Indirect, Implied and Insane

One of the epiphanies that define ‘coming of age’ is that a huge percentage of adult communication is implied. It could be as loud as wearing a particular dress, or as obscure as using a term- to communicate affection, pain and a range of other emotions.

For me, like most epiphanies, this too was coupled with regret and emotions of ‘I wish I could do it’. Not only because, I missed many signals but perhaps unwittingly, sent out many wrong ones too.

Yet, now that I know about it- and have had some experience receiving and sending messages this way, it’s still a tricky orange to peel. Because, adults are also mad/insecure people who would be too boring if they were too clear.

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Expressions, eye movements, tone, etc. are all implied non verbal forms. All communication textbooks teach us that. Yet, there’s more to it. Talking about a topic that is indirectly related to another person’s weaknesses or insecurities is a done thing for most competitive people. (Reminding someone of a night of embarrassment by talking about something entirely unrelated from that night, for eg.) There are ways of showing affection too this way. (Randomly bringing in a topic that prompts the person to highlight his achievements. Or if one is skillful, finding a way to repeat dialogue/line said by the other person.)

Another trick/test that tests unconscious implication (and I have seen it being consciously used by some people), is to ask a question in a group and see if the other person jumps at the opportunity to answer.

Sometimes, these implications fail to hit their target. Or worse still, you receive an implication of rejection/irritation as a reply. (Some people take it as a challenge to reverse the tide.)

Online too, this makes for interesting analysis. And, if one cares enough one can see human back stories to most things that appear inane on Facebook. For eg. Once upon a time, I saw a Friend X post a love song with ‘consolation & don’t go away’ as it’s theme on Friend Y wall. I asked Friend Z about what the logic was behind it. Friend Z said that the logic was that Friend X was Mad. Here, I had a brainwave- and said that he must have wanted to send a message to someone particular but through suggestion.

Sometimes, these messages can possess dual meanings. In the sense, that an arrow of affection (or rejection) can hit two hearts, or the same arrow can be rejection for one, and affection for another. Sometimes, even unintentionally. I composed a couple of sentences to give this concept some flesh. Here they are:

“I am sorry to break this to you but that wasn’t meant for you. Yet, I am not breaking it to you, because there’s a slight chance that that wasn’t meant for me either.”

I’d love to hear what you all have to say on this, because god knows everyone’s dealing with it.

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To Bangalore, and back

I am writing this to store a memory.

5th April, 6.30 a.m.

I open my eyes to find myself sitting in an empty bus. It seems that Bangalore has arrived earlier than I expected it too. I remove my bag, and make my way out. With instructions on how to reach Indiranagar. I get down, with thoughts of arrival in a big city and how it could be home, if I make it through the interview. But, all that could wait, I had not smoked for 9 hours in the bus. I smoked a cigarette, and found an ATM. From there, I took an Auto which was obviously fleecing me, but I thought “Let him fleece. 50 Rs. if he takes more, he will have a good morning!”

7.15 a.m.

I reach Indiranagar (there’s a metro line running above me, which I mistake for a flyover) and with plenty of time on my hand, decide to smoke another cigarette before getting down to locating the place. Fortunately for me, I have a nice landmark to help me find it with ease. But, first I had to brush my teeth, and wash my face. Locating a kirana shop early in the morning is a pain. (None of the cigarette sellers here had a toothpaste.) With persistence and patience, I finally locate both a kirana store and a place where I could discreetly brush and wash my face. I give a thought, to going into a toilet of one of the malls or food joints, but find it too early in the morning. (Now, when I think of it brushing teeth behind a wall was one of the sweet memories of slight adventure about the trip.)

I wonder if I should change my shirt, or not. I decide against it, saying that it’s not possible. Perhaps, I should have let my mother do some talking, and locate a relative/person living in Bangalore- who’d offer me their bathroom for two hours in exchange for some conversation. But, I didn’t because I do not like people getting involved and working hard for my affairs. And, to disturb some family early in the morning is not my style.

I eat an idli wada sambhar in a nearby joint. I think, whether I should have coffee but decide against it.

9.00 a.m.

I sit on a bench among silence and thoughts. Observing smart men and women, in good clothes along with so many other people. Thoughts of the interview discomfort me. I haven’t prepared much. I am not feeling fresh and ready. I don’t have my certificates. But then again, a man should keep calm and deliver. Write a good test, and you’ll be fine.

9.45 a.m.

I land up in the office, only to be told (very sweetly, everyone is so sweet in this field) that I was supposed to come at 11 am. I say that I wasn’t informed. And, take leave.

11 a.m.

I meet other job aspirants from my college and discuss how cool the system is at their office. Everyone from the receptionist, to the CEO wears the same t-shirt.

The copy test is given to us- and boy is it tough. Confident, and arrogantly- I write whatever ideas first appear in my head. Thinking too much, would have ensured I didn’t write the paper at all.

2 p.m.

I am treated to lunch by the kind employees, and eat Mutton Rogan Josh, Butter Chicken, Rotis and Peas Pulao at a restaurant just below the building. The food is great and I relish it with much pleasure.

2.30 pm.

I am back in the office, and listen to jokes being thrown around by others from my college. Soon enough, the news is broken to me, that I don’t need to sit for an interview and that they’ll let me know. It stings, but that is expected- what was I thinking when I walked in there worn out and tired. (Definitely, not at my attractive best. People like to see effort being put in.) Plus, my answers were arrogant and badly framed. Still, in a way it’s a good thing, because a Bangalore based job will mean work + no money to blow up.

3.00 pm. 

I book my tickets back to Manipal, and realise that I have 6 and a half hours to kill with nothing to do at all.

3.30 pm.

Drink beer out of boredom, slowly so as to spend as much time as possible with it.    Thoughts that I have been toying with and sulking over for the past few months recur. Regret over all the things I’ve done, all the hopes that I had that I couldn’t afford to have, all the people whom I’ve lost and the sheer ignorance I have shown towards the things my mother spent on me and hoped from me.

I begin to feel skill less, demotivated and inferior. Yet, I tell myself that tomorrow is another day to work and that I shouldn’t feel so down. It is not going to bring any good.

4.00 pm.

I hum stanzas from Don McLean’s Vincent, and try to find a place to release my fluids. A different one from the place used in the morning. For adventure. (Trying to find something with a full bladder is intense.) I finally find a petrol pump and lighten my soul there. After which I locate a park, and remove my shoes and self massage my feet.

 

5.00 pm

I drink another beer. Time is slow, but it passes.

9.00 pm

I overhear a person ranting about how he was sold fake Hyderabadi Biryani which led to a ‘kaisa jalta’ feeling in his stomach. It brings a smile. I observe many more people, like the drunk man who broomed the outside of a shop to sleep on it.

10. 00 pm

I feel better sitting on the bus. And typically start staring outside at the shops and the city. It starts to rain. I do not attach personal significance to it. But, feel beautiful anyway.