DON’T SAY WHAT YOU MEAN
This article belongs to Sweet Grace column.
What is the hall mark of an honest person? Answers may vary. But according to me it is, "To say what he/she means". This axiom could be put in different forms as well such as, Be truthful, don't back-bite, be completely sincere, be frank" and so on.
But then, there are occasions when you should not say what you mean or what you actually have in mind. In other words, "Say what you don't mean?" or in a down-to-earth language, "Tell lies." Whose hall mark would this attribute be? Don't be surprised if I say that all of us follow this motto fairly frequently.
Going deeper, do you mean every word you say about a lady when you greet her in a social party? No. You tell lies about her looks, her dress, her make up, her withering age etc. That's exactly what we men are expected to do.
I forgot this golden rule the other day and as a result I had converted a long time friend into a terrible enemy.
I happened to bump into this lady after 5 long years. Our eyes remained locked for a few seconds and in my effort to say something pleasant, I put my foot into the mouth.
"Age has started showing on you, dear" I had said most foolishly and regretted it the very next moment. Damage had been done. I couldn't withdraw the remark. The 45 year old lady's face sunk visibly. She gnashed her teeth too because she didn't give me any immediate rejoinder.
Perhaps I should have lied saying, :"Vandana, my, my, you don't look more than 20? What's the secret?" She then would have hugged me for the compliment. But something out of the blue prompted me to ‘tell the truth' and I found myself inside a dirty pond.
Thereafter, the lady avoided me and whenever I asked some innocuous questions she would answer in monosyllables avoiding a direct look at my face. I got the hint and desisted from showing myself where she was till the end of the party.
Here is my advice, friends. Whenever you come across a society lady, "don't say what you mean". You are expected to tell lies, green lies. Even if she is 60, say that she looks like a 19 year old bomb-shell. If you tell the truth, you would get into their bad books.
Let's say you have been invited for dinner in your friend's house. It happened to be a sit down dinner for four. The soup was terrible and the main dish was somewhat salty. Could you ever say that the dinner was awful when the lady enquires, "Did you enjoy the meal?"
So, the unwritten rule in my home is, we never ask for a report about the food. If it had been tasty and wholesome, the guests would have hogged and served themselves two or three helpings. Then we know that they had relished the fare.
Similarly, you are not expected to say what your actual assessment is about your Boss. Will you dare tell him that he makes too many spelling mistakes in his handwritten drafts? His tie knot looks like a lose orange. He walks like Donald duck.
But, he would fly in cloud 9 if you tell lies about his choice of dress, turnout, style of talking and at the way he carries himself in front of his own boss.
All of us are hypocrites in a way. We are never honest. Some say that to tell a lie for saving a person from some crime is quite in order. Here, we seem to observe the mathematical formula that ‘Telling lies' is = to ‘hiding the truth'?
Now, after reading this article if you say, "It's good", won't it be a lie?
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Sweet grace [Israel Jayakaran]