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Gossip Is The Name Of The Warning Bell, This Time!

Discussion in 'Saturdays with Varalotti' started by varalotti, Dec 22, 2006.

  1. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    Most Gracious ILites,

    After relaxing with a romantic poem on the full moon, it is high time that we devote our attention to something serious this Saturday. Next only to the disease of comparison, what affects the women-community the most is the disease of gossip. Not that men don’t gossip, but that is a different story and needs to be attacked in a different context. So we’ll defer it for future discussion or better still leave it to be discussed by all males-sites.

    Gossip is talking ill about somebody in her absence. And the greatest problem about gossip is that we indulge in that destructive habit, even without knowing that we are doing it. I have watched on many occasions that the line dividing an honest comment and a pure gossip is so thin that it it is not visible to the naked eye.

    Why gossip is dangerous? Because I have seen it destroy many a wonderful life, many a promising career. Decades ago, there used to be a very powerful woman-leader in Tamilnadu Congress. I do not want to name her.
    She came from such a lineage that she was dubbed as an upcoming star and could have easily become the Chief Minister of Tamilnadu. All changed because of gossip. She let out a very casual comment about the then Prime Minister Indra Gandhi. The comment was not sought from her; nor was she obliged to make it. She could not resist herself making it. That comment cost her her political career. She was sidelined and eventually thrown out of politics.

    And how much havoc is wrought by a mother-in-law discussing her dil with the servant maid or her friends in the temple! All these gossip give a leverage to perfect third parties who always take advantage of the weak situation prevailing in the home front.

    I read the most pathetic case on this subject two weeks ago. One lady told her neighbour, as they were gossiping in the late afternoon to while away time, that her husband does not ‘perform’ in the bed. A neighbour unless she is the most proven and trusted friend, is the worst person to confide this kind of things. But in this case gossip proved more destructive to the person who heard it than the person who told about it.

    This neighbour promptly reported about this ‘sexual weakness’ to her husband. Her husband appeared to just neglect this remark. But it was working on him. So he started a master plan to seduce his neighbours wife. And succeeded in it. The husband, the father of two, married for 7 years, then chose to run away with the neighbours wife.

    The eloped woman’s husband on hearing this, consumed poison and died. This lady is now left to fend her two children carrying the shame of the scandal. Two families ruined in one go. All due to gossip.

    I have seen many ladies clubs and associations ultimately crumbling because of the sheer force of gossip. Gossip leads to factions and people soon start focussing on mud-slinging, forgetting the work at hand.

    Of course there will be instances where we will have to complain about the other person. I have been following what I call as level of intimacy rule. I don’t complain about a person who is very close to me to another person who is not that close. Complaining will happen in the reverse direction.

    For example I will complain about my casual client to my wife; but I will never complain about my wife to my clients, or for that matter, anybody.

    Thus MILs can complain about their maids to their DILs but not the other way round. And if by force of circumstances we have to complain about someone really close to us, the best way is to go to a professional counsellor. And not choose some common friend for that purpose.

    I have seen this in business organisations. Some bosses love to listen to gossip; and soon an useless coterie develops around these bosses making all sincere and talented people to leave the organisation.

    What is the root cause of gossip? If you ask me I will say it is our inability to accept differences in people. Let me give an example. Suppose 50 ladies from IL want to meet in a common place. Lets say all of these people are from places like <st1:City><st1:place>Madurai</st1:place></st1:City> and Chennai. So the ladies will come dressed in sarees and chudidhars. Suppose one lady comes to the meeting dressed in a skirt. Take it from me the other 49 will wait for this lady to just move away a bit and immediately they will comment, ‘What is this, this 40 year old woman comes in a skirt? I don’t think she is of good character.’

    Somebody else will support her and add their comments. Gossip will grow. When that skirt-lady approaches the other group, conversation will come to an uncomfortable stop. That lady will smell the fish. The harmony of the group is broken. The same treatment is meted out to ladies who converse boldly with men, ladies who drive large macho cars, ladies who drink… the list goes on.
     
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  2. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    Gossip..... II

    If we accept the fact that to wear a skirt is just a variation in dress, which, though appears jarring to our untrained eye, there is nothing odd in it, then we kill the gossip at its very root.

    And there is no point in complaining about a woman to another. The woman complained against would never know. Instead if we want to correct her behaviour we can tell her on the face that what she was doing is not acceptable. And that it would be nice if she could conform to some broad standards of etiquette. About an year back when I was new to IL, one Ilite asked me if she could regularly correspond with me. I told her that she was most welcome but made my ground rules very clear. Whatever you write to me I’ll show to my wife. Number two, you should not write anything bad about other ILites. These rules have stood me (and my email buddies) in good stead and has helped me to develop a very healty relationship with many women.

