Thursday, 11 October 2012

The power of a word

I met someone the other day for the first time ever, and somehow within moments, we were talking about the power of words. One word actually. How one off word slipped into a conversation can change how the other feels. Sounds complicated.

For example, A likes B but B cannot be with A, for his/her personal reasons. A knows these reasons but still decides to tell B how s/he feels. And while doing so, A tells B that s/he understands B has issues, but wanted this off his/her chest anyway.

Issues. Ouch. B is obviously not pleased that A thinks his/her constraints or circumstances are ‘issues’. Hence, in a moment, whatever doubts B had about rejecting A’s proposal dissipates and his/her resolve to stick by the circumstantial decision made strengthens.

Isn’t it funny how something spoken, sometimes on the phone or online, not even in person, can hurt more than if you were to beat the person with an iron rod? How odd is it that one word can change the way someone feels? Sometimes one word misspelt or mispronounced can really put you off a person. Wait, maybe that’s just me, aka the Grammar Nazi aka the Grammar Gandu. But I digress.

Is it fair that a few alphabets strung together can have such a strong impact? That I can say something and inflict some serious pain on someone else, or cause some serious anger, or even potentially seriously jeopardise a relationship? Words and language were created, developed and nurtured over centuries in order to enhance communication, help people connect with others. And yet, these same words can destroy bonds and create uncrossable bridges. See—‘uncrossable’ isn’t a real word. Does it annoy you or does it do the job, since you understand what it means?

The point is, yes, it may be annoying, it may be unfair and it may be extremely frustrating to have to measure your words and tiptoe around people so as not to offend/hurt/anger them. But the truth is, words are far more powerful than any WMD can be. Ok a tad dramatic but you get my drift. The pen is mightier than the sword and all that. Say one nasty word to your mother, and she’ll be crying rivers; say a word too honest to a friend and expect the cold treatment; and say a hurtful word to a lover and forget about any action you were getting or may have got in the near future.

I have no advice here. Yes, one word-just ONE goddamn word- can change things—many a time for the worse. But sometimes you just gotta say what’s on your mind. You just have to decide what is more important—unburdening your already heavy heart/mind, or the person and the relationship in front of you.

P.S. In other, completely unrelated news, after seven years of not having any Bong friends in the city, I suddenly find myself surrounded by them. Much like I was inundated with Goans when I first moved here, and I know how important they turned out to be in my life. Hmm, God, is this some sort of a sign? If it is, some lightening or a vision of Ma Durga’s glowing face would be much appreciated. Thanks. 


  1. are you going to be homesick again with Durga Pooja coming up?

    1. I already am! The Bong in me is crying out loud. Sigh.