Thursday, November 29, 2007

Of Phone Calls, Chats And More

One of the many benefits my dad was entitled to, being a PSU employee, was the free telephone we had. Max, as it was called, meant endless phone calls to my friends which would make my parents go crazy.

"Abe kya khel raha hai yaar Sachin....." 30 mins
"achcha ye vala integration kaise hoga..." 1 hour

And there were so many of these everyday. There was no email or chat. Face to face and the phone conversations were the only ways of expressing myself. I was never very good at spoken English. I could express myself decently and carry out a conversation without any major hitches. But I was, and still am, most comfortable with Hindi, with the occasional English sentence or word thrown in. When it came to writing though, the going got a little easier. I never had (still don't have) the gift of vocabulary but for as long as I can remember, I have enjoyed writing in English. Add to it the fact that I grew up reading primarily Bengali literature and you can get a picture of a boy who was most comfortable reading in Bengali, writing in English and talking in Hindi.

Let me ask you a question now. If you are reading this, chances are that your methods of communication include chat and emails in addition to the other two I have already talked about.
So, do you think that chatting is different from talking on the phone or talking face to face. Are there conversations which you would rather have from behind a screen than talk over the phone or talk face to face. Are you a little different when you are using any one of these ways. Do you think I am, any different.

Ok, I meant more than a question !

I have 24 hour access to the net. Which essentially means that my primary way of keeping in touch with people is through chats and emails. I'm very comfortable with that. More than talking over the phone at times. It helps that its a passive activity. You don't Have to reply immediately. You can think, you can let some things go unnoticed. You can run away typing a "gtg....ttyl" and just sit there. It, sort of gives you more option of controlling the conversation, its flow. You'll say its hard to get someone over the net. It's tough to connect. What if the other person is sad and makes a ':)'. Well, I can tell. At least with some. Guess I'm just too good at this thing!

I've been told that there's a difference between the me who talks over the phone and the me who chats. Possible. Could be because of the writing /speaking preference. Could just be a case of which one I am more used to as of now. Frankly, though, there are times and occasions when I'm more comfortable writing down what I want to say than saying it. Makes it easier for me.

When you are meeting someone and talking face to face, it's quite different in the sense that you would most probably also be doing something. Going somewhere, eating, having coffee, watching a movie. So it's not just talking that you are doing. It allows you to talk about the food you are eating or the traffic you are stuck in. Yes, you can just sit down and talk too and you can smile and nod your head. Oh! you know it's different, right!

I find it a little disturbing at times that there is not one language I am absolutely fluent in. But I'm mostly happy with what I have. English has replaced Bengali as my preferred language for reading. The rest, more or less remains the same. I would also like to believe that people who know me, who get me, would always know what I'm saying, what I mean, even without my saying. At the same time I feel there is a difference among them and each one comes with its own set of advantages and handicaps. The way you can laugh together face to face, can never be replicated in a chat. The way your voice over the phone can give away your feelings is never possible through an email. At the same time, you do need that email to say sorry when you ego is too strong for spoken words. You need that "hi.. u thr" to start talking again. I have had conversations lasting for hours on chat, on the phone and face to face. Everyone has. Talking nonsense, laughing like lunatics, discussing other people, talking about life, and sometimes, just being silent. At the end of the day, I think it's just a matter of convenience. If you are in my town, I would prefer meeting you. If you have a net connection at home, guess I'll mostly catch you online. If you don't fulfill any of the above criteria and are still close to me, I'll call you up sometime.


sunny said...

Nice blog...good observation. And I must say I feel I am totally different person in all the 3 mediums of communication( chat, phone, face-to-face). Again, I'm left wondering after reading the post!

Shreyas said...

there are a few things i can say about the post. one tht u r being modest when u say u dont have a good vocabulary, look at people around you, like me :P, and then decide. Two for the first time in a long time your blog felt like a light weight candid expression of your observation about yourself, which was good. Thirdly, what you said is true for evryone, and tht makes me wonder if the medium of conversation controls our behaviour rather than the other way.
on a personal level, i hate the phone, face to face and text messaging is fine for me.

tarun said...

wow...u guys are so romantic....i certainly knw u can chat for hours..ooppss days...