Story of a lost journalist

June 26, 2008

Simplicity is the essence of good language, says Simple Cris

Filed under: My Musing Moments,Theory — Cris @ 22:00
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It has been brought to my notice that my entries are sometimes cryptic. And it’s also been conveyed that there is no need to assume it’s my fabulous language that makes it so. Because, they tell me, my language is not that. I have been diminished to lower primary school text book language writer standards!

Well I dare say lower primary school text book writers are more than fabulous. They are fantabulous. And I would have gone on to say more, but my vocabulary stops short at fantabulous. Whatever comes after fantabulous, they are that!

I have always believed simplicity is the essence of good language. Reason, anything unsimple is only good for that – to look unsimple and ferocious and scare you. Infact complex language is like a monster. If movie monsters use fire and teeth and big noises to scare people, language monsters use enormously gigantic words. Words that could have done very well without ever having become words. They could have formed a language by themselves. “Boo we are the big words and we form the big language. Buhuhaha Buhuhaha”
There, a tagline is all ready; they just have to take it up from here now.

All said, it’s true that though we can fit all the words we’d need into one thin book, sometimes language doesn’t become language without the right words. It is not always the right meaning that you look for; sometimes it’s the right words that could say what you want them to say and give the feel you want them to give. I find myself using synonyms dot com when I won’t be happy with the word I came up with. Sometimes a different/stronger word just has to be there.

But bringing unheard words when they are not called for, to show its presence in your vocabulary should be a strict no-no. Cause rule number 1 for any writer is to make no compromise where language is concerned; it’s got a beauty of its own if we leave it natural. Add jumbo words and you are using make-up!

And I have just proved that I am a simple minded creature with simple words and simple language and anyone who calls me not simple is just not simple enough 😀

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June 22, 2008

Few basic chat and email etiquettes people forget

Filed under: My Musing Moments,Theory — Cris @ 20:55
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There probably are a lot of sites on email etiquettes and chat etiquettes; Still this is my attempt to list a few essentials that I forget to keep most of the time!
So as a self-reminder here goes a few

1. When someone you know has emailed you or send an offline in a chat messenger, you may not have the time to reply right back. But make sure you do it at least by 24 hours. This is important; something I often push for later and forget. The people on the other side may not always brush it off in the same absent-minded way you do. Some people get hurt, some get offended, others annoyed.

But most of the time, people don’t tell you about it, so you go on making the same mistake and they go on feeling offended. So if you are busy just make a note of all the people you owe a reply or some kind of response to. Of course there may always be personal reasons why you don’t want to respond to some people, that is a different story.

2. The above should also work for cell phone messages or unanswered calls. I most often keep these things for later and it’s the same story again.
As a matter of fact, even for blogs! I only started replying to my blog’s comments recently. I thought of it when I started commenting on other blogs and kept checking for replies. Sigh you always learn the hard way, and people like me, when they get 50 knocks on their head every single day!

3. A third thing would be telling someone you are about to leave before you leave; of course such a miss wont happen in real life cause you can’t afford to disappear without people noticing it (trust an experienced failed attempter!). But it might in an online conversation via chat or email you have started on and taken to some level. If you suddenly decide its time to shut down and disappear, the others would be left wondering if they said something wrong. Again experience holds the biggest proof.

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4. Acknowledge! Always acknowledge! When someone has passed a message, send an email, etc, you may not need to reply but you have to acknowledge getting it. My brother often reproaches my inaction cause he would send me tons of photos of my little nephew, I would go on to watch it happily and then go mind my own business. Not a word to him that I got them.

This could be really annoying. I found that out when I was at the sender’s end. I send something and even after repeated did-you-get-its some people forget to type and send a simple “yes”.

A lot matters on clicking that reply button; even if it is sending an empty email, it is a kind of acknowledgement you have received and read.

5. Well those are a few I thought of, most of them from my dealings amiss. But just taking it out to real world, outside the web – you owe your fellow humans a kind of acknowledgement you can give without the help of any technology. I am of course talking about the widely-talked, most appreciated form of all friendliness – a smile. No one can be hurt by it and it does a million wonders.

