Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Uncomplimentary language

After an inordinately long pause, during which period the husband seemed to have taken a back seat and I was trying to take the high road, I have decided to be naughty and yield to my baser instincts. So today I present to you with yet another episode of Mars V/s Venus in the U-K household. Stop rubbing your hands in glee, especially those of you who have been pestering me to reintroduce the chronicles of the war-zone back into the blog.

Before I launch into a diatribe of the spouse’s transgressions, let me set the stage right for your ready comprehension.

Maybe it was the end of the dreary winters or the promise of sunny days, I decided to finally stoke the kitchen fires and cook up a storm, something that was on the backburner past few months. So this time I decided to try my hand at a chicken curry never tried before (at least in my kitchen) and was hoping to impress the mister and have him bow to my superior skill. But as is with best laid plans, this one came to fruit but with a caveat. So while he went demolioshing a bowl after the other, I waited for the compliments to flow.

“This tastes amazing, it’s not so much a curry but more like a soup they make back home, without all the masalas of course.” So much for feeling good about my effort. A day’s labour is passed off as chicken broth which I could have cooked out of a packet. Gah.

But then compliments and I have had a contentious relationship. I was never comfortable receiving them. As for dispensing compliments, I have no compunctions and 80% of the time they are heartfelt. But when these are directed my way, which is not very often, I don’t know what to do with them, like you would with a hot potato. Just as you would most likely dump that unfortunate tuber, I tend to do the same with compliments. And when some one insist I hold on to their felicitation nonetheless, I stutter and splutter before I can offer a decent thank you.

Given my awkwardness around kind words I am not surprised not many come my way any more. Which is not to say that I don’t enough people who don’t know how to serve a straight compliment. After delivering the nice part of the speech they suffix it with a “but” (literally and figuratively) and leave you wondering what did you ever do to deserve it. Eg: That’s a lovely kurta, but such a bright colour would never suit me or you have an “Indian” face, western clothes don’t suit you (what the HELL is an Indian face!), great dish, but mom makes it better. And this malady is not restricted to the old and wise, even when younger I have encountered compliment terrorists of the short kind. They will regale you with an “ooooo… you got a 90%, that’s great,” only to break into sobs when they have to reveal their 99 on a hundred because of the missed century. I always itched to tell them how they did score a 100 - on being obnoxious. Of course the piece-de-rĂ©sistance of all compliments that came my way was the one paid at the beginning of a long long train journey to a medical entrance test in Bangalore, way back in the last decade, when a gentleman with kind intentions, or so I thought, told my dad (I was within an earshot) how I resembled a certain actress (who we all thought was pretty)… he went to add how that certain someone looked the same as me offscreen with her short frame, plump self, dark skinned, oiled hair in plaits with thick glasses to boot. Neither dad and I know where to look. Or on second thoughts, maybe he was just trying to put me off my game as I never made it to medical school EVER.

Whatever his motive be, that incident did plant a seed of perpetual doubt in my head. While I may skirt around adulations what I do keep wondering is the point of paying a compliment and then spoiling it with a “but”. Why not leave it plain and simple and if you think you can’t manage one, leave one be, especially if you can’t fake one. Believe me, that’d be better than one that comes with a suffix.

9 comments:

Shweta said...

Well said! And there are no 'ifs' or 'buts' about that! :)

Had been dying for another post from your sofa for a while now! :D

Charu said...

many compliments , No if no but .. only compliments :D

March Hare said...

Thank ye ladies!

ssstoryteller said...

good one!
and how so true about the compliment fumbling...is it the dravidian blood, which makes us squirm at compliments but grab the criticism in tons?!!

March Hare said...

good point ssstoryteller!and thanks :)

amu said...

dear p, m still to mk up my mind what do i like better, your choice of topics or your writing style. BUT (and this one won't hurt or butt) i am certain that i love the wholeness with which you deal with things. go girl go!!!

John said...

Sure seems like a mutual admiration society in the making...

John said...

On a more serious note, we all love receiving praise but how many compliments do we pay? Personally, I suck at it....

Latin Sardar said...

Naice!! So, are you sure you are talking about just yourself. coz from the looks of it, you just described me around compliments. :D