Thursday, April 10, 2014

Much Ado about 'Nothing'

When you have nothing to say, say nothing! Easy to say, but whoever said it was not a blogger. I mean, if I started remaining silent only because I have nothing to say, pretty soon this blog would be full of cobwebs and dust with no-one offering to mop and clean the place and make it habitable. It is good then that when I have nothing to say, I can say a lot about 'nothing'.

I do not know how much I make people laugh when I write but I sure made a lot of people laugh for no reason I could discern. There was this friend of mine who would suddenly start chuckling when the two of us were tete-a-tete. If I asked him "What makes you laugh?", he would reply, "Nothing" and continue chuckling. Inevitably, this response sets me to check to see whether my fly was open OR if there was a smut on my nose OR if there was food sticking on my teeth OR...well, you get the picture. That is one 'Nothing' which starts you doubting everything. These chaps, apparently, do not want to tell you why they were laughing since the reason could offend you - and anything more offensive than someone laughing at you (well - if he says "Nothing", it is always assumed that he is laughing at you) and refusing to give a reason, I have not come across, even if the idiot did not keep cackling at discrete intervals after the event.

And, then there is the man, suffused with anxiety, and who replies, "Nothing" when you ask him what was worrying him. Of course, it is MUCH more than nothing - he would hardly want to avoid talking about it, if it were only a matter of having spilled some milk on the dining table, unless his wife were suing for divorce on that account.

Ever heard an angry man scream, "NOTHING" when asked what was making him so angry? Does it seem like it is a piddly little thing OR does it seem like he would reduce YOU to nothing if you persisted in badgering him?

It is one of the mysteries of life, for me, how people will develop words for one purpose and, then, use it when they mean exactly the opposite. Must create one hell of a problem of communication if we ever encounter an alien species. If you get really furious and say, "Nothing" to queries about what was making you furious, they may end up saying, "All Right, then" and go on blithely, thereby causing an inter-galactic incident.

Closer home, though, there are problems enough. All these "Nothing"s are normally the problem of the male of the species which has been conditioned to suppress its emotions. Comes to the more expressive distaff side, a question about what was worrying them would invoke a detailed response.

AND what does the male of the species do?

"You should not have said that, then."
"I think you are reading too much into the situation"
"Why did you not tackle it this way?"
"You should act like this in future"

Instead of assuming that the lady was assuming you to be the Oracle of Delphi, if you could only listen and say nothing, that would suffice.

BUT then we are trained to say, "Nothing" but not to say nothing, if you know what I mean! AND, thanks to that, there is much ado about your not just saying nothing!

42 comments:

  1. The last part of your post is so so true. When women say 'nothing' it means so many things, and as a husband, boyfriend, well wisher, friend or simply 'partner' it is the duty of the man to figure out what this particular 'nothing' means. Starting from the tone in which it is said to the eye movements before and after the nothing is uttered, the man has to glean as many clues as possible to figure out what the 'ado' is about in such cases :)

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    1. Don't I know it - it can range from 'Cajole it from me' TO 'You have ceased to mean anything to me' :) I gave up on figuring it out and put myself in a position where I did not need to :)

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  2. hehehe true :) A woman's nothing usually means a lot of something while if a guy says nothing it usually means just that- nothing! :P I had this long discussion with the husband (mine of course!) once.. about a Russel Peters show where he says that many a times Men sit thinking nothing. I just couldn't understand how the mind can go blank and you can think nothing! :P

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    1. See - Men achieve Nirvana :) Particularly when sitting in front of the TV and watching sports :)

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    2. or those car programs on National Geographic and what not :P

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    3. Yup - SO many ways to achieve it - for MEN :P

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  3. Nothing, and whatever are two dangerous words! Funny post, and thank you for 'Nothing' ;)

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    1. Hahaha! I WAS expecting this from someone or the other :)

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  4. When people are smirking or laughing and the reason cited is 'nothing' ; when people are sad and anxious and the reason cited again is 'nothing' then the only outcome I see is raised levels of curiosity depending on the intensity of the ' nothing'. It's a good technique actually to garner attention.

