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Natasha was flipping through a magazine in the waiting room of the dentist’s office. She stumbled upon an article that dealt with family relationships. As she skimmed through the main points of the article, she could not help but think of her own family relationships. The more she thought the more proud she felt of the open lines of communication that existed between her and her husband, Dev. The two of them could happily spend hours in each other’s company and even after ten years of marriage, there was freshness in their relationship. They were each other’s best friends in the true sense of the word. Each felt inspired by the other. Natasha wished Dev was with her as she waited for the dentist to call her. She had seen him not long ago. In fact, it was only that morning, when he left for work.  And yet, there was so much she needed to tell him, so much she wanted to talk about. Time always fell short for them.

Dev was about to leave work. As he was wrapping things up, he was thinking about all the interesting things that he had encountered that day. He could not wait to tell Natasha. Suddenly he remembered that Natasha was going to be at the dentist’s and might arrive late. He decided he would go meet her there. They could both then walk leisurely to the bank nearby, where Dev had some work, and then stroll home, chatting.

Natasha’s wait for the dentist was finally over. She was called in. It took about an hour for the dentist to relieve her of her tooth-concerns. Stretching herself, she walked out of the clinic into the waiting area. To her immense joy, Dev was sitting there waiting for her! She gave him a big smile and asked him how long he had been waiting. He looked at her and said with a frown, “Well, it has been about an hour. I am getting late to go to the bank because of you.” Natasha was taken aback by the response, but said nothing.

The couple started walking to the bank. Dev seemed to be in a hurry while Natasha was following him in silence. When they reached the bank, Natasha was very quiet. Dev asked her what was wrong. She said, “When I saw you, it was as if my wish just came true. I had no idea that you were planning to be there. Seeing you made me really happy. But, the first thing you said to me was that you were late because of me. You blamed me for something that I had never even intended to do. Is that why you came— to tell me how I was at fault for your day going wrong?”

“No,” said Dev. “I came so we could spend some time together.”

“Oh Dev, you know that I want nothing more than that either.”

“Well then, what is stopping us?”

“I think it is your words, Dev. Your words are betraying your feelings.”

Dev fell silent. He started thinking about how his mind was so occupied in looking at the time that he could not convey his true emotions when he saw Natasha. He held her hand in his palm and said, “Natasha, I wish I knew what was going on in your head at that moment. I would never have hurt you.”

As they both sat there hand in hand, they realized something powerful. Despite all the love they had for each other, they could still not read each other’s minds. While love can make life beautiful and smooth, yet, there will always be a limitation to human love— the limitation of communication. It is important to say what you feel. It is equally important to carefully select your words when you talk.

Sometimes, when we feel comfortable in a relationship, we start taking the other person for granted. We assume that he or she knows what we are trying to say. We forget that we have to actually say what we are trying to say. Often, people don’t take the time to say things that they are feeling or that they really do want to say. Even Natasha and Dev, who were accustomed to each other and enjoyed each other’s company, were carried away in a gust of improper communication. Thankfully, they found their way back. Not everyone can.

*****communication

Words are powerful. Just a few words are enough to turn around an entire outlook, an entire situation. The blame that Dev unknowingly inflicted on Natasha with his first words, “I am getting late to go to the bank because of you” instantaneously dissolved all the feelings of love that both of them harboured for each other. With all our good intentions, our ship can sink. A beautiful day can turn unpleasant.

          We urge you to take a few minutes and think of how the use of alternative words could have made the day as beautiful as it was intended to be? Think of how simple gestures and non-verbal communication like smiling, reading the body language and responding with a touch, a caress or a gentle nod can lead even unpleasant situations to pleasant conclusions.

          As we do this, let us also ponder over how just a few words, spoken thoughtlessly, have led to issues in our own lives— some big issues and some little, everyday issues. We are all intelligent people with wonderful brains. While we are sensible enough to know the right thing that should be said, are we sensitive enough to say it?

~ Nivedita and Prashant Shori

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