On the other hand, when you take an absent minded stride and miss all the faces that smile at you and you being in your wonder world walk with an indifferent air, you are putting the whole world against you. Trust me, you don’t want to do that! I am not much of a loser here unless I am totally lost (which my intimates say happens 756 times a day. Hmmm!)!

I tend to be over-expressive and over-reactive on seeing a familiar face on the way I walk, I ride, I travel. I say my hi’s and bye’s enthusiastically (not too wise to do that for the byes ‘cause people may get the impression you were looking to get away, which you probably were ;-))

June 20, 2008

Blogger abuse!

Filed under: life — Cris @ 12:23
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Unbelievable! Was reading about what a blogger had to go through for speaking out against stealing blog content here!

May 21, 2008

Talking about talking … err a lot too much!

Filed under: Just talking — Cris @ 23:26
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Today’s Wonder Years was about a funeral and the last lines between the narrator and his Dad were

“Dad?”

“Yea?”

“Don’t ever die ok?”

Dad smiles and says, “Naaa I am not going to die”

And in the background we hear the narrator. “And for now, that was good enough for me”

I am not planning on coming here everyday and quoting the last 2 liners from The Wonder Years. Hmm or maybe I will 😀 – at least the ones that appeal to me.

For today’s topic I want to talk about talking. There were 2 occasions today which made me think of this whole talking business.

On occasion 1, I was a silent spectator as people around me were engrossed in topic 1 to 100. I involved myself in moving my eyeballs left and right, nodding occasionally, giving out an occasional smile.

In the middle however, I forgot about these little courtesies and went on to imagine the floor splitting apart, cutting the red carpet into 2 and a man rising out of the ground. The man dressed in black came and sat next to me first and said howdy. I took a moment to express shock and then look at others for sharing my shock – that’s how you travel from the first step of imagination to the second step of making it seem real.

The talkers talking of topic 59 didn’t notice my eyeballs stopping the rotation act and now doing some serious shock-expressions. The man looking like a tap dancer who came out of 60’s Hollywood, went on to dance on the living room, mimicking talker 1 and sitting on the head of talker 2. I dumped him back to the ground at a later point when my interest was caught in topic 96.

On occasion 2, I was the talker and I attacked a silent spectator. However unlike the talkers of occasion 1, I was not good with single man shows. I needed more interaction from the other side than moving eyeballs, nods and smiles. Else I immediately start feeling a kind of awkwardness to the extent of feeling guilty for overdoing an act. But the harm was already done and I take sure-to-fail resolutions of talking only when required and ahem, admired 😀

On both these occasions, I realized that any talk only needs one major talker. The other(s) could very well play listeners and imagine men growing from floors. I also realized that all people are not interesting talkers. For though I suffer a bad case of wild imagination, I can hold my eyeballs in action without an effort (that’s the best description I can give of paying attention), with certain talkers. My mother for one. And not just cause we share a bond since my birth. She knows to tell things just the right way, stories just the right length. My Dad, on the other hand, well let’s just say he could do better as an eye-ball director 😀

I wish there was a set of rules or guidelines people could keep for reference. Let me make a humble attempt.

1. When you are saying a point, complete it – don’t start a new story before you finish one

2. You are not alone in the act. A good listener makes a good talker. If you see someone moving their lips, close yours immediately and wait for them to tell their point

3. Use as minimum words and as minimum pauses as possible. Make it sound like a beautiful story people would love to hear word by word. I have to research more to give a detailed picture of this.

4. Be pleasant. Indifference is seldom attractive.

5. Different scenarios need different methods of talking. But make sure you take your tone and words from the no-hurt bag. I would talk more on this. Sorry the entry is too long!

