"HOW DO you pronounce r...a...p...p...o...r...t?"

"Why do you want to know?"

"First, you tell me, and then I'll tell you."

"O.K. The `a' in the first syllable is pronounced like the `a' in ....."

".... like the `a' in `china', I bet."

"No, it's like the `a' in `cat', `bat', and `sat'. The `or' in the second syllable is like the `or' in `pore', `sore', and `bore'. The final `t' is silent."

"The stress? Is it on the first or second syllable?"

"It's on the second syllable. When you have a good rapport with someone...."

".... I know what it means. When you have a good rapport with someone, you have a good relationship with him or her. You understand the individual very well."

"Lots of people find it strange that I have an excellent rapport with Bala."

"Well, I guess it's because you two are so different. Anyway, how about this example? My physics teacher has an excellent rapport with all his students."

"Good! I wish my boss had a good rapport with the new accountant."

"I thought your new accountant had some good ideas about how to cut costs."

"She does. But my boss isn't willing to listen to anything she says. According to him she's just a Johnny come lately."

"Johnny come lately? What does it mean?"

"When you refer to someone as a Johnny come lately what you mean is that he/she is a newcomer. As you know, this accountant joined the company very recently."

"So your boss isn't willing to listen to your accountant because she doesn't know much about the company?"

"That's right."

"How about this example. We don't pay any attention to Laxman. He is a Johnny come lately and doesn't know what he is talking about."

"Another expression which means the same thing is 'new kid on the block'."

"I have been going to the same restaurant for ten years. Why should I listen to some new kid on the block?"

"I have been with my company for fifteen years. But my boss still thinks of me as the new kid on the block."

"That's because he's been with the company for forty years, and....."

".... I don't want to talk about my boss. Tell me, why did you want to know about rapport?"

"Well Sujatha said that if I wanted to have a good rapport with her, then I should...."

".... a good rapport with Sujatha! That's not going to happen."

"Why not?"

"You are too lowbrow for her."

"Lowbrow? What does it mean?"

"Well, what kind of a person is Sujatha?"

"She is very intelligent. I guess you could call her an intellectual. She...."

".... at least, she thinks she is an intellectual. Pretends to be one anyway. What sort of person are you?"

"Well, I am not very bright. I am not very fond of intellectuals. I guess you could say that I am not very refined. Furthermore, I,....."

"...all those things make you a lowbrow."

"O.K, I think I understand. I feel ill at ease in the company of highbrows. You could say that I am allergic to them."

"Geetha used to be a highbrow, but she has given up some of her fancy ways."

"Some of the highbrows in my class meet every Sunday to discuss poststructuralism and ....."

".....don't want to know."

"O.K. Tell me, is there a middlebrow?"

"Yes, there is. Someone who is a middlebrow is average."

"In other words, mediocre?"

"That's right. People like you and me are middlebrows."

"I thought you said that I was a lowbrow."

"According to Sujatha you are. But in my opinion...."

".... forget it. I have to go. You take care."

"You too."

* * *

"Doing nothing is very hard to never know when you're finished." — Leslie Nielsen

S. Upendran

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