Monday, December 12, 2016

Words maketh a man

By now, I am sure, you are all convinced that the only mantra for success is to check out what I am doing and do the exact opposite. It is practically a social service for me to let you people know what I really do. Maybe time to write my autobiography...don't run away just yet. I have not started on it.

I have been mulling this thing of why people seldom get impressed by my contributions to a conversation. In the normal course, the polite chaps wait till I am done and take up where they left off as though I had never spoken at all. You know, like you pause your conversation to allow that growling monster of a truck to pass by and continue when you can be heard. The impolite...ah, leave them lie, when THEY start even I am not sure if I am speaking or even if I am really there.

Slowly, I came to realize why I never get my due (You wish the same? If I had got my due, I'd have been lynched long ago? Who asked you to butt in anyway?) It is all to do with the words I use.

I mean, take the case where someone says something which with I am partially in agreement. I generally tend to say, "I partially agree..." and leave the impression that the fact that I do not totally agree is because I am shy a few grey cells and cannot comprehend the rest. THAT word 'agree' tells the rest that the other chap is right and people, being incapable of seeing things other than in black and white, tend to see me as being in the wrong.

Consider the impact of "I partially DISagree..." There you go...the other guy has said something stupid and caused this rational, discerning chap to disagree. To have been so foolish as to consider both the same for so long...anyway, water under the bridge. I would anyway have mucked it up by explaining why I disagree. To sustain the impression, you should smugly say 'disagree' and leave the others to think that the only reason why you are not detailing the reasons is because the other chap is too stupid to understand them.

Take matters of Art. If I cannot appreciate something, I say something like, "I do not have the taste for poetry." THAT only causes people to see me as an inferior being with lack of good taste. Who would want to hang on the lips of a Neanderthal with no taste? (Never did understand this 'hanging on the lips'? THAT must be very painful to the owner of the lips, so why would he want others to do it? Oh! It means listen avidly, does it? Hmmm)

Consider, on the other hand, saying,"I am a very choosy reader." Ah! THERE is an artistic connoisseur, the very man before whom you hold out your bowl to catch every pearl of wisdom that drops off his lips. If you use that, be very careful not to say, as a follow-through, that you are so choosy that you read nothing but tweets.

Forget all these flights of fancy. I could not even master the simpler versions like, "If that is how you understand it..." The worst failing is not being able to be the first to say, "Let us agree to disagree." THAT one effectively is the equivalent of 'You think you are intelligent. I do not. So, let us agree to disagree" for the rest of the audience, who are sick of the two of you arguing, and the trick is to be the first to say it.

As with most things, the wisdom comes too late for me. AND, as they say, 'Those who can, do. Those who cannot...'


  1. Its like posting recipes on internet or to a magazine.... Lentil and rice crepes will have a bigger audience compared to the humble dosa :D

  2. Let us agree to disagree - probably never happens in the true sense..there's always that itch one keeps wanting to scratch :)