Wednesday, March 21, 2012


A Mulla Nasrudin Story

In my previous blog post, I told you that when you communicate with someone, there are at least six messages present in the person-to-person communication process:

1. What you MEAN to say.

2. What you ACTUALLY say.

3. What the other person HEARS.

4. What the other person THINKS he has heard.

5. What the other person SAYS.

6. What you THINK the other person says.

The main reason for this mismatch in perception is due to our differing mental maps. Yes, we all have mental maps (due to our life experiences) owing to which each of views communication in a different manner, in accordance with our mental maps.  

Here is a Mulla Nasrudin Story which illustrates how miscommunication sometimes takes place, often with hilarious results:

Nasrudin wanted to protect his daughter from the dangers of life. 

When the time had come to make her worldly-wise and she had grown into a true flower of beauty, he took his daughter aside and told her about the baseness and malice of the world.

“My dear daughter,” he said, “remember what I tell you. All men want only one thing. Yes, remember that men are very cunning. They set traps wherever they can. You don’t realize how you sink deeper and deeper into the swamp of their desires. I want to show you the way of unhappiness.”

“Traps…Unhappiness…?” his innocent daughter asked. 

This is how they go about it.
First the man swoons about your best features, he praises you, he flatters you and he admires you.
Then he invites you to go out with him.
Then the two of you pass his house and he mentions that he just wants to fetch his coat.
He asks you if you would like to come in the house with him.
Upstairs he invites you to have a seat and he offers you some tea.
Then he puts on some romantic music and the two of you listen to music.
And then, when the time is right, he suddenly throws himself on you.
In this way you are violated.
And we, your parents, are disgraced. We have to suffer shame and ignominy and the reputation of entire our family is destroyed. 
And once your reputation is ruined, it is destroyed forever...”

The daughter took these words of her father to heart.

A few days later she came up to her father and smiled proudly.

“Father,” she said, “you are really great. How did you know how everything happens? I met a man today and it was exactly like you described it. 
First he admired my beauty.
Then he asked me out. 
As if by coincidence we passed his house.
There the poor fellow noticed he had forgotten his coat.
And, so that I wouldn’t be alone, he invited me to come on into his apartment. 
As good manners require, he offered me tea and brightened the day with beautiful music.
At the point, I remembered your advice and I knew exactly what would happen. 
But you see, I am worthy to be your daughter. 
When I felt the moment coming, I threw myself on him and violated him.
Yes, I violated him and destroyed his reputation and, thereby, I ruined the reputation of his parents and his entire family. 
Yes, I taught that man a lesson and destroyed his reputation forever.”

Now, that is what can happen is there is a communication gap, isn’t it?
You say something, mean something else, and the listener interprets something totally different than what you intended to convey.
It all depends on “mental maps”. Mismatch in mental maps results in introduction of cognitive noise in the communication channel. And this cognitive noise can sometimes cause severe miscommunication leading to serious ramifications, as the teaching story illustrated.
So please ensure that your mental maps are in sync and you are on the same wavelength with the person you are communicating with, before you start communicating.

Have a Happy Wednesday


Copyright © Vikram Karve 2012
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

Did you like this story?
I am sure you will like the stories in my recently published book COCKTAIL comprising twenty seven short stories about relationships. To order the book please click the links below:

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About Vikram Karve

A creative person with a zest for life, Vikram Karve is a retired Naval Officer turned full time writer. Educated at IIT Delhi, ITBHU Varanasi, The Lawrence School Lovedale and Bishops School Pune, Vikram has published two books: COCKTAIL a collection of fiction short stories about relationships (2011) and APPETITE FOR A STROLL a book of Foodie Adventures (2008) and he is currently working on his novel. An avid blogger, he has written a number of fiction short stories and creative non-fiction articles in magazines and journals for many years before the advent of blogging. Vikram has taught at a University as a Professor for almost 15 years and now teaches as a visiting faculty and devotes most of his time to creative writing. Vikram lives in Pune India with his family and muse - his pet dog Sherry with whom he takes long walks thinking creative thoughts. 

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