Conversationally yours


Good conversation, an art unknown to many. Yes I think having a conversation is definitely an art. We all know everyone is not good at art and unfortunately not everyone is good with this particular art either. I am sure there have been many instances in our lives where we’ve been at the receiving end of conversations gone awry.

Let me give you an example. My daughter made a friend in school and when we mothers met, we came to know we were relatives as well. This lady invited me over for a cup of tea soon there after. One fine day we decided to meet up and let the girls have a play date. I went over and was surprised to see her husband at home. We were distant relatives but I hardly knew this couple. Anyway once the pleasantries were over I tried to leave on a pretext or the other but the lady, very sweet of her had prepared quite a nice high tea. She left us and went to the kitchen to organise things. The gentleman( ahem…ahem) went on to tell me that he had just arrived from a business meeting that was held in Kerala. I was nodding me head, trying to look interested as he went on to describe the hotel and then the hotel room in detail. He had barely finished when the lady walks in and lo and behold begins to describe the hotel bathroom as well. No she did not go with him, he just described it so well to her that she felt she had to repeat the information to me. Apparently it was one of those resort hotels where the bathrooms were bigger than the room itself and had trees and lots of plants in it. I was really wondering where this conversation was headed, when she began to describe her hubby’s bathroom habits in detail as well. I doubt either of them noticed my widening eyes as she went on to tell me how her husband likes to spend an hour in the bathroom every morning. She had just uttered the word “pot” when I feigned a bad bout of coughing hoping to cut her off. Thankfully, she ran to get me a glass of water. I accepted the glass of water and steered the conversation to our girls hoping the worst was over. Then she went back to the kitchen to get more snacks and her hubby was now explaining his flight. Thanking the good lord the conversation about the bathrooms et all was over, I heard him talk about getting into the aircraft and he was settling on his seat and then a man came and sat next to him. He not only went on to describe the man in detail but also went on to tell me that man was gay and how he had propositioned him. I have never been at such a loss of words. I did not understand why, seriously I mean why would you talk about something so absurd to a lady and that too someone you’ve just met. Did he feel proud that he was propositioned by a gay man?

I am sure all of us have encountered such people who do not know what to talk or how!! Then ,there are those people who have a so called conversation with you but with all your trying you cannot get a word in edgeways. I really wish I could tell them, a monologue is not a conversation darling. I have noticed when such people talk they often forget where and why they started the conversation, they just go on and on. There are some people who are the exact opposite, the kind who cannot be drawn into a conversation at all. They are very content to listen as we all blabber on. While I like these kind of people, the only drawback is that such people unfortunately kind of blend in with the background and at times we don’t even realise if there are there or not.

Then there is another type of conversationist the I, me, myself kinds. There could be a couple of people having a perfectly good conversation when this type of person will enter the conversation and it will all go downhill from there. I don’t think so. I don’t agree. I think you are wrong here. According to  ME…. this is not the way it should be. I did that., i did this…Oh My God, when did the conversation become about you?? I cannot tolerate these kind of people and I really have no qualms about showing them how I feel about their pompous self obsessed behaviour either verbally or by walking out from their esteemed company.

What kind of conversation you have with someone definitely leaves a mark on the other person. Let me give you another example. I remember once I was waiting in the queue for my interview in the Spanish embassy, and the person next to me was definitely from a village in Punjab. He was quite unsure of his whereabouts and nervous too. He started talking to me and asked me quite a few questions regarding the visa and the procedure which I replied to very patiently. And then he asked me which country in Spain are you going to. See I remember him till today.

Jokes apart I remember as a young lady I was once seated to a much older dignitary and his wife in a party. He was quite the typical VIP not really speaking much and sitting there with air these kind of people have, not talking to anyone. And most people around us also were much in awe and didn’t try to talk to them either. Well me being me just started talking to his wife first, then slowly drew him into the conversation as well. Within some time the three of us were actually enjoying talking to each other in spite of them being so much elder to me, while the others just sat there gawking at us. He was then invited on to stage for a speech and all and after that he was ready to leave. He was  surrounded by all these people seeing him off but before he left he especially came back to the table, shook my hand and said “Young lady I dont talk much, nor do I have the time or inclination to talk to too many people but it was a pleasure talking to you.” I most definitely remember him.

The best kind of conversations are the 3am conversations with our siblings. The cute conversation between two people at the throes of love, with the smiles and shy glances. The gossip sessions among a group of good friends over hot tea. The delightful  conversation between friends meeting after a long long time. The lazy conversation as you stroll hand in hand with your spouse, after a long day. These kind of conversations can never go wrong can they? Nor can we have enough of them. When we are in these situations, we are ourselves and we speak from the heart. I guess the key to good conversation lies in being yourself and not trying to hard. Making sure you and the other person are enjoying the conversation and of course add to that some humour. When people are laughing and talking together, how can they be not enjoying themselves( or the conversation) . Cheers to many wonderful conversations!!





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