“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak . Courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.”

~ Winston Churchill. 

I was already sitting down so did not have to sit down, but I listened.  I listened to a charming young lady who complained that I am not posting enough on my blog as she was used to reading my blog posts the first thing every morning and misses her daily fix. I have promised to try and provide her with her daily fix henceforth and this is the first post in that endeavour.

One of the great traits of that young lady is the fact that she can listen.  And when she responds, she does it with such precision and brevity that if in turn the listener is not paying attention, s/he can miss out on the substance which is usually of the highest order as well.

This young lady is an epitome of courage.  Her life story is one of unusual happenings despite which she and her family faced the vicissitudes of life with exceptional courage and fortitude and came out on top.  Today I found that she has again had to face some serious problems which she has handled with her usual aplomb.  So, when she said that my blog posts inspire her, I was flattered and I had to show enough courage to make the commitment to post something every day henceforth.

And typical of her style, she promised to take me out for lunch next week.  What more can an old reprobate ask for! I look forward to it RB.




Welcome to the Loose Bloggers’ Consortium, where every Friday, some of us post on the same topic. Today’s topic has been chosen by Grannymar.

“So when you are listening to somebody, completely, attentively, then you are listening not only to the words, but also to the feeling of what is being conveyed, to the whole of it, not part of it.”
– Jiddu Krishnamurti.

“We have two ears and one tongue so that we would listen more and talk less”

All gurus advise that effective communication can only take place when there is effective listening. One question that I always raised when this was pointed out is – “how can effective communication take place between two people, if both insisted on listening and neither would say anything?” I have received some good answers but shall leave my readers to figure out how to answer this question.

I am considered to be a good listener. At the same time, I am also considered to be a good conversationalist. I suspect that is because I ask questions more than answer questions. I suppose that answers my own question.

Now a days, I am compelled to listen to many conversations in the most unlikely situations, thanks to the advent of the mobile phone. I hear people conveying amazing things while walking in our joggers’ park, totally oblivious to the others in the vicinity. I observed this same phenomenon at the hospital last week, when I had to wait for various things that a visit to a hospital entails. I over heard nurses, ward boys, and even doctors on the gadget, similarly engrossed and totally oblivious to the public round them. One cannot avoid this phenomenon anywhere. Since I do not like to listen to such conversations, I avoid using my mobile phone except in emergencies and if I do get calls when in public, I tell the callers that I shall them later and disconnect. May be I am just nuts!

Having had my rant about mobile phones, what will the world do without it? In India, it is already doing some amazing things, and it is predicted that some new business models are likely to be built around them. Just have a read at this.

An exploited listener.

I flatter myself that I am a good listener and observer of human nature and behavior. By and large I listen attentively to whoever is addressing me and rarely if ever interrupt.

This does not however mean that I am incapable of holding my own in a conversation. Far from it. I can wax as eloquent as the next man and sometimes, perhaps more!

Today’s experience was trying to say the least.

My regular readers will no doubt recollect the Senior Citizen finding it difficult to live with his daughters in law. He has not been seen in the park for some time now, due to the heavy rains that we have been having recently. Today was a bright, sunny and clear evening and he put in an appearance and made a bee line to me, as soon as I finished my walk and sat down at my favorite bench.

After the initial greetings, I made a beginning by a polite enquiry about his health. I think that he has not had an opportunity to talk to anyone else about it and for the next 15 minutes, I heard all about his medical problems. I could not get a word in! I am not exaggerating. I just could not get a word in while he held forth for all of 15 minutes. At the end of it all, he finally asked me, my opinion on whether he should undergo surgery for a problem, fully expecting me to give an opinion on which he could pounce on and talk more. I simply told him that since I am not a doctor, I could not comment and that he should go by his doctor’s advise. He was most disapointed and asked me if I could recommend my doctor to him. I gave him directions to contact my doctor and gently broke off by saying that I had to go home as I was expecting guests.

This is the first time that I was trapped into a one way conversation like this and have made up my mind not ever to ask him about his health again if I see him around.

Some friends sitting close by, later on sympathized with me and expressed their admiration for my patience. I was not being patient. I was feeling cornered! I keep advising people to be assertive and not become doormats, but today I just did not have the heart to interrupt the old fellow and end the rant.

What would you have done?