Learn how to say no, they say. Why, may I ask?
And no, you’re not allowed to answer that with a ‘No’.
I have a right to ask and being the fierce and only woman rebel on Planet Earth, fighting against extinction of the hapless humankind at the hands of deadly non-existent aliens, am entitled to exercising my rights. So I will. Watch me brandish my sharp cucumber sword and protect myself with a round stainless steel shield that glints menacingly in the sun, and ask again. Why must we always say no?! Isn’t there enough negativity already? Let’s learn to embrace and learn how to say yes instead.
And in the school of ‘Learn How to Say Yes’, the two students who we need to enroll first and foremost are my parents.
Err, don’t get me wrong. Do I love them? Yes. Do I think the world of them? Yes. Do I think I would be nothing without them? Yes. Clearly, I have mastered the art of saying yes.
But my parents? Uh uh…I refrain from saying that word.
Why, you ask. Well, because that’s their answer to any and every question I’ve asked of them. I see you there, with your smirk and raised eye-brows. Clearly, you don’t believe me.
Well, here’s a sample of how my conversation went when I was a 5-year old kid.
Me: Dad, I want that toy.
A sample of my conversation at the age of 10 years.
Me: Mom, I want that doll.
Another conversation sample, this time at age 15 years.
Me: Can I go to the school picnic?
Me: Mom, it’s a school picnic. Our teachers would be accompanying us.
Yet another conversation sample, at 20 years.
Me: Can I go for the college trip?
And yet again, at 25 years.
Me: Can I run away from home?
Hence, the need to enroll them in this school.
I decided to launch a specialized program for my parents and chalked out a fool-proof plan to get my parents to say yes. I say fool-proof because this technique has been used my millions and millions of students all across the world while preparing for exams and memories tough words and concepts. In fact, this is also a widely recommended technique to remember names and difficult sounding words.
Method Attempt 1: Cognitive Word Memory Association Method
The strategy is to associate the word ‘No’ to negative experiences for my parents.
The negative experiences being the jokes and anecdotes that the speaker of the word ‘no’ is subjected to, long enough for them to take an oath of never to say the word again.
So, I would have to keep telling them jokes and anecdotes whenever they answered a question in the negative.
Sensing an opportune moment, I decided to launch the plan into action.
Me: Dad, Can I buy a new phone?
“Do you know what happened to the man who always said no?” I guffawed.
“He turned out to be right?” retorted my father.
At the epic failure of this method, I hatched up another plan. My eyes narrowed into horizontal slits as I plotted to stay up all night. I walked around the house purposefully, with my sharp horizontal slits, determined to come up with a plan. Only things I encountered were a refrigerator who lovingly kissed me on the nose, and my father who assumed that a zombie had broken into the house and wacked me with the newspaper in his hand.
That’s when I decided to wear the cloak of darkness. I would remain under the blanket with a lit battery-operated torch for illumination. I daren’t switch on the light for fear of alerting my parents. Unfortunately, the light bulb of my mind remained off too.
You would marvel at my resolve. I stayed awake for a whopping 120 seconds, after which my mom wacked me on the head. “Owl, become human for once,” she admonished and pulled of the blanket, pummeled me into sleep position and threw the blanket over me again. She had already conspired with the Sleep God, I’m sure. For it came all too quickly.
Wait, how did she know of my night strategizing session and why didn’t I hear her coming. I always doubted she possessed superhuman powers. Now, it’s been confirmed.
Fortunately, Plan B came to me soon enough, gifted unintentionally by my father.
I know my dad dislikes Bollywood movies and songs. (I know. I know. I too have suspicions about his humanly status)
So, whenever they say no, I am going to launch into a song.
This technique has proven to be extremely effective in warding off evil in the past. I often employ it at parties where the food is good. The results are almost instantaneous. Almost everyone screams in horror and runs out the door leaving me and the buffet alone, to enjoy each other’s company undisturbed.
For this particular session, I had already chosen a few songs. Considering how much my dad detests my play list, I was reasonably sure of the success of this method.
Method 2: Torture Method
Me: Can we go watch this movie?
Promptly, I launched into a Celine Dion hit. “May hurt will goooo aun and aun,” I crooned.
It resulted in my dad joining me in singing the song. To be more precise, he howled like a hyena then glared at me.
“You want to sing, let’s sing,” my father bared his teeth.
That sure put me off singing for good.
Not one to back down so soon, I thought of another plan. It was either do or die, I knew. Either I would perish or prevail. I readied my arsenal and polished my armour.
Only no ideas came to me. Dejected and depressed, I sat morose and alone in the sveltering heat of scorching Delhi. Stop looking at me pointedly, like that. Ok, I admit I was in my room with the AC turned on full blast, but in the Delhi heat that was hardly effective cooling.
Even Shakira crooning to me ‘You’re a good solider’ did nothing to cheer me up. I had decided to give up with worldly pleasure for good. It was too hot for my comfort, I realized. I would go to the cool comforts of the mountains and live an ascetic’s life I decided. Sikkim and Kashmir, the two places I have already visited were already spreading out their arms in a warm welcome.
That’s when it struck me – the 3rd method.
Method 3: Emotional Blackmail
I had saved the best for last. Now I would launch the full wrath of an emotional assault on my parents the next time they said no. This was war, I said to myself. And as always, all is fair in…my world, when I am in charge. So, I readied my weapons of mass destruction. Emotional warfare was the latest technology in battling injustice. Even Russia hasn’t discovered it yet. So armed with several kilograms of tears, truckloads of begging warheads, and small vials of narrations of previous injustices, I tromped off to the living room where my parents were watching some inane movie.
