Saturday, July 12, 2008

The door-bell rings...

As the title suggested, the door bell rang. The compound gate had earlier creaked open and I knew people were coming in. But then I was hoping that they'd go right around the side of the house to visit the tenants that lived upstairs. But then the doorbell rang here, logic dictated that they were guests for us. I drearily raise myself from somewhere in the deep recesses of the sofa that from ages of having people plonk themselves on it ended up having deep recesses in the first place.

You open the door to find a twice removed cousin and his family grinning at you. Forcing the muscles of your face into a semblance of a smile, you beckon them in with words of (what you hope are) welcome. You frantically phone your mom who has gone out to gossip with the local maamis about the price of the potato and tell her to rush back home ASAP. Then you wade through a stream of curses to wake up your dad, who once awake, gets the point soon enough and rushes out to greet them.

In such encounters, it is advisable to always leave the TV on. However, the volume is turned down to a ultra-low level so as to not disturb the conversation, which proceeds like so:
"So, you are a mechanical engineer now? Why didn't you take Computer Science or IT, which has better scope?"
"I am a Computer Science Engineer (technically of course)".
"You must be hunting for a job now I suppose".
"No, I already got one. Am waiting for their call".
"Oh Software company ah?"
"Yes."
"Very good", says the wife.
"Software is an unstable job. These days they fire without reason. It will all end in a few years, why did you take computer science?", says the husband.
I smile, but I am internally banging my head.

Experts in the art of small talk all expound on the importance of the muted TV. When the conversation becomes too tough to maintain, you gracefully withdraw yourself from it and abstractedly gaze at the TV screen. You pretend you have a mild interest in watching Federer thrash some player whose name is full of adjacent Ds, Js, Ys, Ks, and an apostrophe thrown in for good measure. Imagine going around with an apostrophe in your name. Anyway, you gracefully watch the tennis match on the screen and let others develop the conversation.

However, you soon realize your opinion is expected because conversation has swung around to the tennis match. Too many people have withdrawn 'gracefully' from the lead converser's extempore on the political situation in Zimbabwe. Not to be outdone, he swings matters from Robert Mugabe to Mahesh Bhupathi in the same breath and asks me about whether so-and-so seeded so-and-so will make a wild card entry to so-and-so round in the so-and-yawn. You realize you need to say something to avoid embarrassing yourself, because you've been so graceful in withdrawing from the conversation that everyone's assumed you're an ardent fan of lawn tennis. I start to mumble something about so-and-so's back-hand not coming good about which I thought I heard someone say... Federer serves a particularly vicious ace to which the apostrophe exhibits all the reactions of a cement pillar. You take the opportunity to look at the screen and let your answer trail into thinness.

The man then jumps through a warp hole from Wimbledon to whether the 3G system for mobile phones will get implemented in India or not. You look up in surprise. Thank god you listened to pilpa expound on 3G when she did. For the first time conversing about a known subject, you realize the guy's barking his head off. You go on to say a bit about mobile phone portability and everyone looks at you with wonder. Wow, this boy knows so much they think.

Federer wins the match to accompanying celebrations and the conversation swings back to tennis. Wanting to grab back the he-knows-a-lot position from me, he asks me a strategic question designed to put wonder into people's minds. "Do you know when the final of Wimbledon is held?"
"It is held after all the other matches are over", I reply.
With a you-can't-get-away-with-that-young-man smirk, he asks, "No, tell me what date is the final held on?"
Put off, I say I don't know. Who the hell knows what date the coming Sunday is?
With a triumphant smile he announces that all Wimbledon matches are held on July 7th. "Always! He cries with a thump on the table for effect. That is the culture of Wimbledon. The final is always held on the 7th of July regardless of whatever happens in the other matches!". He sits back with a triumphant smile. I don't have the heart to tell him that Wimbledon is always scheduled to end on the first Sunday of July.

Small talk having been completed to heart's content, the true purpose of the visit reveals itself. After a little few No, no, not at all neededs and Please, please, you shouldn't say nos and some secretive husband-wife gesturings (among both parties), the process ends. Everyone is relieved and they drink up their now cold coffee. Having no further need to make small talk, the visitors decide to bid farewell. The bread-winner kick-starts the bike, and the sincere wife gets on behind him. The three-year-old son gets in front of his dad, proudly holding one of my (or my brother's) old abandoned toys. With one last snippet about the political situation in west bank, they speed off.

30 comments:

Marc said...

No way they'll talk about international politics and technology. More like the latest mega serial or some boring gossip about relatives.

Visu said...

Haha, quite true.
Well,of late I hate guests visiting home. Hats off to their academic sense of humor, making 'Funny-not-offensive' remarks on me. Damn..
What the hell bothers you old man, I sometimes think of asking that on the face. But for some noble reasons I always prefer evading 'inadvertently' by a telephone call(ring tones actually.. :D)..
And today, as you know, i went to college to collect my certificates. It was all over and when i stepped out, my mom called me and asked to come home ASAP since guests(relatives actually) have come, and what did i do?
"Mom,I'm sorry, i think it will take another two hours here". Having said that, i went to my friend's home. yay !! :)

Sundar said...

