Doling out unsolicited advice

It is said that unsolicited advice is the most abundant resource of mankind. Let alone other people, don’t we find ourselves spewing suggestions and instructions at the drop of the hat. We seem to be having a panacea for just about everything under the sun ranging from simple colds to nuke deals.

We never seem to think twice before voicing our opinions. We are almost always blissfully insensitive to the fact that the recipient of our free verbose may not really relish what we have to say.

Sometimes even those we consider very close to us may also not quite appreciate our unwarranted interference in a personal affair. Our intentions may be genuine and our submission may be in right earnest.

Yet not many beyond our inner circles of family and friends may appreciate our sincere intent. In such a case, the reaction of the end receiver of our words may range from a rankling grimace to a rude rebuttal. Sometimes, it is likely that they might misconstrue pursuance and crave for vengeance.

A story from the Panchatantra enumerates this aspect of human behaviour ever so well. It was a rainy evening. The sparrows had settled down cozily in their nests. At that time, a very wet monkey hurriedly jumped on to one of the branches and started cursing the lousy wet weather and how he did not have a decent shelter. The sparrows that had seen him frolicking throughout the year without doing an ounce of work sat in their nests and quietly watched the tantrum of the simian.

One sparrow was irritated by his behaviour and reprimanded the animal for being irresponsible. She told him categorically that he should have created or at least identified a shelter for himself for a rainy day. When the petulant monkey shrugged off the heartfelt advice and was rude to the sparrow, she could not take it lying down. Soon an altercation followed.

The hotheaded monkey who was cold, wet and hungry simply pounced on the nest of the bird which housed her eggs and toppled it right off the tree.

The damage had been done. No amount of lamenting from the well-meaning bird could make up for the irrevocable loss that she had undergone. The monkey exited from the scene without displaying an iota of remorse for his behaviour or sympathy towards the candid, kind and well meaning sparrow.

 Those of us who dole out voluntary views unthinkingly like the sparrow, to people who misread our intentions are likely to be hurt, humiliated or harmed for being insensitive to the insensible nature of hotheaded people.

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