Dropping bricks and other stuff

Bikram Vohra
Filed on July 9, 2020

At some stage or the other, most of us - if not all - have dropped clangers and said the wrong thing to the wrong person. A few of us have made resident a foot in the mouth and our lives are littered with the shards of the wrong thing to say.

I am one of those and even if it is innocent in its intent, the receiving party does not know that. I drop bricks the size of houses.

My top three. I introduced the son-in-law to the father-in-law at a dinner and said, you two must meet, strapping young lad, very smart. The father in law turned to me and said, you were at the wedding. It was a destination thing and this young man is married to my daughter. Analyse this. Is it ignorance, a cluttered mind, even ruder, a kind of indifference to the world, some character flaw, a little bit of all these. Here I am trying to be nice, pleasant, making an introduction and ending up making a mess of it.

Some of us men have this terrible inclination to fill in silences. We do it with wives, with adult children, with strangers, blurting out stuff best left unsaid because we cannot endure silence. We just have to break it. You then find husbands making crazy pledges to wives, promising adult kids new mobile phones in 5G or whatever, making inane remarks because someone has to.

I am at this party, ostensibly dragged there by my wife and briefed en route by her on who they are and how we know them and 'show some interest' and we reach and enter this palace of a house with about twenty eleven strong crowd milling about partying it up.

I finally find myself filtered into standing with a vaguely familiar lady. She smiles at me and I smile at her and there is silence. Leave it. Don't touch it. She says, enjoying the evening? Just say, yes, very much. Right, not rocket science, easy-peasy, normal social remarks.

I say, hmmmm, look at this house, do real people live like this, it is gaudy and garish and screams new money, testament to bad taste.

And she says, it is my house.

See what I mean. Totally unnecessary, uncalled for, downright rude, where was the need? Now, there are two miserable people.

The tech age has made things worse. I was once invited by a UN agency to another country for a conference and they sent me a full fare economy ticket which was more expensive than a business class ticket. So, I wrote this stinging analysis for a friend but hit the 'send' button accidentally and it went back to the UN.

Again, all it needed was a little patience, not to be hurried, ensure that you have the email address right and then press the bar.

Suffice it to say, it never invited me again.

bikram@khaleejtimes.com





 
 
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