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Sweet Nothings - No Warning Bells This Time!

Discussion in 'Saturdays with Varalotti' started by varalotti, Dec 29, 2006.

  1. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    Most Gracious ILites,

    I really want to give you something to think on during this New Year weekend. One line that occurred in my overwhelmingly famous Gossip Thread was that the Gossip-mongers walk away with the crown. Why should that be? If Gossip is bad, why should Gossipers walk away happy? Is God’s system of justice flawed?

    To be very frank with you, my list of clients contains some real saints and some bad sinners as well. But I have always found that dealing with the sinners has always been a pleasure; while it involves a lot of strain dealing with the saints.

    By saints I mean very good, honest people, who are perfect and flawless. By sinners I mean people like me, those who have committed a lot of mistakes in their lives, and don’t hesitate to confess their weaknesses and those who see others failings with sympathy and understanding.

    And again I have dealt with corrupt officials and clean ones. Dealing with Mr.Clean is okay on principles but practically it has always been an experience of harrassment. While Mr.Corrupt will go out of the way to make life simple for us.

    By expressing these home truths I am not recommending that we should all become gossipers or sinners or be corrupted. But with the God-given intelligence we can find out what makes these people attractive compared to their better and cleaner counterparts.

    And the one answer that is repeatedly coming to my mind is “sweet nothings.” Now, Ladies, please don’t let your imagination fly high. Don’t start thinking about your period of courtship when your husband or lover held your hands in the darkness of a star hotel restaurant and was talking about so many things for hours on end and at the end of it all you could never recollect what he talked about.

    They are traditionally called sweet nothings – the meaningless, pointless conversation between lovers, which strengthens the bond of love between them. But I ascribe a wider meaning to the words, Sweet Nothings.

    Let’s imagine you are standing at the <st1:city><st1:place>Madurai</st1:place></st1:city> bus station. And you see that a bus is about to leave for <st1:city><st1:place>Coimbatore</st1:place></st1:city>. You want to know its exact departure time. You see the conductor of the bus standing nearby. What will you do?

    Some people go to him and ask him point blank as if the conductor is an information giving machine, “When does this bus leave?” The conductor might say “<st1:time minute="0" hour="18">6PM</st1:time>” as bluntly as possible and turn his face the other way.

    There are others. They will go and stand near the conductor. And if possible let out a smile. And then make a general talk about the scorching sun or about some recent happenings in the city. And then in a friendly voice will plead, “Can you tell me when your bus is going to leave?”


    Now you will see an enthusiastic human being in full action in that conductor. He will have a look at his watch and say in a conspirational whisper, “This will leave around <st1:time minute="0" hour="18">6 PM</st1:time>. But if you are in a hurry, I suggest you go to that bus which will leave at 545 PM.”

    The second caller has just spent a few minutes extra. But what a huge difference it has made. And you know what did he do in that two minutes? He made that conductor feel that he was a real human being and that the caller was his friend. That is a greatest gift you can give to another person. And having received this kind of a gift the conductor responded like a real human being and more so like a genuine friend.

    All these things are accomplished by the “sweet nothings” the second caller uttered about the sun or some incidents and the smile he flashed on his face.

    Now the sinners, the gossipers and the corrupt people are very adept in their sweet nothings skills, because they have to convince the other person to part with some information, money or some favours. Whereas the straightforward person thinks high of himself and assumes that the conductor has been appointed to serve him exclusively and asks in a derogatory tone and in the end makes fool of himself.

    I have had a good experience counselling the honest people. I had to tell them repeatedly that mere honesty is not enough. I insist that the more honest you are the sweeter you should be. Otherwise you will end up as an arrogant fool and will have nothing to show, but for your rough and crude honesty.

    Being honest or upright does not give us the right to be rude to others. This is the basic lesson in life I have understood over all these years.
    Contd......
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2006
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  2. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    Sweet Nothings II

    Now you think that “sweet nothings” apply only to strangers like bus conductors when you ask for some favours. No, not at all. Sweet nothings have a tremendous role to play in the most intimate of relationships. When you want to ask something of your husband, eventhough it might be his duty to give that, and your right to receive that, if you lace your request with sweet nothings, your husband will simply melt and overwhelm you with much more than you asked for.
    Sweet nothings come particularly handy when you talk to your in-laws or similar relationships involving complexity and difficulty.

    I was once assigned a tax-case with a tough Assessing Officer, noted as much for his brutal honesty as for his lack of courtesy. When I entered his room I remembered his allergy to perfumes. My first sentence was “Let me assure you that I don’t have any perfume about me.”

    He smiled. Then I started discussing his allergy problem as if he were my family member. He was so moved that we were talking for hours on end. Then I reminded him that many accountants are waiting outside and that we need to see the tax case. He told me, “Sridhar, you have seen it right? Ok, I accept your words. I am closing the case.”

    Then he started talking for another half an hour before I could walk out.
    Some of my colleagues teased me that what I did was “crow-catching” or “buttering up.” But I never thought like that. I did not make any false statements before him. I just proved to him that I was genuinely interested in him as a human being and not merely as a person filling in some official position.

    Once a client shouted at me for some problems in billing. I had had a talk with his PA earlier and knew that he was in some serious trouble that day. Instead of shouting back at him, I told him that I understood his problems fully well and did not mind my bill being delayed till he solved his problems. And that I was ready to help him out in that also.

