The magic of praise

  • Harwant Singh, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: May 30, 2014 10:23 IST

A good word or a little praise often draws better response from a person. It was a long weekend at the Indian Military Academy and three of us decided to spend time at Mussoorie.

As the taxi stopped near the library, just where Mall Road starts, we saw a hotel across the road and carried our light baggage. On entering the place, we occupied a vacant room without asking anyone. It was a spacious one with windows opening to the Doon valley.

A hotel employee turned up and I enquired if he was the manager, to which he replied that he was only an employee of the hotel and that Kapoor sahib, the manager, was just following him.

Soon, another person appeared but he was no better dressed than the hotel employee we had just met. I took it that this second person must be Mr Kapoor.

As he approached, I told him, "Kapoor sahib, maaf karna, hum ne bin phuchey kamra occupy kar lia hai. (Mr Kapoor, pardon us, we have occupied this room without asking anyone)."

He responded by saying, "Sir yeh aap hi ka hotel hai, jahaan marzi theheriay. Lekin yeh batayia ke aap ko kaisey maloom ke mein Mr Kapoor hoon. (Sir, this is your hotel and you can stay where ever you want, but do tell me how did you know that I am Mr Kapoor)."

To this I responded, "Choriey sahib, kya baat kartey hain, aap ko kaun nahi jaanta. Dehradun tak aap ko bacha-bacha janta hai. (Forget it sahib, who does not know you? Right up to Dehradun, every child knows you)." He responded saying, "Aisa hai kya? (Well, is that so?)" Two days later, when we were to leave, Mr Kapoor refused to give us a bill and on our insistence gave us a much discounted one.

Then there was Lakha. A well-built, simple, congenial and uneducated man. He owned a small truck and ferried stores and supplies to Shimla and some other places.

He had carried our furniture to Shimla on a few occasions. A large mirror for my brother's apartment had to be delivered at Kandaghat en route to Shimla.

So I called Lakha on the cell phone and told him to drop this piece during one of his trips to Shimla. A day later, he turned up with his truck which had already got some stores loaded in it. He neatly tied the mirror on one side of the truck.

I asked him the amount I had to pay. He said Rs 1,000 to which I said, "Lakha ek hazaar toh bahut zyada hain (Lakha, Rs 1,000 is too much)".

Then I followed it up by saying, "Chal koi gal nahi, jina marzi ley leh, teray jaisa banda aaj kal kethey mildah hai? (OK, never mind, take whatever you want, these days where can one find a person like you?)" He responded by saying, "Sir, mainu panj soh hi dey deo. (Sir, please give me Rs 500 only)".

Sometimes, a little praise can make a big difference!

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