By BIRAJ DIXIT:
OF all the skills that humanity has known and nurtured, talking is the one most practised. Despite wise men and women of all times having counselled against it so strongly, the human race’s inherent devotion to tongue-wagging always tips the balance in its favour. Wise people of all times insist that for the betterment of the world, it is the skill of listening that should have been the most-practised. But when has mankind listened to wisdom? The skill of listening usually gets defeated in the first ambush when the onslaught of talk begins. It is said that when Lord Almighty created these gifts of being able to speak and listen for humans, He expected those to go hand-in-hand.
People would speak so that other people may listen. But even He did not contemplate that the gregariousness of the former would become so contagious that the latter would gradually cease to exist. God, in His ultimate wisdom, may well find it utterly brash to assume that one can talk and not listen, but when have we - the humans - nurtured any reservations about brashness? To be fair to the human race, we do hear a lot if not listen. I, of course, am not sure if that is the golden substitute but hearing is one step closer to listening, I guess. People do let words fall on their ears. They hear and pass that on. They hear in a way that might appear not-heard. They may hear and hear nothing of it. People hear in so many ways. You may well complain that they almost never hear out. But they do hear. Hearing out, you know is a pretty lengthy business. Though not going all the way, people do hear.
But the world is least thankful. Many wise men of our times have fantasised that the reason for the recent gaffe by the Mr Donald Trump vis-à-vis Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s talk was indeed borne out of this habit of not hearing out. Highly unreliable sources in the social media have stated that, given the circumstances that Mr Trump finds himself in, it might have been only natural for a leader to advise another on ways to arrive at clearer thinking so that one’s country and the world do not suffer too much. Modiji, the social media-wise presume, advised President Trump to practise time-tested Indian therapy to improve massively one’s listening skills so as to arrive at a clearer thinking. He asked President Trump to meditate (and not mediate).
But the POTUS (President of the United States) did not take the trouble to hear him out and just heard a word starting from ‘M’ and assumed it was about mediation. How-so-ever long, hearing out sure can spare people and nations, a lot of blushes. Though, given the nature of things in the world of too many talkers and very few listeners, one should not expect to be truly heard-out, but what of the mothers who feel it is their duty and right to be heard, even if they are talking to the GenNext of non-listeners? And when one has a report card in hand that speaks volumes about one’s rather irritating habit of not listening even in classroom, a mother has all the right to erupt into speaking, unmindful of the higher decibels. But as I said, this is the GenNext of non-listeners.
The little lady at my home looks down upon me as the POTUS looks at Democrats who wave the Muller report at him. “Fake news….!!????” I would hear none of it. In my home, I am the POTUS. But why blame the child? She is the descendent of a very peculiar non-listener – my husband. In him, some part of this ability of not listening, I suspect, is inherent. Or perhaps it is nicely cultivated by the male of the human species through the process of natural selection. So, it might be an inheritance. The rest is finely cultivated through years of practice - practice of not listening at all and not even hearing out. So often do I see my words hitting the earlobe and vanishing in thin air! So often, I am looking London and the gentleman is absolutely talking Tokyo.
So often, does he ‘Brexit’ my suggestions - a 49 per cent ‘no’, a 51 percent ‘yes’?!!! You are left as confused as a mighty nation. But a nation can afford the confusion, I cannot. I am a mere woman. I need clarity - not charity, so to say! - I need a cent percent ‘Yes’. But who is listening? So, to the world which is talking so much about so many things like saving the planet, stopping global warming, removing the very many divides prevalent in society and nations, bringing equality and equanimity, I say, what’s the point in talking if no one’s listening. How about first cultivating this habit of listening or at least hearing out! If we can arrive at any success on that, perhaps on the day of reckoning, The Great Listener would also spare sometime to hear us out.