    Psychiatrists say that 90% of our stress is caused by human relationships. Human relationships become a stress-factor when gossiping, talking behind the back is involved. You shout at a person right on his face; the tension will last for a few minutes. But talking about him in his absence will give stress to you as well as to that person for many days to come.

    That is why Valluvar said

    கண்ணின்று கண்ணறச் சொல்லினும் சொல்லற்க
    முன்னின்று பின் நோக்காச் சொல்

    Better to condem a person on her face than to talk ill of her behind her back.

    I have just sown the seed. Only your posts, your responses, your views would make this a complete thread.
    regards,
    sridhar
     
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  3. kanmani.khivraj

    kanmani.khivraj New IL'ite

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    it is true.

    hi,

    i fully accept the fact that gossips break relationship and it is very mundane.
    i also feel in a office or even otherwise guys gossip more than girls.
    especially for a working women, she plays a multifacted role , like taking care of home, husband,kids,in- laws, and then in the office the customers, colleagues, bosses and the uphill task of reaching home either by bus or vans.
    since the womenfolks are preoccupied the guys dominate this role.

    a gossip is a gossip irresceptive of the gender and it is very volatile and infectious in our passage of life. this habit is widely spread that you cannot stop it but atleast try to restrict.

    lets find out how to put a stop to this unhealthy practise.

    regards
    kanmani
     
  4. aishu22

    aishu22 Gold IL'ite

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    Killer Disease -2

    Hi Sridhar ,
    Many a times i have felt down and bad ;for i never have the habit of gossiping. If i find my Team mate not doing something right, i tell them straight on face of course in person to him/ her only. But that makes a bad manager you know in the corporates. The gossipers have the crown !!!!

    But after reading ur post on the evil -" Gossip " i felt relived , what im doin is right indeed !!!Back - Biting as it is called , has spoilt many relationships as you have quoted.

    Thanks for such a neatly pened write up on gossips!!


    Best Regards,
    Aishu
     
  5. Kamla

    Kamla IL Hall of Fame

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    An apt topic for a ladies forum!

    Dear Sridhar,

    With all the warning bells you were ringing about your forthcoming article, I was wondering what sort of heart rending story it might be this time round. But in the contrary, it is about human psychology, in this case, a woman's as you put it. Okay, as per your wishes, let us cocentrate on our ilk only this time, we shall leave you out of it:)
    I am very glad that you brought this to us because, like it or not, it is very prevalent in the society. ( Sorry, I still cannot bring myself to address them ONLY towards women!!!) You just have to see the various associations abroad, be it Telugu, Tamil, Kannada or Gujerati, there will always be factions because of these gossips and ill feelings that result.
    I have a panic angst about gossiping. I always make and keep just a few good friends. But invariably differences will crop up. It is very difficult to be in between two dear friends who may have grievances against each other. I am very honest, as honest as I can be. But then, you end up displeasing one or the other friend. But I think to myself...hey, if she is a good friend of mine, she will have to accept it. Believe you me, most of the time it works. But only...MOST...not always! Also, I do tell them to the face as to what I feel than to carry the grievances elsewhere, even that costs the friendship. But then, it was not a good friendship I guess. No amount of diplomacy will help if one makes up her mind to take it in bad light.
    But then, atleast I have a clean concsience and that helps me to be my own good friend and that is important, isn't it...otherwise, how will you live with yourself?:)
    Nice topic Sridhar, we need it and if we can only sit back and do a little introspection, maybe we will all turn out to be better people and happier women.

    L, Kamla
     
  6. Vidya24

    Vidya24 Gold IL'ite

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    gupsup not gossip

    Varalotti,

    I must confess that I have probably criticised you more than others. But after reading this piece, my defences are down, atleast till next Wednesday. Many of us might have felt what you have written at different times in different forms. But you have streamlined the whole issue, given it a concise dimension in your words and rubbed it into our hearts and minds. This is a great introspective piece and one that will/must stay with all men and women.

    When I entered the slogan contest in IL, my first idea was 'Indusladies- a spot for gupsup without gossip'. Very often, we indulge in gossip motivated by a false sense of self righteousness. And in my mind this is the most destructive form of gossip. Just as we have 'begging free zones' and 'smoking free zones', we should have 'gossip free zones'. And let us begin by making our Indusladies a sanitised zone, totally sans gossip.

    Let us retain IL as a place where there is no gossip in the posts. And more importantly, none among IL members about fellow members, outside the forum of IL. The latter is more dangerous since it is outside the monitoring of Forum Etiquette. And degenerative since it will sustain itself in its own malice.