    There was a sudden change in the client. He thought that I will shout back. He could never believe his eyes. You know what he did? He shook hands with me and then called his Accountant to prepare a cheque for whatever bill I have raised. He told me that we can discuss the bill later. I was moved and walked out assuring him that I will pray for the solution of his problems.

    What I did was not flattery. Nor was it falsehood. Instead of responding to his surface reaction I went deep and found out the real problem and talked about that. His problem was so complex and not related to me, and there was no way I could help him solve it. So what I said in effect was only a sweet nothing. But at times we as human beings do badly need these kind of sweet nothings, to reassure us that we are still loved. And once you give that kind of assurance to another human being she will be willing to lay down her life for you.

    I also take this opportunity to wish all the ILites and their near and dear a very happy and a prosperous new year.


    regards,
    Varalotti
     
  3. Pallavi

    Pallavi New IL'ite

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    Here are My sweet nothings!!!

    Dear Sridhar,

    What a light yet a deep post of sweet nothings that was! LIght to read; Great to learn.
    Its one of those golden rules of life that can be adapted gradually into our lives to make us and others around us more happier. May be we all use these sweet nothings in our lives without our knowledge. But after you have shed light on them, we shall certainly watch out for them and use them abundantly!!! After all if a few words err...sweet nothings, can make a great change, why not??

    Way to go sridhar!! A writer is not made up of just a flair for writing and a flamboyant vocabulary; He also reflects the social being in him in every piece he writes! You seem to be a person who is trying different ways to ensure that you and the people around you are happy!!

    To be frank i did imagine some romantic pillow talk of a couple, when i read the title! I was bowled over by the real content!


    I Wish you and your family a very happy new year!!!:clap
     
  4. Varloo

    Varloo Gold IL'ite

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    Oh Sridhar,
    I thought it is a post on romance, when I saw the topic. I thought may be you are feeling like giving us some very rosy story, this being the festive season with the new year around the corner. Well, it was a good one, though.
    You have picked up on a very humane topic and I enjoyed it very much.
    A VERY VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR TO PREETHI, INDHU, YOUR PARENTS AND YOU TOO.
     
  5. ambika ananth

    ambika ananth Bronze IL'ite

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    your winning ways..

    Enjoyed the post immensely Sridhar.

    Many a time, the flow of words need not always be a flow of wisdom...but your words are full of worldly wisdom, where you showed how to make one's point tactfully without making an enemy. Empathy and tact are marks of culture, which avoid friction and enhance human relations. " Soft words win bad hearts too" it is said...you have proven it effortlessly in many situations. Way to go Sridhar...Wishing you continued success and good will..

    regards
    ambika
     
  6. meenu

    meenu Bronze IL'ite

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    very lovely post

    dear Sridhar,
    I like the simple sweet nothings you write to keep yourself on the safe side of all contoversies here in IL. We have to learn this beautiful art from people like you. It will indeed be pleasant if we can talk gently and understand root causes of aggresive behaviour like the conductor you mentioned. It is possible if you put yourself on the receiving end of abusive behaviour
    Wish you, Indhu, Preeti and your parents a whole year of joy and good health,
    regards,
    Meenu
     
  7. Kamla

    Kamla IL Hall of Fame

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    Diplomacy..thy name is Sweet Nothings:))

    Dear Sridhar,

    I was waiting for some sweet moments to keep aside to read your sweet nothings and it was now!
    I enjoyed your article immensely. I may sound patronising, but that is not the intention when I say you are getting better and better at your writing skills. The words seem to flow like a smooth and lilting brook.
    What you write here may seem simple to do, but believe you me, if you do not have the inherent quality of smooth communication skills, no amount of reading about it is going to help you. Like you so rightly mention, the honest and simple folk of this world usually lack that art!! And they are the ones who also suffer because of it.
    Thanks for smooth talking us with sweet nothings into the coming New Year:)
    All the Best.

    L, Kamla
     
  8. Sashmitaa

    Sashmitaa Senior IL'ite

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    Touching

    Dear Sridhar,

    Very lovely post.A wonderful post from a wonderful writer. We expect more and more such posts in the upcoming year.

    Wishing you and your family a prosperous New Year.

    With regards
    Lakshmi
     
  9. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    I misseed you, Pallavi!

    Dear Pallavi,

    Yours was the first post of reassurance that I did something right and gave something that was needed. You know the mind of a writer. After having written the story or a book, he or she feels like having delivered a baby. And the first friend or relative who sees the baby and tells the mother, "Wow, what a beautiful child" or something like that, then the writer at that very moment would forget the proverbially intensive birth pangs and would let out a complacent smile.

    There are writers who have a formidable style and an even more formidable vocabulary, but always in search of something to say with those powerful tools. With me it is the other way round. The power of what I want to say shapes my style and my vocabulary. So if the style is bad, so is the substance.

    Thanks a lot for your kind new year wishes and am pleased to reciprocate the same.
    While on this Pallavi that you just read Ambika's poetic welcome to the new year published in today's Deccan Herald. I posted the poem here in IL. Please use the following link

    http://www.indusladies.com<wbr>/forums/showthread.php?p=31043<wbr>#post31043

    regards,
    sridhar
     
  10. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    This is also romance, Varloo!

    Varloo,
    What I posted is also romance. But here the romancing is with the rest of the world, with all the people with whom we have to deal in our day-to-day lives.
    You want a really rosy story (read naughty story), then wait for a few weeks. I will search for a good one that does not flout the Forum Etiquetter and post it.

    Wish you, your husband, and Arvind and every one there a very happy and a prosperous new year, 2007.
    regards,
    sridhar
     

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