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      Volume 10 |Issue 31 | August 12, 2011 |


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A Little Chit Chat Goes a Long Way

Aasha Mehreen Amin

Everything that happens to you invariably relates to the social interaction/ relationship you have with certain key people in your life. Knowing the right person in the right position at the right time, can open up doors in the most difficult of circumstances. Life just becomes infinitely easier, stress free and comfortable.

Say you are a five-year-old with rotting teeth from regular sugar overdoses at bedtime and poor brushing habits (it's so boring) and you just have to have some chocolate before the drab lunch is served. There is no way your mom (known as The Warden from hereon) will oblige you with the said 'choco-fix'. Dad shows signs of breaking after seeing your irresistible pouting face and tearful eyes but his hands are tied -he must comply with the Warden's no-sweets-before meals rule - or else hell will break free. In such trying circumstances the best strategy is to find a third party, preferably a doting grandparent, if you are lucky to have one at hand. The good thing is that it's fairly easy to have a good rapport with a grandparent at age five. Just hug them and put on your best cherubic expressions, cry and smile according to the job at hand and the world will look like Disneyland 24-7. Not only will you wangle the forbidden pre-lunch sweet, there are strong possibilities of getting a toy, a scoop of ice-cream and even a few rides at the nearest amusement park. Relations between Mom and grandparent may deteriorate, but then that's their problem.

As you get older things are a little more complicated. School-goers who have 'a lot of potential but zero application' meaning awful grades, not to mention scowling teachers and unyielding parents, must take immediate control of the situation. The best strategy is to befriend the biggest nerd in the class, make sure he or she helps you with those unnecessarily long essays and excruciatingly boring Math problems. The friendship should extend to the nerdy friend being willing to coach you for hours on end before each exam. The strange part of this process is that at one point you will have been coached so much that you start getting decent grades; you are actually turning into a nerd yourself. Which is hardly a bad thing since nerds almost always end up being rich and famous.

In the adult world social connections are everything. A good equation with the fishmonger, chicken seller, fruit stall vendor and vegetable walla will ensure formalin-free fish, sensibly priced poultry, crunchy fruits and veggies (though not necessarily chemical-free) on the table.

You must also be on congenial terms (helped by hefty tips) with your barber at all times. Besides the fact that he holds that sharp razor so close to your jugular, there are also chances of you looking like a shorn lamb, if you are not careful.

Generous tips to the head waiter at your favourite restaurant will provide you with the desired corner table, near the window -even on a Thursday night and sometimes even when it is occupied!

Good terms with some deceptively low-ranked (in the organogram) staff can bring with it unimaginable benefits. Peons, personal assistants (especially of government officials), receptionists (at the doctor's chamber for instance), accounts clerks and security guards are the real Very Important Persons in your life. It is they who, thanks to your charming self and sometimes with some financial incentive, can make sure your file has reached the appropriate desk, that you will get the recreation leave, that you get that crucial appointment with the most hard-to-get ENT doctor, that an unwanted guest (someone you owe money to) does not get to meet you in the next two years.

So whether you're a toddler or an octogenarian, the power of a little chit chat with certain people can make life a perfect breeze. Just imagine the horrors that may await you if you forgot to be nice to your dentist who is about to start an excavation in your mouth with his drill.



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