Monday, December 24, 2018

Destructive speech?

Yaakaavar aayinum naakaakka; Kaavaakkaal sokaappar sollizhukku pattu - Tirukkural

Control your tongue even if you control nothing else; Else your ill-said words will come back to bite you - Loose Translation

When I first heard the first part of this, I was shocked. I mean, I LIVE for my tongue, for the taste of all sorts of food and this...thankfully, the second part kicked in. The man was only talking about speaking, not eating! Thank God!

Or, perhaps not. Diplomacy and I have ever been strangers, the former skulking out of sight whenever I appeared on the horizon. You know that story, the one about the King calling in an astrologer who predicts that all his relatives and friends would die before him? Thrown in jail for giving that terrible news? Followed by the second astrologer who predicts that the King would live longer than all his friends and relatives and is rewarded handsomely for being the bearer of such wonderful news? Yeah, I'm sure you have heard of it. Well, that first astrologer...he reminds me of myself so much that I shudder every time I hear that story.

But, yes, I do understand that this is not one of those things where Tiru's advice is dated. I mean, you actually can give offense just because you are not careful with your words even when you had no intention to hurt the other person. Like, say, saying 'Your work is error-free today' and leaving the other guy feeling that on all other days you were going mad correcting his errors. And, then, there are all those times when you shoot from the hip and repent later, taking offense where none was meant, and creating life-long enmities where silence would have allowed a small misunderstanding to blow over in no time. It is not like you can just say, "Oh! I am short-tempered and say things that I don't really mean" and expect it to sort out the issue. Your subordinates may have to act like they believed you but...well, just think how often YOU have believed it when your boss acted so?

And, then, later when it comes to bite you back you start feeling all outraged and rant at the world for not controlling ITS tongue! 

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