Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Communication (s)Kills

I recently realised that communicating your ideas to others is harder than it looks (er..allow me to rephrase that). Because it is a dying art that tends to be under-estimated I suck at it. It wasn't like some sudden big flash, though. In fact, this realization actually happened in parts. It all started with...

Sentence formation

Someone on the road randomly asked me what the 3 areas I'm most weak at, were. (Hmm..that doesn't sound right)

Someone on the road randomly asked me what were the 3 areas I'm most weak in. (No)

Someone, randomly, on the road, asked me if I could list areas of my weakness, choosing the top 3. (Dude?)

Someone on the road asked me why I was in the top 3 weaklings every week. (Really? Wtf?!)

The moment I wrote the first among those sentences, I wondered - "Did I frame that sentence correctly?". The answer was a much debatable no. As you can see, it took me many attempts to realise what I was doing wrong. Know what it is? That's right-- indirect speech. Indirect speech always makes the sentence complicated to understand, said I. (Oh, crap. That was passive voice Passive voice, that was) But anyway, you got the point I was making, right?

Consider its direct counter-part, direct speech (Omg a pun). I'd suggest always preferring this. It's much simpler to comprehend. Consider the same sentence in direct speech--

Someone on the road: "Wazza?"
(Direct speech pwns indirect speech)

Much better. As I sauntered across the streets all puffed up by my new found secret to idea conveying-ness, something happened. Something I wasn't prepared for. Something that made me so conscious of what I said, that I lost control over my...

Brain-to-mouth Filter

Often, you'll find yourself in a situation wherein you need to weigh your words before letting them out. In other words, you need to make wise use of your so called brain-mouth filter. Consider incidents wherein what you were about to say and what you actually said were completely different things, and eventually ended up landing you into trouble. More often than not, what happens is that while you're considering what to say, the listener has nothing to do but to stare at your blank face. And he/she perceives you to some sort of an advanced species of moron. Case in point?

Exhibit A:

(Friend on the street, surprised to see me approaching college from the side opposite the usual one)
"Hi! How come this side?"

"Well, actually I was late and was running so fast that I overshot the main gate, and by the time I could slow down, I had already travelled an extra 200 meters, and now I'm going back" (No, dude, say something more feasible. Anything. Atleast she won't think you're some weirdo)

"Um. Just buying some..stuff.." (No. Too vague. Be a little more precise)


"Oh, ok then... (Weirdo)"

So I decided to just go with the flow. Apparently, Unrestrained talk + Negative IQ = Bad combination. Who knew? In short, I realised that sometimes, the opposite happens. You need to be able to back up whatever rubbish you utter, just in case. Coz some people can give you a run for your money. I present to you:

Exhibit B:

"Hey! That neon lamp is so cool"

"Yeah. It actually works on a super-collider nano particle technology. They use the negative free energy of plasma-neurotic electrons to achieve nearly five times the amplification of light intensity"

"But then it would consume about 1000 watts of power, right? Considering the bipolar nature of the mid-west region..."

At this juncture, it is wise to just shut up, as the listener has clearly shown that he can match you in intellectual bullshit. But, nooo. You have to try to go one up and dig your own grave, don't you?

(Me, ideally)
"Yeah, I thought you wouldn't realise"

(Me, actually)
"No, dude. It actually uses the quasi-inter-stellar rays from dwarf stars and black holes. So in the alternate dimension, it would consume only about 0.3 kilo joules per nano second"

"But that's actually more, right?"


This was too much. So I resigned myself to failure. (Does that even make sense?) Anyways, I quickly realised that what I was doing wrong was choosing the wrong medium for communication. Face-to-face? Not for me. Text-based? Now, there's a thought.

Enter, Text messaging.
[Text messaging enters]

Text message - m here..ssup! hwz thngz n al (w8..iz dis my lyn?)
Me - Dude, I can't understand you at all.

Txt - its k..cuz ul gt used 2 it..
Me - Eh? I don't want to learn a new language. And how am I supposed to know if 'bt' means bat, bet, bit, bot or but?

Txt - z..u wnt t old englsh lang? thr s sme thng cald dxnry..
Me - There is? Oh this is pretty cool. It can even predict what I want to say! Neat!

Text - Does this dress make me look fat?
[Curtain falls]

So, apparently, some guy was nice enough to solve two problems at once -- illegible text and poor speed. Nifty, I thought. But this joy was also short lived, as I soon came to know about the perils of using the predictive text mode. Or, what I like to call...