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    1. Ah! SO there is that motive as well for saying "Nothing"? :)

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  5. the word NOTHING is used by immature people who can't express their emotions sensibly.wise people act according to situation whether there are people who can understand their situation or whether its right to express their emotions in such a way.all the situations and people expressions you have mentioned above are from immature.

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    1. Alas! I have seen VERY little maturity in mankind - or indeed, rationality :)

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  6. Haha. Nothing indeed ! You just proved you are not married :) In a typical husband wife quarrel, if the husband pesters the wife to know the problem ..and she retorts with a 'nothing' then he should know he is in deep shit :)

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    1. Ah/! Ash! I was ONLY talking of when the reason for the anxiety or fury of the wife is someone else. (In fact the anxiety and fury examples were when a third party was seeking an explanation AND not when the cause of the anxiety OR fury was doing so, even when it came to the men) :) Being single has not kept me entirely unaware of the fact that 'Nothing' will be said in the context of a problem WITH the husband AND it means that the husband will PAY for it and HOW :)

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    2. :D True. I now remember that you had recently written a post which had made me doubt your statement of bachelorhood. :)

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    3. Heads you win; tails I lose :) Looks like I cannot retain a reputation both as a bachelor and somewhat knowledgeable about women :P

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  7. Oh women and 'NOTHING' have a relation ship that dates back to the inception of evolution. Ok that does not make sense but you get the point!
    My 'Nothing' means a lot of things and if my man does not understand the mammoth of the situation behind my 'nothing', he is going to have a worst time of his life!
    Andd then they say, it is a man's world.

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    1. Who is this "THEY"? :) If it is MEN, then obviously they say it like I say, "Day by day, in every way I am getting thinner and thinner" with the despairing hope that saying so will make it so :)

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  8. "I do not know how much I make people laugh when I write but I sure made a lot of people laugh for no reason I could discern......" yeh lo...yeh toh wahi baat hui ki hazaar baar khoon karke chura bolta hai, meri dhaar itni tez hai pata hi nahi tha!!!! :) bahut tez hai babu aapke dimaag ki dhaar....pidde se "nothing" ka CT scan se zyada patle slices jo kar diye aapne!!

    had total fun reading it!!

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    1. Hahaha! I can depend on you, Titli, to make my day :)

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  9. ...crisp and peppy! Loved it:)

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  10. But what does Manmohan Singh's nothing mean..

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    1. Hahaha! Another of the comments that I was expecting :)

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  12. BTW .. " I do not know how much I make people laugh when I write "...whenever I visit your blog , my expectation gives rise to a faint smile which gradually broadens as I continue reading.... :-)

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  13. Who better than me to know the value of saying nothing - learnt at the feet of the master himself.

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  14. And I have never read a post this interesting on "Nothing" :)

    -Jas

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  15. Are you a management graduate, a psychologist, a blogger or an author? Don't say nothing, for you can write volumes on Nothing and manage to regale us along with making us think. This was intelligent, witty, thought provoking and yet nothing.

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    1. Thanks Alka! Well - I AM a Chemical Engineer AND a Management graduate; I blog and I do write some fiction (NOTE: I did not say 'Nothing' :) ) As for psychologist - I am an amateur know-it-all like a lot of humanity :)

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  16. Ha ha :) Awesomeness! It is quite tough to write about nothing, and still make it as interesting

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  17. Hmm, when my husband asma me whats wrong and i say ' nothing' it translates to 'not a thing is right' hi hi

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    1. Haha! See - Nothing translates to everything :)

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  18. I know this is pretty far-fetched, Sureshji, but I I remembered the song- Kuch Na Kaho - from the movie 1942 A Love Story!
    We say a lot when we say 'Nothing'! :)

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    1. Ha! That was a lovely song you reminded me of, Anita :)

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  19. Allow me to quote one of my favourite poets, Suresh:

    'Half the world is composed of people who have something to say and can't, and the other half who have nothing to say and keep on saying it.' ~Robert Frost

    The tragedy is, both halves are writing blogs!

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    1. Hahaha! Uma! NOW I do not know which half I would prefer to think myself as belonging to :) I either have to admit I can't say anything OR that I have nothing to say :) Thank God, this covers all 100% or I may have been left with the option of being one of those who have nothing to say AND no ability to say anything :)

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