Chedi dada – our house help for over 50 years now – is usually the grumbling, irritated, frowning man that you’d expect 70-year-0lds to be. Some of it has to do with me – I’m always cribbing about how oily the food that he cooks is and how unhealthy. But he’s been smiling a lot lately. And been exceptionally nice to all of us. No, he’s not in love! He’s just been told he makes excellent parathas and we want to have them every single day. So he’s beaming, elated with a simple compliment and that’s all the reason he needs to be happy!

Now don’t blame Chedi dada’s old age for his reactions. If truth be told, we all love hearing nice things about ourselves. And not just women! All it takes to make someone feel special is a compliment. And yet, we’re so stingy with just a little bit of harmless flattery.

I had a friend in school who made sure to never say anything nice about me. So when I got a haircut, she told me she hated it and went ahead and got the exact same haircut a day later! At an Ethnic theme party, she told me my lehanga was not-so-pretty as others thought it was and wanted to borrow it a month later for her cousin’s wedding! Such back-handed compliments are called jealousy.

I learnt the art (and reason) of complimenting from an Uncle – a family friend who later became my sister’s father-in-law. At 13, he made me feel like the most beautiful girl in the world. And he made sure he found something nice to say about everyone – my mom’s laughter, my granny’s skin, my aunt’s cooking, my new dress, my sister’s coyness, my brother’s swagger, my dad’s witty one-liners, Bahadur’s hospitality… It was almost unbelievable how he could bring a smile on our faces with his compliments. At one point, I’d almost begun to believe that they were just a bunch of lies. And I was precocious enough to ask him that. Which is when he explained that it took nothing to make somebody’s day and that’s why the profuse compliments.

Of course, some people totally overdo it. Like this aunt who’ll rave about anyone’s cooking even before she’s tasted the food! Now nobody believes her even if her compliments are genuine.

And some people, like presumptuous 3-year-old husbands who forget to tell their wives they’re looking hot in that sexy number, just assume the other person would know they’re looking lovely! And yes, that’s why this post!

14 responses »

  1. >to be able to look at the positives in spite of everything else is indeed a virtue. interesting blog u got here.oh, and hope the ‘purpose’ of the post was fulfilled 🙂

  2. >@DBum: Nope, the purpose never gets fulfilled!@Ankit: Ha! That’s the part I hate.@Nikki: Love you! Mwaaah!@Sach: I think I know what you mean.

  3. >Heh… I compliment myself. Saves me a lot of bother :PSo… well. I am sort of indifferent to praises or admonishments. That’s mostly because I have received genuine latters and sarcastic formers.Oh. Well… the blogosphere has changed that somewhat.

  4. >compliments……….so hard to give away….and yet we all fish for them. Its true…that once simple compliment can make a persons day. sometimes, that one compliment is all that they look forwards to and what keeps them going. As for the cook, guess he needs it much more than any of us. What else does he have to look forward to? And he probably need to feel that his services are indeed valued and appreciated, and not something that everyone has to put up with 🙂

  5. >nice post… i think more often that not, people go overboard with complimenting, but when its genuine it really makes u feel nicenice ending too

  6. >@Jeya: Thanks! Blogrolling is a compliment too and makes me :)@Kaylee: Thank you.@Prince: Good for you! Lesser mortals like us have to depend on compliments to make us smile once in a while!@MAC: Exactly! I do try to appreciate the ols man’s cooking as much as possible, but I’m not much of a flatterer!@KK: And it’s so easy to make out fake from genuine.

  7. >yo, you didn say if u were married…. from what i remember of yr old profile, i didn think you were… but the last sentence! i mean, its not like anything serious, but you usually have certain impressions about people you interact with, right? anyways..and ya, a compliment is the best thing to hear, even if yr a guy 🙂

  8. >@Ab: I know, most people visiting this blog would assume I’m not married, but well, I am! And no, my profile didn’t say anything about my marital status. Why? Because people don’t need to know that to know me. I understand the bit about impressions – I do that too. I guess we categorise people in these neat little compartments in our head and expect people to fit into them, and when they don’t, we’re surprised.

  9. >I concur. Shouldn’t over do that, because like you said its loses the face value.Howwver, I never stop complimenting my wife’s and mother’s cooking. Not that they need it, but it adds a xing in the food. Small joys, big effects.Of jelaous friends. I still have loads of them.

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