Bitter pill for sweeter deal…


It could well be called a no argument day. People swear to talk sweet on this festival. Sugary promises, some of us might have made on Makarsankranti, should be still fresh. It’s a Hindu festival when people exchange a sweet called Tilgul and resolve to talk cordially. Niceties need to be maintained to shun bitterness. You need to be nice to avoid arguments. We understand the spirit of the fest yet I wonder how far can we conceal the truth — that is often bitter — in sugarcoated wraps?
I find it tough to correlate to the logic of being sweet all the time. It’s easy to be, actually. You are liked as long as you stay goody-goody. Talk the truth and you are bound to become unpopular. Hence comes a choice: talk sweet no matter if it’s a lie or put the facts plain, which may not go down well with others. Majority chooses sweetness and a few who beg to differ seem inviting wrath… This is what seems to have happened with the ace tennis-star Rafael Nadal when he openly criticised the authorities for over-packing tournaments. However, when asked about the veteran player Roger Federer’s silence on the issue, Nadal said perhaps Federer wanted to be a rose! It’s self-explanatory, isn’t it?
You will come across innumerable examples of people not wanting to speak the truth, as they don’t want to take the blame. Look at the crowded buses where men occupy seats reserved for ladies. Not many of the fairer sex would bother to bring it to the conductor’s notice. Some ‘iron lady’ has to do the job and get labeled as ‘arrogant’. Other women reap the benefit of her action but would wait for her to take up the cudgel.
Many times we don’t like certain things but we are scared to air our opinions openly simply because we don’t want to get a bad name. Don’t many toe their boss’ line even as they disagree? Some professional has the gut to point out the wrong. Everybody is happy when their interest is served but who will take blame? One of my senior colleagues narrated an interesting story. At a government office meeting, only coffee was served. He asked for a tea and raised eyebrows. “Tea isn’t served as sir (the department head) doesn’t like it,” an employee explained. The colleague chose to be vocal. “Your sir may not like it but I do,” the straightforward mediaperson said and relieved tea-lovers!
I don’t think I can ever be nice to people for no reason. I wonder why people just cannot talk straight in simple matters. Take example of my group of friends where everybody hates smoking except a guy. I heard many of them discuss it on his back but nobody dared to tell him to stop. When I did, they were happy but still nobody wanted to be unpopular.
Everybody wants to be sweet because it’s the easiest thing to do. This is what the fence-sitters do. They will never tell who is right and who is wrong.  Those who strive to be everyone’s favourite and keep a non-controversial image seldom speak the truth. It takes lots of guts to talk truth and be unpopular.
That’s the reason parents generally want kids to accept what they say and teachers don’t like students who argue. A true guru and good parent would encourage a child to disagree and question.
Being sweet may make you popular for a time-being and speaking truth may invite wrath. At the end of the day, intention makes all the difference. Talking truth with good intention will never let you down.
Some people’s plain talk has done a world of difference to me.  I might not have liked when my shortcomings were pointed out. But the moment I understood, I managed not only to take it in the right spirit but also made amends. At the same time, I have always made it a point to speak what’s true. Don’t get hurt when someone’s cirticising you. After all, everyday you wouldn’t get honest people telling the truth wanting nothing in return.
-KanChan

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