Monday, September 19, 2011

How Much Frankness is Frankness?

            Be frank, that is a word we hear when, we are asked a question, even if it is to a kid or to a friend or to a colleague. But how much frankness should you be when we have to be frank and how much the listener would expect us to be frank? That has to be looked into.
            I had an uncle, who always used to say, “Look, don’t feel bad, eh, I’m always frank.” First time, I didn’t feel anything but years later, I saw him in his house, his state was terrible. The house was dirty, as it had not been painted for sometime and there was nobody to look after him and above all, he was alone and sat either in front of the verandah or in front of the television.
            So it was my usual ritual, that when I go nearby his place, I’ll just give a courtesy call, speak for sometime and leave, usually that speech would make me flee, feeling that it is high time, I curtailed my courtesy calls. It usually would be too frank for my taste -  criticism of others. According to him, he looked after his family properly, so everybody is entitled to love him, care him,etc.. His children, now married have their own family and they too are not willing to take him under their wings. The first time when I heard it, I was shocked, but when I had the brunt of his frankness, I thought, if I couldn’t tolerate him, for 15 minutes, then how are they going to suffer him for the entire life? Lucky he was not murdered by now.
            If a man can be made alien by his frankness, then there would surely be a measuring cup for the amount of frankness one should have in one’s system. All life behaviours walk on a tight rope, a false step leads to the gorge underneath, that, which we are not aware. We just live on our own free will, feeling that we are the masters of this Universe. We have the freedom of choice, freedom of speech, freedom of what not all. But do we really have it? Yes, we have it, but we should earn it, to have it. Or else, we won’t fit in the society of humans, we would be with our lonely self, we become the dog in the manger of the society.
            We have the freedom of choice, we can use it, utilize it, etc..etc.. and we can make mistakes too, some can be rectified, but others cannot, that is life. And we can learn from our past mistakes. But  words, which is more powerful than actions, when spoken, then that is a different matter. There is an old saying, “Words once spoken cannot be taken back.” It is true to the very last letter.
 Words can hurt others, make them happy, make them feel cherished, loved, so much emotions are connected to words. We have the freedom of speech and we with our thoughtless words, of being frank, we break not only others happiness and life but also our own happiness, our relationship, our well being, why because we use our words without the wisdom, without knowing the consequences by putting into the category of frankness. And in the end, we are cursed creatures, not a soul to think about us.
            So how much frankness is frankness? For me I have felt that Frankness, in short, is Truth. But there are different ways to express truth.
When a teacher asks the student, “Did you take the pen?” We expect total frankness. Either yes, or no. But if the husband asks his wife or vice versa, “How does he/she looks?” We expect frankness, but if they look gaudy or ugly, we can be frank with a cover. For example, the answer can be, “Hey, this dress, its really beautiful, but the colour or that beauty, does not really match with you. I feel, you should use the other dress or another hairstyle, or, with that eyes of yours, the other dress would be great, at least it has something optimistic. The above answer is frankness, in a veiled way.
 But the people who are frank answers like this, “God! You look a nightmare or you look really ugly” What is there to expect? “Darkness within, for both the speaker as well as the listener. Did these words help each other grow? No, they stunted the process of thought, life. Do you know why? Because of total frankness, that’s all.
Life has its ups and downs and in this roller coaster, we do not want to be a bump in other’s life, make it as smooth as possible, for that, we have to do one thing,  we are the drivers of our own life, we have a choice whether we should take the guttered road or the Express Highway. That choice, decides, whether your life is easy or not. For me, I suggest, make your life easy and ultimately, you would smoothen other’s lives too - A life which we get to live only once. So use your words after a second thought. You do deserve a second chance.
Take care and be happy.
Meena

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