“You never listen to me, why did you smile at her? You know I had an argument about the trash the other day with her? She is the worst neighbor possible!”
“Sorry honey, I just wanted everything to be fine between the both of you. That’s why I smiled!”
Well, that was a typical and everyday argument between those spouses that I get to hear. I know that eavesdropping isn’t a very nice thing to do but it was fun to listen, and I wondered how it would be if I were in their shoes. There was so much to fight about between two people who could understand each other’s language and heart. It was even more enigmatic when I thought about how two people from different parts of the country lived under the same roof. My friends, who lived in the house opposite to us, had an inter-lingual marriage and seemed to be totally harmonious with each other. Geeta, the daughter-in-law, was from the north and the rest of the family from the south. It shocked me all the more that Geeta had such a good way of handling her mother-in-law who could not understand a word of English or Hindi. Yet, there was no saas-bahu drama ever.
It was a Sunday; Geeta wanted me to help her getting her phone recharged. In our town, it’s hardly possible to manage without knowing the vernacular, even for something small like a top up. So, this time it was my turn to go with her. We walked across the road to a small shop and waited. There were no customers, yet the shop keeper seemed indifferent in attending to us. She kept talking over the phone, and then she gave us a few glances and then resumed her talking.
We waited for around five whole minutes. I could see Geeta’s ears turning red. She turned around and was about to leave when I caught her hand and said that I had time. The shopkeeper kept on talking over the phone.
Another two minutes passed.
“These illiterate people don’t have any value for time, that lady is so stupid”, Geeta said in a low voice. And then her eyes met with the shopkeeper’s. For a second she felt guilty and then they exchanged smiles out of the blues. I was puzzled.
And within a minute the top up was done. The shopkeeper was still over the phone and she told the person on the call to wait saying,”Inga rumba nalla ponnu vandirrukka,ava azaga pesara.”(Which means ‘a pretty girl has come here and she speaks so sweetly’)!
That was the missing piece of the puzzle. Now I knew the success mantra behind inter-lingual marriages. You never need to know a language to communicate. No wonder, the old adage says that actions speak louder than words. What really matters is how we camouflage what we want in what the listener wants to hear. It all depends on how we put it across and make impressions. Had Antony been straight forward at Caesar’s funeral speech by saying “Brutus murdered Caesar, let’s pay him back with the same coin!” he would have never sown the seeds of hatred in the citizens of Rome. It’s more about the situation and how you adapt to it and get what you want in an appealing way to others.