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Rasgulla dilemma to tea diplomacy

Rasgulla dilemma to tea diplomacy

Today’s children may seem a tad frontal and direct in their responses. It is easier this way than beating around the bush!

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Last Updated : 06 June 2024, 03:15 IST
Last Updated : 06 June 2024, 03:15 IST
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Today’s children are forthright. When they visit someone’s house and the host asks, “Would you like some juice?” they immediately reply, “Yes.” The prompt response is easy for everyone—no dilly-dallying, no shuffling of feet, and no confusion.

Back when I was growing up, the rules of social conduct were different. Parents drilled into us the saying, “If someone asks if you would like to eat something, say no! Don’t be greedy and ogle at the food as though you’ve never eaten for days!” For the child, the messaging was confusing. On one hand, he felt like eating, but he had to say no.

Accompanied by parents, there was some relative’s house, which you visited from time to time. The host asked, “Would you like to eat something? Some rasgulla?” The offer was too tempting. The child’s eyes lit up, and his mouth drooled. But prevailing social mores demanded that you refuse. You cast a side glance at your mother, pleading in silence. Much to the child’s dismay, the mother answered, “We just had lunch.” But the child decided to change the script and blurted out, “I am not full! I will eat!” The host smiled. For the mother, it was a terrible embarrassment. The child had won a mini-battle. He dug into the rasgulla with relish; he soon gobbled up a couple and asked for more!

Some children, raised meek and timid, stuck to the script. But the host knew better. She vetoed the mother’s response with, “You do not have to look at your mother. Tell me!”  and offered the bowl to the child. The moon-like rasgullas floating in a lake of sweet syrup lit up the child’s face!

The problem was when the hosts played by the rulebook. They took the mother’s response at face value and snatched the bowl of rasgulla from the child’s hands. Once back home, the child attacked his mother, saying, “I wanted to eat the rasgulla! Why did you say no?” As much as she tried, the mother was unable to pacify the child.

Some hosts were “proactive” and didn’t ask questions. They thrust a cup of milk right into the child’s hands. There was no time to say, “I hate milk,” and the mother insisted, “Don’t waste!” For the child, it was like serving a life sentence.

As we grow up, this sticky situation presents itself in a different format. Faced with the question, “Would you like some tea?” The mind wants to say yes, but the mouth forces you to say no. But with age, you learn to answer diplomatically: “If you are also having tea, I will join you!” Now, the ball is in the host’s court, and thankfully, he obliges!

Today’s children may seem a tad frontal and direct in their responses. It is easier this way than beating around the bush!

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