6. Don’t waste each other’s time if any of the involved parties show signs of disinterest.

7. Mean what you say. Empty words belong to no place but thin air.

Explanation of tone and words. For instance, some people believe a good scolding calls for rude tone and harsh words; that talking to the bad shoe in the team calls for a hunter’s spirit. But what they have to realize is this – they are doing the talk not for getting the pleasure of hunting, but to have an effect on the talkee. What is your purpose of talking? You want to talk some sense, you want to tell the person this is not the way to run things around here. And in doing that, you want the person to actually change his ways, not walk away to dump his/her sorrows on alcohol or a few good pillows. So hurting words or insults is out of the question. Take the right approach – put yourself in the culprit’s shoes, guess what they would want to hear, make it as easy for them as possible. If you do a good, polite, understanding, caring, kind-teacher, affectionate-mother kind of talk, your chances of seeing change is ton times more than a really bad scolding. Very likely the talkee would walk away, head down, ashamed of criminal prone deeds, resolving to make a few immediate changes in life.

Be concerned about the purpose, about your self and importantly, about the person you are dealing with.

Ok that’s a hell lot of advice from someone who is still learning to say a whole line without inserting 10 gaps and 20 stammers in between. One of these days, I plan to board on a stage and say “What’s up World?” just the way Bugs Bunny used to ask a certain Doc in town 😀

May 16, 2008

Some amusement; more than some misery

Filed under: Just talking — Cris @ 23:14
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My trip today was to a library. I ventured to walk which meant 30 minutes of moving your left leg and then your right, a busy road and 2 crossings. I did not like crossings. Roads that look totally empty when you start, suddenly shower vehicles when you are in the middle of it. The cars and buses come from your left, your right, and out of thin air; I suspect some are dropped from the sky.

It was a good walk except that the sun was showing utter dedication today and sticking so close to earth you might extend your left hand and touch it! I decided not to do any hand extensions for the day. I looked for fellow walkers who shared my “boiled” feelings. I only saw smiles and happiness both of which I thought had no business to be lurking around. This was a day for mourning and frowning. It called for pessimism. Heck, the word wouldn’t exist any longer if people failed to see misery when it danced right in front of their eyes! I narrowed my eyes in my lonely world of profound grief and decided it was a world full of traitors.

On one occasion I saw a bunch of teenaged boys looking no more than 15 or 16 and one of them came forward and asked me what my mobile number was. I had a question mark etched on my face when he asked this and I kept walking away with it still etched on my face, which was a good thing – it kept me from laughing out aloud. I don’t know why it amused me to a great extent even as I heard the boy join the gang and there was a loud laughter and applause as he seemingly won some wager. I am guessing the wager went in the lines of “Talk to the weird woman who walks down the road and you get a pineapple”

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I am not sure of the popularity of pineapple as a wager prize these days but it fitted that line perfectly. In a couple of minutes I had another young fellow, probably in his 20s telling me “hello beauty” as I passed. This time I paced the road cause the laugh was breaking out without control. I managed to hold it till I was out of sight and then I burst out laughing in the middle of the road. Onlookers probably raised brows but I was helplessly amused. Of course there was nothing funny about the words but there was an undefinable humor in the whole act. I wonder why people find it fun to tell complete strangers these things; probably a self-dare that makes life worthwhile.

I wonder what will happen if I tried to talk something to a stranger; something other than I-am-lost-help-me which was a real-life scenario I came across more often. Say I decide to use the same hello-handsome line on a stranger who passed. Woah! It did take an awful lot of courage and thick deep skin didn’t it? I think I find my life worthwhile without the interjection of a dare-approach-a-stranger.

But I was always of the opinion people should be friendly to people. No harm in giving a friendly smile to passer-bys, raising your hat to old people, a friendly hi-howdy to your lift-mates or bus-seat-neighbors. Problem is these things are so rare here it is more than likely to be linked to the same category of hello-beauty lines and you probably end up facing a frowning cop for public abuse. A friend of mine asked today why I wouldn’t leave Trivandrum and I good-intentionally said cause I was needed here to make it a better place. He asked me how I proposed to do that and I said more good-intentionally, by being a good citizen and letting people watch and learn from me. So I guess it was upto me to bring about some friendliness in this place.

Reaching the library took away the amusement of road-talkers and again brought out the misery in this world. This time, it was in the form of a huge bill.

