Saturday 14 May 2011

When Nature Calls

What is with people and cell phones? Why do people have to multitask when talking on a cell phone?
With landlines you had to sit at one place and all you could do was whatever that was within your reach. With cordless phones your area of reach widened but was mostly within the confines of one’s house due to limited range of the phone. However with the advent of the cell phones, multitasking has taken a completely new meaning. You can drive, eat, fetch coffee, mail, and visit the toilet as well. One of the most irritating habits of cell phone bearing people is to carry on conversations and ablutions at the same time. Of course this habit may rank at par with people who leave their office desks when on a call and carry on the conversation whilst pacing around other people’s desks and more so often around your desk.
Most corporations release a Job Description for prospective recruits. One of the requirements is the ability to prioritize. Multitasking is another requirement. But what is it with people who insist on taking a phone call and a leak at the same time. Is it because they want to show that they can prioritize (at par priority) or they want to show that they are good at multitasking or both.
Visit a corporate restroom or for that matter any public restroom and there will be at least one person standing in a urinal cradling his phone between his shoulder and ear and contributing to the facilities. And even though he may be done watering the plants, he will not move because of the associated risk of dropping the phone while packing and zipping up.
The ones with a hands free system are a class apart. To start with, they think they are from star trek talking to Scotty waiting to be beamed up. You will see them standing in a urinal, looking down and mostly whispering or talking softly. And what do these conversations sound like,
“hee hee hee hee what a joke”
“A 10 % haircut is the max I can give you”
“How about a beer/dinner/movie tonight”
“I love you”
“Looking good”
“Where have you been?”
For someone new to such conversations and with the hands free hidden from view, it’s best not to stand next to such a person.
Restroom stalls have become the new private telephone booths. Invariably people tend to make the most of their time in here returning missed calls or catching up with friends/girlfriend/wife and under the assumption that if no one can see what they are doing, no one can hear what they are saying (and even what they are doing). The primal activity being the reason they are sitting on a porcelain throne may or may not be achieved, but it will surely have one pale faced, stomach/butt clutching gentleman waiting outside the door.
But sometimes I do wonder whether some of the conversations really have any emotions attached to them considering the mood and situation of the caller. Each of the following has an attendant action.
“I love you sweetheart. You are the only one in my life” (that is some relief)
“Yes dear, we will try to work it out” (no more spicy chicken for lunch)
“I will get the moon for you” (phew, almost there)
And in all this, is the hygiene factor ever factored. You finish your job, and in most cases walk out the door without washing your hands. And if you do wash your hands, do you wash your cell phone as well because that is what you were holding (amongst other things).
While I have written the happenings in the male domain, observations from the women’s room (as well as men’s room) are most welcome via the comments section given below. Though I have been given to understand that there are a whole lot of sob sessions about MIL’s cruelty, and non-caring husbands/boyfriends.
And all the discussion leads to one question, whose call is important?
Unfortunately there is no silent, mute or cancel key for nature’s call.
(This is the first of a multi part series. So keep logging in for updates and new posts)

Tuesday 3 May 2011

Lost in Transliteration

It is said that you can be fluent in a language if you start thinking in that language.
Commonly any new language a person speaks is initially thought out in the native language before it is spoken. This is typical when one learns a foreign language and not as much when one speaks another local or regional language. Many a times, what is conveyed has a distinct regional or colloquial touch to it. It may not be uncommon to find “parchuran expenses” in “balance shits” in western parts of India.
While addressing someone of importance, especially in public gatherings and more importantly for ministers and politicians, it is traditional to add the suffix “bhai”, “behen”, “sahib”, amongst others, and followed by the all important “ji” to one’s name. One chooses to display one’s closeness or servility in a corporate set up by addressing a designated senior by adding “sir”, “madam”, or “boss” to the name, be it in speech or in writing. One even sees letters being signed off as “respectfully yours” and “your obedient servant” though the latter is no longer commonly seen. And there has also been a case where a newly recruited executive in his eagerness to please his supervisor, signed off a letter conveying his “hot regards”. It was quite touching.
It is not that far in time that a senior manager in a leading company received a letter from one of his regional managers seeking approval for purchase of some necessary items. One such item was a “chaste” to keep money and other important papers. He further went to reason his requirement by stating that “the teller should have strong drawers”.
Talking of modern communication, one may have received emails informing them of documents being “sented” as attachments followed by another email with an apology as the documents were not attached with the earlier mail and therefore being “resended”.
If in office never by lazy or tardy else you will be branded as “loose” and woe befall a woman in such a category. Don’t be confused if your boss who sits on the upper floor calls you and enquires whether “you are coming on top at any time”. Always remember to inform your boss’s secretary that “you are going down for smoke” so she informs you when you are needed.
We love to dress in the latest fashions and move with the trends. No wonder we see people in “jeans pants”, “jeans pants shirt”, “jeans skirt” and also “lining shirt and lining pant”. Women feel confident wearing lacy “lingeree”, so say the ads. But sometimes “heighted” people have problems finding the right fit.
Typically “Are you going out?” is a question. “You are going out” is not a statement but also a question with the question mark in the tone of the speaker or maybe on her face. “You are going out na” is a statement cum question where the addressee had previously expressed a desire to go out. It can also be extended by saying “yes or no”. You can always start your speech by saying “arre” and ending with “na” or “no”. “Arre yesterday I went to the park na, I saw a man sitting under a tree. You said he is a swami no”. One can also expect a little melodrama when some justification starts with “You see, what happen no..”
One has brothers and sisters. One also has “co-brothers” and “co-sisters” though it has nothing to do with co-opting someone as a brother or sister. Don’t be overjoyed if any of them ask you “if you could leave them on your way” for they are just asking for a ride home.
We love sports and cricket is not just about batting but also about “balling” and “feelding”. And if you are similar in “facing” to the God of cricket don’t forget to cash on it or you will be “one tappi out”.
So next time you go to the mall, don’t feel bad if a friend catches you and says “hmm eating a burger alone alone” because “his father what goes”.

And there's lots more. So folks, go figure.