Turned out the movie was Terminator 2. I stopped dead in my tracks and contemplated whether to beat a hasty retreat or persevere. A determined thick-headed me, I chose the latter.
“Can I go on a solo trip?” I asked, hands on my hips, chin jutting out.
My father glared at me as if I was the T-100 in the movie and the cause of all devastation.
This look should have otherwise sent me scurrying back, but after all I was on a mission and no amount of obstacles in my path could deter me. So, I stomped forward and stood in front of the TV.
My parents simply leaned side-ways to get a better view of the TV screen behind me.
Frustrated at their lack of concern and reaction, I raised my arms high up and waved them around like a lone survivor stranded on an island trying to flag down a rescue helicopter.
“AAAAeeeeeeiiiiiiiiiiii!!!” My mom let out an earth-shattering shriek.
Startled at that I jumped up and ended up hitting my head on the lower edge of the TV screen.
“What did she do? What did she just do?” screamed my mother.
Fearing that I may well have been the cause of a displaced TV, I braced for an imminent crash. I shut my eyes and covered my ears in anticipation of the crash.
When nothing happened, I peeked out and looked behind me. Everything was exactly as it was before. Except for the Eiffel Tower rising out of my head, at the exact same spot where I had hit my head. Imagine the chances of that happening! Who would have thought I would have a bump at that very spot?! I marveled at the wonders of coincidence, and of nature as I counted the shiny, dancing stars in front of me and admired the chirpy, colorful birds flitting around my head.
“Oh, nothing will happen. She’ll be fine,” my dad told my mom. I was aghast at the apathy till I realized my dad wasn’t talking about me at all but was referring to the movie.
Indignant at the second-rate treatment in favour of a movie character, I stomped my foot again.
“I want to go on a trip,” I huffed.
“You yourself are a splitting vision of the tallest tower in the world, why do you need to go anywhere?” said my dad, sending my mom into a fit of sniggers.
I huffed and puffed and launched the emotional attack.
“No one cares about me,” I wailed.
“Of course! That’s because we picked you up from a trash can. Didn’t you know that?” My dad exclaimed.
“Mommyy!” I wailed again.
Ever ready to rescue me, my mom turned to my dad and admonished him. “Oh, how many times have I told you? Don’t say all this?”
At this I felt somewhat better. Unfortunately, this moment of retribution at Dad’s choice of words was short-lived as Mom continued, “So what if she was in a trash can? So what if her room is still a trash can? So what if she is no less than a tramp herself.”
Another round of sniggering followed. By now, I was well prepared to declare a world crisis and launch my WMDs and the unleash the full extent of my weaponry. The tears, begging and wailing warheads were pressed into effect.
“You never let me go anywhere. I am always sitting alone in my room. Poor old me. I have no one to play with. I have no one to talk to. Everyone is going on a trip. Everyone is travelling and having fun.”
“I’m not,” stated my dad matter-of-factly.
“I’m not having fun. I have to listen to you whine. That’s no fun.”
For effect, I wailed even louder even as my parents rolled their eyes. In an attempt to throw a bigger tantrum, I flopped down on the floor.
Both my parents instantly resumed their upright position and turn back to the TV.
“Aah, that’s better. My neck was starting to hurt.” My dad remarked.
Unfazed, both my parents continued gazing at Arnold Schwarzenegger’s swagger.
Still not ready to retreat, I repeated, “I want to go on a TRIP.”
“Have the pictures from our previous trip been transferred to the computer?” asked my Dad.
An ear-splitting silence ensued, during which even Arnold stopped firing at his rivals and turned to stare at me.
Sensing the enormity of the situation, and horrified at having using that dreaded word, I mumbled a half-hearted promise. Meekly, I retreated to my room, already thinking of another strategy.
I returned after a few minutes.
“Please let me go on that trip,” I said and fell on my knees with clasped hands.
Dad peered down at me from his regal golden-tipped thrown.
“Why, my dear child. My lovely princess. We just came back from one,” Mom cooed.
“You don’t want to be home with us even for a little while?” Asked my dad, his voice choking up with emotion.
You have no come back when my parents become sentimental. Why, even I have no come back. Mom’s cooing is guaranteed to melt the hardest of stones and it did.
I rushed forward to hold my parents’ hands, desperate to reassure them, and hugged them tightly.
“Okay. So, you want to go on a trip?” Asked my mother, her eyes heavy with emotion and hurt.
I vehemently shook my head as my dad patted my head affectionately and my mom smiled gently.
It is only when I walked out of the room and looked back to see my parents exchange a triumphant look, that I realized what had just conspired.
Hell bent on eliciting an affirmative response from my parents, I hit upon another genius idea.
Seeking inspiration from Corleone, I told myself, ‘Ask him a question he can't say no to.’
Me: Can I live on Pluto?
Dad: Yes, you already belong there.
Looks like they finally got it! Or, maybe I did, to ask the right questions!
Disclaimer 1: Any incidents narrated in this article are 100% fictional and bear no resemblance to any persons living on this planet. The author disowns this article and therefore refuses to accept any and all responsibility of this article or the consequences of the mentioned methods were anyone to adopt them.
Disclaimer 2: Any complaints or feedback with reference to this article must be redirected to the Office of the Imaginary Inhabitants of Pluto. Any disputes fall within the jurisdiction of Pluto and its moons.