Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Curious Case of SMALL TALK !

Life is full of situations and times wherein you find yourself in awkward and uncomfortable spot. Like being at a party where you don't know anyone. Some people will strike a conversation and start to gel up with people. But there will always be someone who will be sitting in a corner sipping his drink and looking super jaded. There are situations which often demand for striking a conversation. These conversations are far from interesting or productive. They are nothing but a pain in the ass for both the parties. Mostly weather or monosyllables these conversations hardly contribute in building any kind of relation.

There are some special situations or places wherein people automatically assume that a small talk needs to be initiated. It may not be required per se but the deliberation involved is highly comical. I have tried and dissected some situations and places where people generally fall into the trap of small talk.

Beauty Parlors: If you a lady, I am sure you will vouch for this one. This is THE place for the small talk. The lady waxing your legs would want to know all about your daily schedule. This girl I went to for waxing wanted to know all about my attire right from my hair band to shoes. With the kind of pain she was inflicted on me, I wanted to do anything but talk. She refused to take hints from my monosyllables and battered on about how she could never carry the red pants I was wearing. 

The ladies waiting in queue too will join the bandwagon and pass on their comments on issues unimportant as say passing a comment on which hairstyle will suit a fellow client totally unrelated to you.  

Lifts: Just for record, your being in a small room with a stranger does not obligate you to initiate a bombardment of questions. You enter; we smile, press the buttons and then wait in utter silence until the destination is reached. This should be the ideal scenario provided you don’t know each other personally. In case you do know each other personally, well there are way better things to do than just talk. Like shouting at the top of your voice, checking the echo of the sound and of course making stupid faces in the mirror. Just in case you are a stranger you obviously don’t qualify to do the above mentioned but at the same time you don’t need to pry and start asking personal questions. I have a habit of keeping my id card on till the time I reach my room; this unfortunately has been on several occasions the focal point of many small talks initiated like “Oh Xyz Company”? “Great, so how much do they pay you?” (Yes! That direct) “So you must be leaving in a PG, which floor?” “What are your working hours, we can share an auto sometime?”:O
While some people do look out for opportunities to initiate conversation others do so merely to avoid being rude. All I have to say it just smile or say hello and that’s that. More than enough.

The Third Person Scenario: This happens when there is a common link between two strangers. If god forbid that common link has to somehow for even a short duration of time go away, awkward is a very subtle word to describe the situation between the left out strangers. Uncomfortable and nervous smiles quickly give way to the conversation starters like “So, where did you say you work?”  Both the parties know that the job profile is a topic of least concern what so ever but what else can be done in the silent moments of torment.

Travel Trauma: This includes your daily commute in public transports or even long distance traveling. People waiting next to you in the bus stop will always want to know “You have waiting since how long” how exactly that matters I have never really understood. The person sitting next to you will also try and ask something and if not they will make sure to peek suggestively whenever you type anything in your cell phone or open your bag. This one uncleji  sitting next to me in plane wanted to know in full blown details about where I was coming from and where I would be going, who would pick me up from the airport and how am I related to them. But yea I am forever indebted to him as he helped me when my phone fell and slide under the seats during plane landing while I fake slept to avoid his questions.  He called up all the air hostesses and made quite a scene out of the situation but not before giving  me a sound hearing of how careless I have been and what-all-could –have-happened lecture, thus embarrassing me further.

Office: Office conversations are all the more tricky before well, its office. You need to keep a lot of things in mind before you even try and initiate a smile. Any sort of personal intervenes is strictly a no-no. So, this conversation will mostly focus of your quintessential technologies, market, financial results and profits. This is the most dreaded conversation in my list simply because I suck at it. I make it a point to appear aloof and if the situation demands just smile. 

I am sure there are many other situations and scenarios but I am really tired read bored of analyzing and over analyzing them all with the scrutiny of a CBI official. I hope you like the concoction and have as much fun reading it as I had writing it (before it got all boring :P)
Though it did help me in creating a list of topics to be included in small talk
1. Weather
2. Sports
3. Economy
4. Music
5. Movies
6. Filmstars
7. Crime
8. Governement
9. Food
10. Mobile Models

Haah, 10 topics, not at all bad :-)



  1. निश्चय ही बात प्रारम्भ करना कठिन है, विषय बड़े सीमित होते हैं, पर एक बार खुल जाने के बाद हुआ संवाद बड़ा लाभदायक होता है। कई बार तो औपचारिक परिचय कई घंटों की अनौपचारिक चर्चा के बाद ही हुआ।

  2. Then there's the gym! People will ask you idiotic questions like "Why do YOU have to work out? You're slim" or unsolicited advice like "You should do xyz exercise regimen" or the most horrific one I've heard till date: "Do exercise to grow taller, you'll get a better husband". Obnoxious much? :-| I dislike small talk and have mastered the art of the snobbish face - it discourages small talkers and nosy busybodies alike!

  3. Was a nice read :) No matter what the topic you choose to write on, your narration style and description makes it very interesting!! :)

    Take care, Sai :)

  4. dat means u r so interesting.. dat ppl just wnt to knw u smehw..:))

  5. I really get worked out when some people try to engage in me in some mundane conversation that I am not even interested into. I have a tendency to twist my hair lock. If I got nothing to say, I don't feel the need to continue the conversation. Bores of the planet mushroom everywhere..lol

  6. मैं जल्दी बात नहीं कर पाटा ऐसे किसी अनजान से...और ट्रैवेल में तो मैंने भी कई बार झेला है, जैसा आपने झेला है...
    मस्त पोस्ट!