    I could ramble on. But your post says it all effectively, optimally. It is a ringing reality check that we all needed in IL. I am pasting a poem copied from the net. With that, my post becomes as long as your 'leader' post. Forgive me.

    WHO AM I?
    <!--mstheme-->I have no respect for justice.
    I maim without killing.
    I break hearts and ruin lives.
    I am cunning and malicious and gather strength with age.
    The more I am quoted the more I am believed.
    I flourish at every level of society.
    My victims are helpless; they cannot protect
    themselves against me because I have no name and no face.
    To track me down is impossible.
    The harder you try, the more elusive I become.
    I am nobody's friend.
    Once I tarnish a reputation, it is never the same.
    I topple governments and ruin marriages.
    I end ministries set up by God.
    I ruin careers and cause sleepless nights, heartache and indigestion.
    I spawn suspicion and generate grief.
    I make headlines, headaches and heartaches
    I make innocent people cry in their pillows.
    Even my name hisses.

    WHO AM I? I AM CALLED GOSSIP.

    I come in many forms:
    Church gossip
    Office gossip
    Shop gossip
    Party gossip
    Telephone gossip
    Online gossip

    <!--mstheme--><!--mstheme-->
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2006
  7. Vandhana

    Vandhana Silver IL'ite

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    Bravo Sridhar

    A very nicely written piece about Gossip. I strongly condemn gossip in any form ( small or big, about persons known or unknown). All your examples do bring out the truth about the ugliness of gossiping.
    I loved your lines about the MIL can compalin to the DIL about the maid but not the other way araound. In the same vein, i should say that DILs should also not complain about the MIL or FIL or any inlaws to anyone outside the house. From time to time, i am also party to gossip , but then i follow the in one ear and out the other for all this.
    As Kamla Said, if we can take time to introspect and not indulge inthis needless gossip, we will all turn out to be better people.
    I strongly believe that with you and MsC, and Kamla and all other wonderful members, this forum will not turn into a gossiping ground.

    Vidya, i loved the poem youposted. So true and aptly sums up Sridhar's Post.

    Vandhana
     
  8. Kamla

    Kamla IL Hall of Fame

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    Special mention to Vidya...

    My dear Vidya,

    What a lovely poem, what nice words! I have never read this one before. A very valuable verse. I shall print it out and forward it. Thanks.
    Vandhana, you yourself are also a wonderful person, your many posts reflect your well informed and clear thoughts.
    None of us are angels...at one or the other time, we want to give vent to our frustrations and sadness and hurt caused by another 'friend' or person and one is tempted to share with another 'cause, sorrow shared is sorrow halved. But like Varalotti rightly pointed, it has to be really someone close and trustworthy to you. Because in this instance, your intention is not to gossip, but to receive some comfort.

    L, Kamla
     
  9. sudhavnarasimhan

    sudhavnarasimhan Silver IL'ite

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    Wow, sridhar, what an apt post ! i fully agree with all the things you have rightly pointed out....and also how we can share our grievances with near and dear ones..but not go on talking ill of others just for time pass!

    And vidhya, lovely poem.....it sums up everything negative about gossip....(anyway what can be positive about gossip!)

    Kamala, what u said about these supposedly indian assns abroad and their falling apart always due to this sadly destructive habit of gossiping among the committee members, is what i have been also noticing here....and i also walked out from our ladies club, due to the same reason!
    Worst thing is when you hear something bad about yourself , going around in circles , that too started by someone whom you would have thought as close to you and it reaching you with added embellishments is truly hurting , i must say! But now i have started realising when our talk turns into gossip, and i try to stop myself , either saying smething, or also hearing from someone! And it actually feels good , when we realise and STOP!

    By the way, from the above posts , it looks like IL ites are praising one another (this is the opposite of Gossip, i guess!anyone knows what positive gossiping is called...ha ha!:) ) and it feels good , to read that ....and the good feeling one gets when we praise one another should be the determining factor , which is not got by maligning one another, even in private!

    But like all others have said, MEN are not far away from this ! I have seen when hubby gossips ...office gossip.....like a grapevine, its so interesting to hear them talk.....( Oops sorry, not allowed to gossip right, even if the men are not around........:tongue )
     
  10. vivbass

    vivbass Gold IL'ite

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    superb

    wow,thanx for ur advice,suggestions...really superb..
    1 thing i have to tell to all ILs, i have totally changed when i became member of this... thanx a lot to IL. i used to complain abt my inlaws to all,but now i have changed a lot....v can't live them & v cannot live without them:-D
    henceforth i'll try to stop gossiping:mrgreen:....
    bye to all..:wave
     

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