Prickly Pears and Pleasant Peaches

Ministhy Dileep | May 06,2011 12:10 pm IST

They make excellent face packs - both of them. And that's the nearest they get to each other in similarity.

In flavor, shape, color and general appeal, they are different. They are rather like the two categories of human beings we typically encounter. The Pear, who bristles about with such negative energy that you are dazed, even half an hour after the pestilence has left the chat room.


The Peach, like a warm rug and steaming chocolate on a rainy day. Make that a rainy day with thunder and lightening and you get what I mean.


The Pears are all spoilt rotten. Like the now infamous Enron CEO, who apparently boasted, "Our best executives wake-up sweating at three am." (He was praising his company's work ethic. Oh, yeah, now we know why they did so). Unfortunately the Peach-to-Pear ratio is dwindling, rather like India's sex-ratio. And, the management world badly needs more Peaches amongst its members. That is why the enlightened corporate houses spent millions, training their executives in 'Interpersonal Effectiveness". To make them Peaches.


Let me describe the Pear to you first. I can certainly write on that, having earned the collective wrath of the Seventh Standard United in my school days (I earned the confirmed sobriquet of the Beastly Pear then). It illustrates what spoil-sports members of our clan can be.


Scene: A room full of teenagers eager to have fun. The Pear is the class monitor, glaring at the gigglers and simpering at Reverent Sister.


Rev. Sister is reading aloud David Copperfield. Unfortunately, she realizes that she has to read aloud a love scene. She looks around through her pince-nez at the class that is expecting to hoot with laughter when David declares his eternal love for an equally lovelorn Agnes.


"Ministhy, you read that", says Rev. Sister. (She being a master planner of coup de etats). The whole class lets out a collective groan of disgust. I get up, and put on my most superior Pear face. Not that it could get any nastier.


"Dear Agnes", I read, " I love you said David I have always loved you said David Dear David I love you said Agnes." I read deadpan, never pausing. By the time, I reach David's hugging Agnes, the Seventh Standard is looking at me open-mouthed - they cannot believe that such a species walked on the earth. Worse still, that she was polluting the common air of their classroom by breathing.


The Seventh Standard decides unanimously to murder Yours Truly. With a chain saw. Very painfully. You get me? That's the Pear Effect. (So much overpowering that the Scene Collapses).


The Peach, on the other hand, is the popular guy. He is just loved. (Don't ask me why - I am the Pear). They have, as Daniel Goleman* would say, high E.Q., sensitivity, empathy, assertiveness, sense of humor - you name it, they have it. And their I.Q isn't that bad either. Sometimes, they even play dumb, to make another feel comfortable.


Egad, this guy is surely a tall order. So is the girl, she always get to dance. (And even if the Peachy guy hates to dance, he will still shake around like an ape, get hooted at affectionately, before retiring for a gin and whiskey). And they make helluva managers and human beings. They don't expect their subordinates to wake-up sweating at unearthly hours. They will drive you personally to the doctor, in that case.


In the Steven Covey**, framework, the Peach would fall in the Win-Win life position. He has both courage and consideration. He will win; he will let you win too. On the other hand, Mr. Pear and Ms. Pear are born athletes - they start racing from the womb. They will desperately try to win, and will also make sure, that the competitor is caught in a doping test. (And you thought all you took was a mere Vicks Vaporub, you dunce! The Pear happened to pass by when you turned to pick up that glass of water).


The Pears of the world grace the Win-Lose life position of Covey. They are OK, didn't you know! But the rest of us are Not OK. (That is why Pears are usually booted out of chat rooms. And get caught by the Securities and Exchange Commissions). Besides, Corporates and Bschools are congested with them.


Linda Goodman*** would have agreed with me that Peaches attract "positive connections" - in life, in business, everywhere they go. Writers on the Occult call that "positive vibes" which they send out with their presence, instantly soothing, healing, and attracting like-minded souls. And Peaches really succeed in life. Ask Dr. Abdul Kalam, if you don't take my word.


Yet, in spite of all that's going for them, why don't we see more of the Peach? Could it be that even Peaches succumb to pressure and turn into Pears? Like Hanse Cronje!


Maybe, it is time to start giving positive strokes to the Peach child, when he tells you that he shared his Maggi with the tiny Pear next door. (Yes, mom knows that the little, budding Pear never shares her own Top Ramen with her son). And not yell at him when he says, he has got the second rank. You see, nice guys finish second - only in school. In life, they make it way, way up. And they don't even need to attend Harvard.


The first ranker Pear might dump his parents in the Old Age Home. And there, they will be looked after by, you guessed it, a Peach. Reflect on that next time you apply that face pack. And yes, do attend that Interpersonal Skills Workshop.



* Daniel Goleman, introduced the concept of Emotional Quotient. (E.Q). He quoted a Greek scholar to elucidate it- as the capability to get angry with the right people, at the right time, to the right degree. Included in the concept are self-esteem, empathy, and values…
** Steven Covey, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Business Classic.
*** Linda Goodman, Great Priestess of Sun Signs, Love Signs…


Ministhy S. is PG (PM&IR) from XLRI-Jamshedpur, and currently, an IAS officer working in the UP cadre. She has written five books - 'Unequal Equations', 'Learning with Tippy Tortoise: Tales for Kids', 'Happy Birthday: Poems for Kids' and a novel published by Dronequill Publishers, Bangalore....