May 15, 2008

ATM machine and 3 men

Filed under: Others — Cris @ 23:12
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Looks like I blog everyday I go out. Either the world has always been so happening and I just didn’t notice anything, or it must be me. I prefer to think it’s the world.

Today’s trips had nothing special in them. One was to an icici atm machine, outside which I waited 15 minutes before realizing the man inside was not a first-time-user playing with the machine and clapping his hands vigorously like I imagined but a man who had the machine open its money mouth and repair its money problems. The keyword here is money. “Network problem”, he said happily as I knocked and asked what the trouble was.

So I went to another atm machine. This time the man inside was infact a money-taker who was obviously in love with the machine. He was near the machine for a long time, then made his way to the door, seemed to miss the machine’s presence and went back for more tête-à-tête. I bit my nails and frowned for 10 minutes before he finally bid a tearful farewell to the machine and went out reluctantly. I went and reverently stood before the machine. It was going to give me something that made life breathable. But while I was in there talking to the machine about what exactly I was looking for, there came in an intruder. I turned around sharply all prepared to fight down a potential atm-thief. He however didn’t seem to notice a fighter human being in the premises and went around sticking funny papers. Posing as a bank worker are you, my frown said. I didn’t like it one bit. Papers or no papers, the atm room was supposed to be a 1-minute relaxation centre to its sweaty, solitude-seeking customers. If someone wanted to use it for crafts and entertainment, they better wait their turn that’s what! I kept my fighter instincts in alert as I finished my business there. There was no telling when the paper-sticker threw away his paper-sticker disguise and came out as a loud-laughing villain who grabbed money and cards from innocent people. I eyed him suspiciously and remembered the Karate gimmicks I saw in movies. I could think of nothing but boy he was going to have a tough life ahead if he toyed with any burglary ideas! I made a quick move to the door and made sure I brushed some harsh air onto his intruding skin! Well, that I added for my satisfaction, I don’t think any air hit him harsh or he had any clue of the ill-fated future he very nearly escaped.

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The rest of the journey I stuck to keeping quiet and assuming an air of wisdom. Incredibly it worked. There were no more troubles and life was peaceful again. I must do more of this quiet-air-of-wisdom thing. I hope I will remember that for the next trip.

April 23, 2008

Attitudes

Filed under: life,My Musing Moments — Cris @ 00:42
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I was discussing with a friend about the West and the East and how we are all really just humans of the same world. So my friend was telling me the good things he had observed there in the West (he is staying in US now). One of them was about how everyone in the street or any place you go to is always nice to you; they smile and greet you whether you know them or not. I remembered telling the same thing to Amma (my mother) after a little ATM-incident we had today evening.

Amma and I had gone and stood outside an ATM counter and waited for our turn to go in. There were a couple of people ahead of us and in a few minutes we were just outside the door with a small queue behind us. A middle-aged lady walked suddenly from the street and barged her way into the room. I was on a call but I hung up, and feeling angry at this unstopped interference told her to please follow the queue. She gave her sweetest about-to-lie smile and said “Oh I was here before”. I let her go in and Amma said she saw the lady walking from the distant road down the street. I said “Its ok we can’t fight her now”.

She put her head out and asked me, her tone a trifle short of barking, how to insert the card. I told her which way it should go in and ‘bang’, she slammed the door on my face. Forget thanks, there was no attempt to smile or even remove the frown that had replaced her smile now. I felt sure she had an inborn talent when it came to scowls and frowns. In a few seconds she got out and walked away. I suppose she didn’t get the card in and seemed to believe the whole world had done something to stop her from her card-insertion activities.

More things came up as my friend talked about people in cars stopping for pedestrians to cross roads there while I remembered an auto rickshaw driver I happened to ride with, pressing the accelerator hard as he saw a girl trying to cross a busy road. This was, when we were waiting for the green signal in a traffic jam.

I know if we brought up more topics – of marriages, of divorces, of attachments and commitments, we might have different stories to talk of. But these everyday attitudes in life are really so important, all the good things in the long run we might project to our credit is belittled. Consideration and respect are qualities every human being should give another; it’s not a family-reserved or elders-only thing.

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