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One uneducated and simple minded person joined a military recruiting centre. He was undergoing a few months' training course which would make him eligible to join the army. Unfortunately, just after completing a week of this training, news reached that there would be a visit of an army officer who would interview the candidates and inspect the type of training being given by the centre.
The person in charge of training these candidates was very much worried about the newly recruited simple minded man. However, since he happened to be an experienced army officer, he knew well the type of questions that would be put to the new recruits. So, he coached this man thoroughly to answer correctly most plausible questions. He asked him to first of all remember the sequence of the questions. The first question would be 'What is your age?' You are to say "22 years". The second question would be 'How long have you been in this centre?' You are to answer "two years". And the third may be, 'Are you happy in this centre or do you feel homesick?' You have to say "I am at home both here and in my place."
The Cadet learnt these answers by rote. On the day of inspection, he was asked to come to the interview room. The inspecting officer asked him, "How long have you been here"? The cadet just remembering the sequence of the questions said, "22 years". The officer was rather surprised. Then he asked, "What is your age"? The cadet said, "Two years". "What nonsense is this? Are you mad or am I mad", roared the officer. The cadet calmly answered, "Both" as he could only remember just that word because he had by then got scared.
It is dangerous to remember things by rote.
Source: Chinna Katha II, 49