lalita larking

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

Location: Kolkata, India

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Aajkal tere mere pyaar ke charche har zubaan par

They told me you had been to her,
And mentioned me to him:
She gave me a good character,
But said I could not swim.

Alice's Evidence, Alice's Adventures In Wonderland Lewis Carroll

Gossip: Putting one and one together to make talk.

"My dear, I will say this much. Flirting is not a spectator sport," she sniffed. "Go on now; don't leave me hanging," I cajoled.

"So you met him. And?" she asked. "Ah, that'd be telling," I said, and lowered my voice. We put our heads together and I went on to tell her what transpired.
"She gave me chapter and verse, I tell you," I grinned wickedly. "Tell, tell," he said, leaning forward eagerly.

Oh, I do like a bit of gossip, like Ogden Nash says. We all do.

The town-crier, war drums, smoke signals, bush telegraph, jungle grapevine, a little bird tells me- there are a lot of phrases about ways to pass on news or important information and also items of gossip.

Causerie, chaffer, chat, chatter, chew the fat, chinwag, chin-wagging, chitchat, claver, comment, confab, dish the dirt, gab, gabfest, gossiper, gossipmonger, jaw, natter, newsmonger, rumormonger, rumourmonger, scuttlebutt, shoot the breeze, small talk, tittle-tattle and visit- are synonyms for gossip, my dictionary tells me.

Are they having an affair? Is she leaving him? Has he really set up a second establishment, and by the way, can he afford it? Did you know her daughter ran away with that boy? You mean to say you didn't know this? Have you heard the latest about so and so?

Is this all just exchanging news, if so why do we take delight in it and why is it tempered with a bit of malicious glee?

Exchanging information on what is common knowledge is not betraying secrets. Secrets are different. Despite the amusing left-handed definition that a secret is something a woman tells everybody not to tell anybody, we all know the fine line between letting the world know a juicy bit of gossip and letting slip a major secret a friend entrusts us with.

We all like to be well informed and fully clued in; and when we can pass on information that the other party doesn't yet possess, it does feel nice to be in the know and to be lofty about it. You didn't hear this from me, of course.

The best kept secret always has only one person who knows it. The moment you say, don't tell anybody but… you ought to know that your secret is out there winging its way through the cyberworld. Nothing will bring it back and make it your own again. There will be interested people discussing it and adding their spin, and it grows and takes on a malignant life.

The cautionary tale our maid used to tell about the king's barber who had to tell somebody or burst, and so whispered the secret, 'raaja kaadu kazhuthai kaadu' into a hollow of a tree, only to have the secret bruited about every time a drum made from the wood of the tree was struck- that caution is always with me when I trade info versus secrets with friends.

If a friend trusts you enough to ask for help in a sticky situation you don't blab about it, not even after a couple of decades. You hold that secret safe.

But when there's something happening that you know some insider info, gen, nitty gritty of, and when it is common knowledge but you know more, the urge to unburden yourself gets fearsome.

We all go into the barber mode then, telling the world about raaja kaadu kazhuthai kaadu (the king has donkey ears) and more. Nash has a lovely take on the matter: "This was told me in confidence".

Now about the Floral Bliss facial, which included a whole lot of pampering that my sister was telling me about: apparently it made her look a decade younger. Since she is only three years younger than me and if she looks like she's pushing forty, why, I am pushing forty too. But if you are crass enough to ask my age, I am not a day older than thirty, I tell you.

I mean, I never said this and you didn't hear it from me and so on and so forth, but it is true enough all the same.



Blogger Shirsha said...

and then sometimes it is such a pain carrying a secret. it weighs down on me, especially if it is something about to happen and the world must know it!

3:08 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

gossip is evil. it is just spreading rumors and telling tales.

7:57 pm  
Blogger Rimi said...

Flirting is not a spectator sport. How very true. The same can - and should -- be said of gossiping, y'know? Ever met the quietly smiling silent types who nod encouragingly but never speak a word? They're the ones to watch out for. Gossip's potluck, mate. You cannot crash it without something of your own. Is that so difficult to understand? Hmph!

You must excuse my latest post, Lali. The temptation was too strong :D

9:33 pm  
Blogger Lalita Mukherjea said...

Shirsha- Ah, you are like my husband, then. He can't keep a secret to save his life. :-)

Anon- Hmm, that is a very strong reaction. Touched a nerve, did the post?

Rimi- Ever met the quietly smiling types who nod encouragingly umm, I happen to belong to the breed myself.

And about the latest post, temptation or not, you've been reading Austen, it is clear.

1:52 pm  

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