“When Pigs Fly” is a rather interesting idiom. It is used as a phrase to highlight the impossibility of an event happening. I haven’t seen this idiom being used much in India, or rather anywhere I suppose, but it seems to be very popular with interviewers and group discussion moderators so much so that they often prescribe the candidates to write an essay on it, or have a long 15-20 minute discussion on it.
Keeping that in mind, here’s what I think of the topic at hand:
Throughout history, groundbreaking inventions and discoveries were largely scoffed upon at their own contemporary time. If you were to tell a person from the 15th century that in the future people would easily live up to the ripe old age of 80, he’d probably say, “Yeah, and pigs would be flying by then.” Well not exactly that, but this example shows that any claim that seems outlandish now and possibly may even be a reality in the future is treated with so much disdain.
This also shows the innate fear of the unknown exhibited by human beings. “It must be false because I don’t understand or can’t fathom this.” Anything that challenges conventional notions is massively ignored at large. Ignorance is bliss they say. Anatomically pigs cannot fly, but in an alternate reality, if pigs did actually have wings, it would be super awkward to imagine a pig that actually won’t fly!
It doesn’t always have to be this philosophical though. The phrase can be used to rebuff unwanted advances or really stupid questions. For example, “When will you go out with me?” can be replied with “When pigs fly.” A perfect sarcastic retort that won’t even hurt too much. Another example, “Do you think Bangladesh will ever win the World Cup?” “Yeah, when pigs fly.” It’s almost like a writing on the wall. If a ‘too good to pass up’ opportunity presents itself, grab it and run with it.
Now, as you might have noticed by now, my thoughts, which are not even plenty, have been all over the place with this post. I guess this is why this is such a popular topic with the interviewers as it has that ‘in your face’ punch and really makes you think. Interviews anyway are more like a personality test and how you react to such a weird topic and how you come up with ideas on the fly really shows your mettle as a candidate.
On the other hand, this will also rule out the less inquisitive yet more analytical sort of candidate who relies on hard facts and analyses to arrive at conclusions. One might argue that a less creative candidate won’t fit their folds but then again a college/workplace needs people of every kind working together.
One day, I plan to write a perfect article on such an abstract topic. That day will also mark the beginning of a new world where pigs fly!