The art of talking

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GETTING IT ACROSS: Being respectful is the first principle of a good conversation.
GETTING IT ACROSS: Being respectful is the first principle of a good conversation.

Take on students' test of nerves

After his wife’s funeral, a person was weeping outside his house. Two days prior to that, his daughter had severed relations with him marrying a foreigner. Recently he lost everything in business and became a pauper.

He was also told by doctors that he may not live for more than a year. With four unfortunate happenings at one stroke he was inconsolable.

At this juncture a sadhu arrived and said, “How fortunate you are…! Your wife died and your daughter left you. Oh. You lost money also. I am happy to know all this.” People thrashed him.

“It is not what you say; it is what people hear that matters,” says Dr. Frank Lentz in his book ‘Words That Work’. What the sadhu means is, “Anyway you are going to die.

Now you have no bhava-bandhas (association with money and people). God severed all your relations to be more cheerful and serene. I am happy for all this.” Though his intentions were good the timing, wording and occasion was wrong.

When we talk, it is not enough to be reasonable. The person at the receiving end understands it through the prism of his own emotions, prejudices and pre-existing beliefs.

We should particularly be more careful while gossiping. Gossip is the work of the tongue while conversing is that of the mind.

First principle

Respect is the first principle of a good conversation. Have you noticed that we are evolving with a refined language in the course of time? ‘Physically handicapped’ gave way to ‘physically-challenged’ and currently to ‘differently-enabled’. Same way, ‘Intellectually hampered’ is the replacement for ‘mentally-retarded’.

“I don’t mind you thinking I’m stupid, but don’t talk to me like I’m stupid,” says the author.

Before discussing the ten sutras of effective language as envisaged in his book, let us conclude this week’s article in a lighter vein, with a letter by a clerk applying for leave: “Sir, Please grant me two-day leave as I have to go to my native village to sell my ancestral land along with my wife.”


Answer to the riddle: Father goes 2.42 miles on cycle and starts walking.

The son takes the cycle, travels backwards a distance of 1.04 miles, hands over the cycle to his mother and walks till the end. Maximum time: 95 min 44 sec.




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