minutes of fame?To clean out their closet?

Maybe in a “log kya kahenge” society like ours such a gameshow will not find contestants but if shows like MTV Splitsvilla can maybe we have can expect something like this in near future.

But my point is can you  tell the truth all the time?

All of us live our lives of hypocracy-with absolute truths,half-truths and lies. Why even the Bhagwad Geeta propounds that a lie that is for the benefit of another is worth a hundred truths. Perhaps to really grasp what I will say next you need to have seen the questioning followed in the show. How many of us can put our hands on our heart and say we have never desired at any point better parents,siblings or even a partner-maybe more successful, more goodlooking. Haven’t we felt ashamed at some practices our parents hold dear which may have aliented us from our childhood/teenage peers? Maybe you have not indulged in adultery but havent you checked out the hottie in office/class and for a split second wondered “what if”?You can say its in the mind and I have never acted on it. Again don’t thoughts lead to action and more importantly when you are hooked up on a polygraph and your mind races for the “morally correct” answer in front of your loved ones, will your palms clam and your heartbeat race just a bit to pronounce you a liar.

I think the simple statistic that no contestant has ever won the jackpot answers the question that perhaps we do not expect or desire complete truths all the time from people around us. Often walking away after finishing a particular tier, the contestants rather let certain questions remain unanswered (although certain truths may have already caused irreparable damage). Just like real life. Sometimes its better to not know the truth. Because the truth may not set you free.


Posted by on March 4, 2009 in Uncategorized


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3 responses to “The moment of truth

  1. Saumya

    March 4, 2009 at 2:43 pm

    Dirty Linen being washed… yes we love watching that… dirtier the better..
    But I think the whole show is a sham… There are agencies which choose such contestants and then again they are tutored to act and answer in a certain way and hence they never go for the entire jackpot..obvi the channel is not a charity and will never let give up that kind of money to people…

  2. Jeet

    March 4, 2009 at 3:53 pm

    nothing is perfect in life…… that is the first thing we all need to accept… yes there will always be times when you would think, hey i could have had better parents, siblings or even partner… but what differentiates between people who stray and people who dont…. is the love that you have for your loved ones…commitment to your loved ones( not neccarily to your partner) against all odds is what differentiates people from one another…

  3. Banjo

    March 12, 2009 at 2:20 am

    Well, it’s not exactly for the benefit of others. The Gita talks about a greater cause, for upholding Dharma, which by the way is NOT Religion. You can call it the greater cause.


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