"Do you Gossip?"
"Nah!" "Absolutely not!" "Er...sometimes!" "All the time!"
Gail Carriger admitted unabashedly, "I never gossip. I observe and then relay my observation to practically everyone".
Gossip may be shunned by some, frowned upon by others but my experience with the grapevine has been very therapeutic. In fact life was barren, bland and monochromatic when no interesting observations were being bartered. There was once a formidable Mrs. B., a philanthropic soul of the sublime kind, a CCTV, fax machine and a daroga all rolled into one. She held her court after the men-folk of the colony had been given their daily bread and packed off to their workplaces, kids to school and the courtiers, the maids, had finished their chores.
Sitting under a huge mango tree on a charpoy, leaning on a bolster, surrounded by sleuths, she would encourage them to unburden juicy gossip. The way she goaded them to pour fourth vital information would put an inquiry commission into shame. She would probe, extract, collate, sift, sort and classify information according to every household. She knew who had fish for lunch and who would be having 'kheer' for dinner. Who went off to the market too frequently and whoever came late in the night could be subject to intense grilling unabashedly by her.
What was cooking in whose household was not limited to food alone. A hush-hush meeting for a pending marriage on cards, broken engagements, teen-age crushes, the roving eyed men and not so demure women, she had it all recorded in her archives. She would artfully warn the naive and trusting mothers of nubile nymphets, the impending doom that would affect the family’s honour if they were not vigilant enough. Many affairs were nipped in the bud because of her hawk like eyes.
We were not afraid of what our parents thought of us or their admonitions but were dead scared of becoming a file in her archives.
Mrs. B.’s surveillance allowed no lurking criminal, hawker, suitor, or boyfriend to frequent the vicinity and our parents slept their ‘downy sleep’ peacefully, knowing the neighbourhood watch was on, 24*7, free of cost. With such an alert security system of the human kind we grew up as highly moral beings, with no sense of humour or rumour. The colourless life that we lead, owing to the intimidating presence of Mrs.B., was gradually harming us. Apart from socially awkward behaviour and alarming levels of stress, there was a feeling that everyone was watching us.
It was college life that proved to be liberating and the heady influence of gossip brought in the inner transformation.
The importance of gossip and the affect it has on one's personality is edifying. Primo Levi had remarked, “Anyone who has obeyed nature by transmitting a piece of gossip, experiences the explosive relief that accompanies the satisfying of a primary need.”
Life without gossip is tasteless. Gossip makes life livable. It is like fragrance that gently wafts into your nostrils, sends a tizzy down your spine and electrocutes your senses, spinning you into action for an eager friend is just an earshot away. The grapevine gets activated and spreads to a vast geographical area. Haven’t we all heard the favourite opening lines, "Please don't share it with anyone else” and rest assured, everyone will know about it. By the time gossip reaches its destination so much spice has been added that the actual incident gets a complete makeover.
Gossip columns exist in every popular newspaper, devoted to the discussion of lifestyles of the rich and the famous. Gossip is a social leveller. The rich can sit in their plush mansions and obtain information about the neighbour-hood from their maid. Gossip is an act of social service too. Some love to unburden themselves and some love to disperse that burden with the help of an ever ready grape-vine.
How can a person remain aloof if people choose to reveal their innermost thoughts? The person who indulges in gossip owes it as gift to society, helping people unburden themselves of their problems. Gossip is great for all ages especially senior citizens. Imagine the long winter nights or the sizzling hot summer days! How would one spend them? Gossip acts as an elixir for the giver and receiver, entertaining and lifting up drooping spirits, filling up vacuous moments. The active mind remains fertile. The adrenalin pumped in by juicy gossip is good for the barren heart. No medication will be needed for Dementia, Alzheimer or Depression.
Isn’t gossip is a boon for the elderly? Gossip is essential for professionals. Keeping a tab on the fickle mood of boss and acting accordingly, knowing the inside story of promotion, demotion and plum postings, secret affair between the employer and an employee; all point out to the resourcefulness, alertness, observation and relaying power of the professional, served with the right kind of relish to make gossip juicier.
Gossip is the mantra for success.
For a debutante a visit to beauty parlour, kitty party, a mehendi ceremony, ladies sangeet or maybe some saree exhibition is a must. Gossip thrives at such places. What will be the benefits of gossip? Well! One will be known in social circles and get an invite for every mega social event. Page three will cease to be interesting without such glitterati. Gossip surely provides a runway on which an aspirant can sprouts wings and take off towards a smooth flight to success. The more the notoriety, the worse the reputation, the slimier the scandal, the higher the altitude of success. The low moral fibre of slippery person will ensure a highly mobile future, a climb on the social ladder and the person will surely end up as a contestant and a probable winner in a prime time reality show, laughing all the way to the bank with millions of rupees as prize money. If Gossip be the adrenaline of the soul, pump on!!