I don't understand what people talk about for hours together on a telephone. I have never been able to fathom the mysterious ways of those who tread the murky waters of a telephonic conversation with the ease of a fish in water. For me atleast, there are few things more excruciating than a telephone call from a distant relative or a friend I have hardly been in touch with who sees the present call as a means of whiling away his 20 minutes just because they could not think of anything better to do. The call starts with the innocuous looking:
"Haan to kya chal raha hai ?" (Wassup?)
My heartbeat for one... but don't count on it. I just heard a vein pop in my head when you asked this question. What the hell does it mean anyways. Nobody who asks anyone 'Wassup?' really wants to know 'Wassup.'. There are few phrases more futile than 'I want to live life to the fullest' and 'Wassup?' beats it by a mile. The moment I hear this question, my life functions automatically go into hibernation. My brain sends all the vestigial body functions to sleep, my heart starts beating at half the normal rate, my body temperature drops by 3 points, my digestive system goes into a nap and I start burning fat instead of food. After that I enter one of those zenlike states where I am only vaguely aware of what the other person is speaking and my awareness serves only to help me answer his questions in rhetorics and more questions.
But some of these callers are becoming shrewder by the day. After putting up with my answers mainly consisting of 'Oh!', 'Great!', 'Well thats good', 'What?' for about 15 minutes, they somehow realize that I might not be giving the attention they deserve so they come up with something that any self-respecting individual would do. Direct confrontation:
'Saale, tu sun nahin raha hai kya ?' (ARE YOU NOT LISTENING ?).
At which point I have to kickstart my machinery, accumulate what little I had assimilated in the last 15 minutes, pass it all through a series of logic gates, come up with the most likely topic that the other person would have been discussing, decide my opinion on it and confidently retort:
'Hain ????' (translates into 'Whats that?' but with much more cluelessness.)
The conversation goes downhill from there and the only thing worth looking forward for me is the sweet sound of 'Click' which signifies that the 3rd degree has stopped.
Its not that I do not want to talk to people, its just that I do not have enough things to talk about on a telephone and I just do not find it interesting or stimulating enough. Most of my outgoing phone calls fail to cross the 1 minute duration mark. I cannot explain how many times I have to fight with myself before finally deciding to pick up a call which I suspect would last more than 5 (barring from very few people. Till the last count the number was 3.).
And as if all of this was not bad enough, they have gone ahead and provided voice mails to every phone. Now I cannot even say 'oh your number is not stored in my phone so I couldn't recognize the missed call and you know with all these spam callers nowadays I do not generally call back to unidentified numbers'. They will listen to this baloney with all the patience in the world and come up with the atom bomb:
"And the voice mail ?"
They hardly understand that their voice mail is probably 78th in the line of unheard voice messages since October 2006 and it would be awfully impossible for me to sift through all that junk to get to that particular message i.e. if I remembered my voicemail password in the first place. Unless Apple comes up with iPhone with the random voicemail utility and unless I become mentally senile enough to once again get blinded by all that glitter and end up buying one, doesn't it sound a bit harsh expecting me to listen to the 78th message after listening to 77 ? I know it does.
Well anyways, the bottom line is that the quality of a successful telephone conversationist is woefully lacking in me. In a world where teenage girls go yammering away for hours non-stop on the phone, discussing their pointless antics, where aunties swell up the telephone bills discussing how Mr. Sharma's daughter was seen with that other guy, where guys beat the 'unlimited calls' rule to death romantically swooning over every syllable that pours in from the other side, where the right hand spends more time near the ear than its politically correct place, where the normal position of the human head is now being described as 'slightly right to the line of symmetry', here I am with a cell phone with hardly any sign of wear on its number pad constantly chewing over the eternal question:
"What do they talk about ?"