“Every word you utter is as sharp as a double edged sword,” remarked one of my friends some years ago. I also remember, my wife once telling me that I become rude and rogue when drunk. I was least bothered then, partly because frequent alcoholic intoxications left no room for my mind to reflect upon it.
When I was a teenager, I remember my uncle shouting at me “Wai Kukpa (dumb)! Don’t you have a reply?” and then he’d clarify to other person, “Unlike his brother, he doesn’t speak much.” My mother would often worry how I would be able to get along with my life being a talk-less type. And whenever, I hear people say “Kukpa” to me, I would politely say in my mind, “I’ll when I’m required to speak.” Repeatedly hearing this word has only muted me further and I wouldn’t dare to utter a word be it in family gatherings or any other social gatherings. But then, being a silent boy I was loved and admired by my teachers and friends during my youthful days. I could feel their trust and confidence in me although at times some must have even taken me for a reserved kind of person. When few words came out from my mouth, it was always served politely. I used to fall under goodies list of most of my teachers then. My teachers wouldn’t believe even if someone reported badly against me. That was me those days.
Being less vocal had its own demerits. I could see what is mine become theirs right under my nose. Those vocals even accused me for no faults of mine. There were times when I had to accept someone’s mischief. Even worse was when I was left out or ignored from any conversations or discussions. May be people took me for a dumb and useless soul. This has increasingly made me feel low. Life wasn’t at all fair.
Once I got into job, I realized that not speaking out my mind meant not knowing anything. As a fresh young graduate, bosses and people around expect fresh and innovative ideas to come up. If not one easily gets tagged as less knowledgeable person. Then there are coworkers and colleagues who are equally targeting for their career advancements. Therefore, to prove ones competence becomes a necessity. But there are few who would always misguide bosses and if one is not able to correct instantly chances of getting one’s career doomed gets higher. On the other hand, being an official demands one to be vocal for people listen to them only. All these observations gradually brought about change in me. For better or worse I was increasingly becoming vocal and it worked well. I don’t claim to be a good conversationalist, but I tried my best to convey what I feel and what I know.
Once I was talking to a group of villagers on an important issue and to see people less attentive was disgusting. And there were some who would fall asleep. To show anger was not an officer like. I tried out dirty jokes which kept them awake. So I was increasingly using this technique only to see myself lose control. Vulgarity gained prominence in whatever I speak. Being less talkative and not involving in any conversations and discussions during my childhood days has left me without good communication skills.
May be this is what makes my friend say, “Every word you utter is as sharp as a double edged sword.” True indeed, ever since I became vocal, I feel that I have been losing my friends (Or maybe they are themselves busy with their own lives). Maybe I’m really harsh or whatever I speak (even polite words) is heard differently by others. Most often my heart is conveyed differently by my mouth. This is what we call communication problem and I’ve it.
This in a way is trying to be someone and not me. Being so had me serious repercussions when even my loved ones try to avoid me. This is how I feel. I feel so low and lonely at times and I want to change but I can’t. Is it because I’m ageing? Or, is it because I’m no longer me?
And in such a situation, I can only count on my dear wife and kids who are now my best friends.
My uncle is right. I remain still a KUKPA (speaking nonsense).