T-Pain, short for T9 Pain, is what you get when you grow accustomed to the T9 mode, and slowly realise its many quirks. There's a reason it's called Predictive Text, and not Text Prediction. It only works about forty percent of the time. The other sixty could either annoy you to death, or send the reader into coma, or both, depending on who reads the message first. Although most of the time the message is garbled rubbish, some words could alter the meaning drastically.

There's nothing more I want. I have you...

(T9 version)
There's noughog nope I want. I hate you...

The news will tell you that most breakups happen via text messages. What the news won't tell you is why. Now you know. But that was just a tame example. Sometimes, even the phrase 'unforeseen consequences' seems to merely pale in comparison.

Hey..what's up? :)

(T9 version)

See? Told ya. So what next? Logically, I thought that I ought to take advantage of the medium a little. Think. Proof-read. Don't jump the gun, look before you leap types. So I plan, cross-discuss, weigh the pros against the cons, and only then send a message. That was until the day of..

The Delayed Compliment

[At 11 am]
(To self)
Hey, she's wearing a nice top. Maybe I should let her know. Girls like compliments. might be pretty awkward though. Ok, let's chuck the idea.

[At 3 pm]
Maybe I should tell her. What's the worst thing that could happen? Hmm..then again, even if I don't, what's the worst thing that could happen? Atleast I can avoid an awkward moment. Best to steer clear.

[At 9 pm]
Oh, what the heck. I'll just text her.

[Message delivered at 1 am]
hey...nice top :) :)

[Reply at 1:01]
er..i'm not wearing one (Weirdo)

Just great. Now I had a few seconds to think of a good recovery line. Anything to ameliorate the situation. But I really suck at those. All my previous attempts have been sorely disastrous. And that's an understatement. That's when I stumbled upon..

The Funny Joke

Yes, not just any joke. A funny joke. The explicit use of the adjective emphasizes that you can't just say anything and pass it off as a wisecrack. Free messages have spawned millions of horrid 'forwards'. Ranging from lame to downright annoying. Some of them come with much fanfare, but always have a standard closing section. A typical 'joke' would read like this:

JoKe Of ThE YeAr!! (Opening section)
.         (Formatting)
Man before interview : "May I come in, sir?"          (The "joke")

Interviewer : "Wait, plz"

Man : "75 kg, sir!"
.                (More formatting, so that it looks like the best part is yet to come)
Gud nit! :P                 (Standard conclusion)

So with everyone's head muddled by things like that, it's really hard to come up with a genuinely good joke. And if you're under pressure? Well, God save you. But here's a helpful hint - Do NOT try to get inspired by them. EVER. The best you could probably come up with would be something like:

[Reply at 1:03]

lolz j/k
me 2..v shd ttly hng out 2gthr..w8..nt hng out as in hng out 2 dry..cuz thts whr i hng my m nt wearng thm ryt nw..i bt u do tht 2..dnt u?
ps-w8 as in wait..nt weight..coz tht wud b 75..nd ttly lyk nt mk ny snse..ryt? lol
gud n8 :P

(Holy %@#&)

I'd say that there is simply no good way to communicate, more or less. (Hmm..that doesn't sound right)

There's probably no good way to communicate, I'd guess. (No)

I'd surmise, more or less, that an effective way of communication is unfounded, as of the present scenario. (Dude?)

I'm surprised that more is effectively less, for I have found in many a contemplation -D' Adairo. (Really? Wtf?!)

I rest my case.


  1. Man...

    i've no words that i can use to comment on this post... ( word count=13;) ). (Hmm..that doesn't sound right)

    Me commenting on this post is impossible due to the paucity of vocables.... ( word count=13, again;) ).(No)

    i can't comment coz i don't wanna die, Communication (s)kills right??;) ;) (Dude?)

    i'm seriously out of puns now... can't think of anything to fill in for "(Really? Wtf?!)"
    so iˈm gonna use sms lingo..
    good postː) ː) lolː) rofl dude:) :)

  2. I thought of giving some good comment... I spent 5 mins thinking of an apt metaphor but then i found a girls profile on facebook, so maybe next time... :)
    yuukks... that was not funny joke... :((

    Seriously a joyRide... :)))

  3. Hahahaha. Wow...never seen such brilliant comments...ever.

    Thanks guys! =)