@Marc
Of course they did. This post is based on reality. I just warped a few things to not give away too much to relatives who read my blog :D

@Visu
Yeah, some of them get on my nerves.

Buzz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Buzz said...

Well. Now for my point of view.. Duh .. this doesn't take issue with your point of view. I like to be in the recluse of my "sweet home".. not withdrawn from the outer world though. One more that vexes the poor guy to recluse are the ludicrous talks of relatives, helping themselves to the avertable chin wags.. Keep on clavering the hokum.. Man.. some nouses needed to be infiltrated into their psyche...

and dude.. going thro the blog it seems you been skimming across a lotta blogs these days.. 3G.. I was going to post one on 3g in a day... anyways Indian govt is jaunting too slow in the path of ontogenesis(LOL)....Misplaced dud...

Visu said...

Sunil, it seems like your GRE exam is nearing.

Prashanth said...

"In such encounters, it is advisable to always leave the TV on."

That's exactly what I do as well! It's a lifesaver when the conversation gets a bit uncomfortable!

"...some player whose name is full of adjacent Ds, Js, Ys, Ks..."

Now-a-days, there are a significant number of Zs also in the name da!

"The three-year-old son gets in front of his dad, proudly holding one of my (or my brother's) old abandoned toys"

Exactly! My mom is hinting at giving my personal Firefox stuff to a little cousin!

Selerines said...

Nice post.. Same thing here. But here all are used to question me about my work/DOJ. They are asking why you are always sitting vetti in home. Go and try some work outside. Don't sit like this... It's very annoying to hear these kind of comments from them....

Rachel said...

Sundar, at times i find it hilarious when people talk things they really don't know about it a bit.But what few they have read it as headlines either in newspaper or news.

Sometimes they are annoying when we are disturbed amidst our sleep. Like When mom says " hey get up, Uncle & aunt has come go fresh up and welcome them" ( already they would be welcomed ;) )though we don't wish to smile but have to try to smile.

kumaraguru said...

LOL... thats ly i can say... u r English s really impressive da...

Narain said...

Super Freakin Hilarious!

@ Uleadin,
Look who's talking! :D

Vatsala said...

I find tht cell phones are the best company in these testing times, not that I have many ppl visiting me, still.

So my OATS is tv and cell phones are indispensable gadgets when there are boring guests around.

Sundar said...

absolutely

seshadri said...

Yeah Guests are like you cannot explain man you will feel the discomfort but you will not why???It is a Sort of Inexplicable Theories

krish said...

well-written piece! Good job! (seen Hancock?) And as if I cant guess who the relative is.. ! (why do cousins have to be always twice removed ? - I know of one uncle you want to remove permanently - from the hair, that is..)

Sundar said...

didn't see Hancock, but I saw Dark Knight (First day first show, if I might mention). It was absolutely brilliant! Am thinking of watching it once again one of these days.

I don't know what you are talking about. I refuse to make any comment. No, my lips are sealed.

ViJaY said...

Yup.. It really feels irritating particularly when relatives throng your home at the wrong time. For example, one day, I was just gonna eat ma favorite snacks, when suddenly mom came wid the relatives. I saw them through the peephole and immediately hid them under the sofa. I had to wait for a damn hour before I could lay my hands upon them again.

P.S. Can sum1 intrepret what sunil has said in his comment? I couldn't get a word.

Sundar said...

Sunil himself doesnt understand. Dont sweat it.

Aslam said...

Friends of ur parents and Relatives are a pain, especially at a time when i am waiting for "THE CALL"... Especially the curious kind, who ask "...what till then...?" Then there are those who give advice... for free of course.

I totally agree, some do have the "I know it all" attitude, that pisses me off... but u cant say that on their face. Darn...

Buzz said...

btw, in layman's term, i meant that, i really like to be at my home free from all the non sense.. except for going out to play or watch a fav movie or for a quick shopping, i never like to go out.. hate to get involved in some useless talks..

BTW, i was asked by vijay " hokums and duhs" .. i meant that those talks were nonsense.. it's a word tht can be used to represent cheap humours.. and with this "nouses needed to be infiltrated into their psyche" i meant some one has to teach them common sesne to stop with their usual hokums aka nonsense..
cha.. comment pannakiye ippadi lam KALAIKARANGALE.. ENNA KODUMA MURUGA IDHU..

Srividya Jayaraman said...

Go, update!Do not procrastinate.

Visu said...

Yeah update bloody, Do not ... (yeah, whatever)

navneeth said...

great post man
The best solution is to switch wat ur doing for ex. if u were watching tv move to the comp since it wouldn't be in the same room.So it won't be as if ur insulting them.

TD5M4PP3R said...

I get fever when such relatives visit :P

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