The importance of being tactful
QUITE often we talk without thinking and blurt out things which land us and others in embarrassing situations. Army life with strict discipline and tough life also offers you with all fun and enjoyment.
Once after a dinner party in a mess, when all officers and ladies were in the process of saying goodbye to each other and about to leave, a lady was obstructing everyone as she was in conversation with a senior’s wife and was not bothered about others’ inconvenience. Suddenly an officer, who couldn’t contain his displeasure, intervened by saying, “Ma’am the point has been registered, shall we take your leave now?”. This may have provided relief to the senior lady and others present, but left that lady sulking and furious.
A young officer was on leave and went for breakfast to his fiancee’s place. The girl was so overjoyed that to impress him, while playing the perfect host, enthusiastically asked him, “Would you like to have some yellow butter?” To this the officer promptly replied, “Is there any black butter also?”
In another incident an officer’s wife, who did not believe in wastage, called another officer and his family for lunch the next day so that the leftover food of the previous night’s party could be used and she did not hesitate in mentioning the reason behind the lunch party, which left the guests in a shock.
It’s taken as a privilege when a senior invites you for dinner at his place, which you cannot decline until and unless you have some work which is inevitable. But this junior officer declined the offer of his senior as his wife was doing her research work and was on leave for only a few days. The love birds did not want to get disturbed.
A bachelor who was about to get married, very proudly displayed the photograph of his would-be wife on the request of the unit ladies. But he was rather shocked when the ladies, instead of praising his fiancée, appreciated only the photo frame.
In the Army, the commanding officer (CO) is often referred as the ‘old man’, which may not hold true in today’s scenario as the officers at a very young age are getting their commands. But a young officer landed himself in trouble by calling the CO’s wife as a COW — which stands for commanding officer’s wife — in front of other officers. This was rather tactless on the part of the officer.
Once a senior lady in very stern words conveyed to the officers’ wives that if anybody showed displeasure in participating in the fashion show for the ladies meet, then their husbands would have to bear the consequences during their upcoming promotions.
An officer got the biggest shock of his life when another officer’s dog came running towards him and pounced on him and the other officer, instead of taking charge of his dog, starting instructing the affected officer to “stay put”.
Once in the middle of a party in a mess, a lady, not much acquainted with the norms and working of the organisation, went direct to the CO and started complaining about the workload her husband had and objected to his late night duties.
Being tactful is an art which comes naturally to some people. But if you are still struggling to achieve it, despite the best of efforts and cannot attain it, then ignorance is bliss.