lalita larking

An obsession with cryptic crosswords. Everything else falls in place.

Location: Kolkata, India

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Soft soap

"You look ravishing."

That was one of the nicest things said to me. It was the first compliment I received.

There were other gems:

"You are looking so good, I can't take my eyes off you." That one really boosted my confidence, and I needed it boosted just then.

"Hey, that was a wonderful meal." This comes once in a while, and it always gratifies.

"Let's do this again, it was such fun." That your company is appreciated and wanted is always good to know.

"I quit; you are going to win anyway." This is truly glee making.

The art of giving a compliment is not easy to learn and practise; and to pay a compliment sincerely without sounding fulsome or false is not something everybody can manage. But a genuine compliment warms the cockles of the recipient's heart.

Of course not all compliments have to be verbal. Belching after a meal for instance: while it isn't very polite, it is supposed to be a compliment to the cook. A smile conveys more than words can.

Some of us can do it without thinking about it and some of us are ham-handed when it comes to showing appreciation. That is what complimenting is all about, anyhow. Showing appreciation. Even supermodels need appreciation. Housewives of a certain age need it too, more than the models and celebrities.

When something I cooked to last for two meals gets demolished in one and I have to cook the second meal afresh, I take it as a compliment though no words are said. The occasional 'that was good' is icing on the cake.

When a pal insists on converting Twenty Questions to Five Questions because, he says, you are too smart and don't need that many - that is a left-handed compliment. It tickles

But there is a difference between sincere appreciation and flattery. Flattery is soft soap, and 90% lye. As GBS puts it, what really flatters a person is that you think them worth flattering. It should be taken with a large pinch of salt.

I have a carpenter, who drops in occasionally to see if I have any work for him. He used to say that even a small job commissioned by me always brought him luck and a big contract. "You bring me good luck," he used to say. It did used to feel nice being some one's good luck mascot. Then one day, a neighbour and I were chatting and she said, "He keeps coming around to ask if I have any small job for him; he says I bring him luck." Oh dear.

Here is a funny a definition, call it left-handed. Compliment: The applause that refreshes.

I have been blogging a while, solitary and all just Vesuvius venting. Now I have readers, and people remarking on my take on anything. That's a huge compliment. It is the applause that refreshes and keeps me motivated. I am touched when readers take the time to post a comment, make a quip or elaborate on some point. It is truly gratifying.

This post is dedicated to Praveen, who is an absolute angel. He is wickedly funny, and when you are done laughing he makes you think. He also paid me a wonderful compliment recently. :D



Anonymous Ash said...

This was the serious post?

I am surprised, Lali. Lets talk a bit more about narake sati ko dosho

Granted, I am probably paying you a huge compliment.

10:12 pm  
Blogger Lalita Mukherjea said...

Ash- *sigh* If you want. Why are you so fascinated by that one post of mine?

Hm, you need to brush up your technique of complimenting. :D

11:32 am  
Blogger Rimi said...

And what about handling compliments? I used to be such an absolute bumbler at it, not that I got too many. Now I smile with grace and elegantly tip my head to one side, as if to say, "the Princess can't waste words on you, but she acknowledges your insignificant praise".

Okay, I'm just being evil. But then this post freaked me out. Was like you looked into my head and then wrote it :-)

1:42 pm  
Blogger Lalita Mukherjea said...

Why, waht a nice thing to say, dear.

That's one way. :P

2:13 pm  
Anonymous priya said...

nice post.
btw, did you delete your latest post? if you're asking how i knew, i have rss feeds ;-)

9:24 pm  
Blogger Lalita Mukherjea said...

Priya- Yes. I did delete the last post. I thought the poem needed more tweaking.

I am gratified to find you are using rss feeds to keep track of moi. Now, that is a compliment. :D

10:52 pm  

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