A cabinet minister in Nagaland is a self-professed ‘foot-in-the-mouth syndrome’ patient. He said and I only quote, “I am aware of my ‘foot-in-the-mouth’ syndrome which has already created so many enemies in my life unnecessarily”. His own party had to apologize on his behalf and express regret for his statement while the opposition party stated that the moment he opened his mouth, ‘his foot will be in his mouth’. After his own party split, members of the splinter party who were his own comrades called him a ‘highly identified arrogant figure’ who is ‘known for his foot-in-the-mouth syndrome’.
But to give him his due, he has been brutally honest about his imperfections compared to some of his comrades. We can also say that there is lesser degree of hypocrisy in him.
At the other end, there are some who suffer from, what I would call as ‘foot-away-from-the-mouth syndrome’. These people will never be found with the foot in the mouth even in the worst situation. Their words are sugar coated, and in the worst circumstance, they can be slippery as worms and wriggle out of the situation with their words. It is an enviable character no doubt to have the ability to choose timely words, and words which are pleasing to the ears.
The reason why I would call it a syndrome is because of the distance between the mouth and the foot. In the former case, if you find the mouth, that is where the foot will also be. And so, it is pretty straightforward and there is no confusion. But in the ‘foot-away-from-the-mouth syndrome’, the mouth is somewhere and the foot is somewhere else. You can find the mouth somewhere, but the foot is somewhere far away; God knows where. These people say something, but they do something else. The mouth movement is not related to the foot movement.
Election is round the corner and ‘lips are moving’, like behen Mejanji sang. But one has to see where the foot is in relation to the mouth.