Sunday, October 20, 2013


The other day I was having dinner with my children and grand children at a restaurant.The waiter was taking his own time to bring the order.  While everyone was feeling restless, I decided to act.  I shouted at the waiter who was passing by and admonished  him for delaying our order.  In turn, I got admonished by my children.

While my son was trying to wave his hands and  asking me to take it easy, my daughter was gritting  her teeth when she whispered, ‘Don’t shout, appa’

I realized that I had performed an act of indiscretion.  It is also known as; imprudence, rashness, thoughtlessness, etc.  All of us indulge in acts of indiscretion some time or the other in life.

I have a friend who is notorious for making indiscreet remarks about people, often in the  garb of cracking a joke,   invariably hurting those people and sometimes leading  to embarrassing situations.

Once, at an office party, I was having a serious conversation with a friend about another colleague who was having problems on his family front.  We were joined by another friend midway.  Within a few minutes he said loudly, ‘Oh, you are talking about Ram whose wife has run away with his driver’.  It was a totally uncalled for and indiscreet  remark.  I felt most embarrassed when I realized that others nearby had stopped their conversation and were staring at us.

Comparing one sibling with another, shouting at children infront of their friends, pulling up a staff member in front  of his colleagues, cracking a joke in a group when it is involved in a serious discussion, the list of indiscrete acts performed by people  is endless.

I think as we grow old, the number of indiscrete acts we indulge in also grows.  Sometimes  it could be because of the choice of words we use, the manner in which we speak or simply by forgetting to follow established  norms. Your children are your best critics in this respect. Today`s children waste no time in pointing out your indiscretions  where as during our younger days we just had to suffer silently because we never had the courage to speak up to our parents.

The most common form of indiscretion that old people, especially old men,  indulge is in `passing wind` with a loud noise,  nonchalantly in public .  They are least concerned about the embarrassment they might be causing to the people around them particularly  their near and dear ones in the crowd.  The interesting point is such people are not even aware that they are performing an indiscreet act. There are a few, however, who grin sheepishly after performing the act, when people around  stare at them.

Some readers might even accuse me of being indiscrete for writing  about this common phenomenon.  Why can`t  I write about a topic which never fails to tickle the funny bone in people. Khushwant Singh the nonagenarian author, has devoted three full pages to `Farting` ( There, I said it explicitly!) in one one of his novels, making his readers laugh their guts out. If some readers of this piece  are smiling, I know they will pardon me  for this act of indiscretion.

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