There are many among us who believe that flattery is the shortest route to success in today’s India. The great talkers, the wily, garrulous politicians who sway audiences through their loud talk, all manage to mislead the people and promote their selfish ends.  A flatterer is in the excellent company of imitators because imitation is considered the sincerest form of flattery. The easiest weapon adopted by flatterers and sycophants is smooth talk, not work. A ready and glib tongue has at times proved to be a more precious weapon than gifts of cash and kind. Through a facile tongue the flatterers continually create illusions and a world of make-believe. Almost all great talkers are great flatterers; praise inevitably becomes their talk mostly comprises advice to all and sundry on everything on earth. Like air and water, advice too can be had free. Self-appointed advisers are great talkers; they talk their way into your hearts and they even drive away rationality, good sense and the quality of discriminating between chalk and cheese.  Asking for advice is to tout for flatterers. And flattery feeds the ego and is exhilarating. Most talkers become bores. But let it be said in defense of the growing tribe of talkers that they do manage at times to relieve boredom.  A quiet gathering at which all those present are serious-minded people deeply engrossed in thought and philosophy would appear to maintain


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