In the following passage, some of the words have been left out. Read the passage carefully and select the correct answer for the given blank out of the four alternatives.
The ___________ conversation-starter cultivated by years of ostentatious ___________ society is a simple ‘how do you do?’ followed by a polite shaking of hands and an optional comment on the weather. But aside __________ the mental trauma this ritual causes to those unfortunate souls who suffer from clammy hands, it also doesn’t provide much incentive to go on. Fascinating as the weather can be from time _________ time, one can speak only so much about the ____________ of the sun and express sympathy towards the depressions the Bay of Bengal faces.