Ear to the Ground

Dec 15 2012, 21:58 IST
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To talk endlessly was labelled a nuisance To talk endlessly was labelled a nuisance
SummaryCourage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen,” said Winston Churchill, rather wisely.

Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen,” said Winston Churchill, rather wisely.

Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen,” said Winston Churchill, rather wisely. And while it isn’t one of his more famous witticisms, it pops up on the first page of Google when you key in the search words “quotes on listening”. I was struggling with a perfect sentence to start my column and for some things, like the ability to sound wise when you really are not, there is nothing like the World Wide Web.

At a lovely office party last month, I was overwhelmed by how magical the evening was turning out to be. It helped that the only people there were my super-talented team — my favourite people of all time. What struck me is that everything counted because we actually made conversation. Genuine conversation. Real conversation. The occasion was a farewell. And as is the wont with goodbyes, toasts were made. Touching tributes had been crafted. Basically, the team came together to relive/enjoy/celebrate the time we all spent together. And while there was a sense of loss, the spirit lifted as we shared. As we listened and talked. The camaraderie and the common dialogue elevated the time.

Perhaps because we never see this genuine kind of communication these days, it made it stand out even more. Now what passes as conversation is truly terrifying. You meet someone for the first time, all you hear is me, me, me. Everything and everyone has been afflicted by the “look at me, I am fabulous” flu. Alas, there is no cure known to man for it. Unfortunately, it isn’t life-threatening because an hour into the meeting, you start to wish that the person with the disease would suffer at least as much as you are.

One of the permanent side effects of the above-mentioned flu is that the sufferer thinks he or she is the only one with something interesting to say. So they say it, then repeat it and then say it all over again. It would be forgiveable if that happened say, in a span of six months. Alas, you would be lucky if 60 seconds transpire before you are subjected to another session of talk. If you decide that

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