silence the small talk

For the past few weeks, the sunday morning thing has been a daze. Let me rephrase that, it’s been a bit of a haze for the past few months with the last few weeks providing a teeny bit of excitement. One of the teachers must have felt the boredom and the un-natural vibe of silence I was radiating across the large hall, and with a gesture of kindness, roped me in to teach her class a musical for the annual day gala. It was like the sun broke free from the gray clouds and the grass looked greener, the birds chirping sweeter with spring at its height.

With an escape such as this, I happily skipped out from the husband’s side and have been spending the last month away in the middle of some 8 year old brats but thoroughly enjoying it anyway. Geetha class was side stepped and along with that the usual familiar faces with whom I exchange prolonged knowing glances, smiles, smirks, and eyebrow lifts were relegated to waves along the corridor, courtesy nods, and smiles in passing.

The place bustles with volunteers. Keeping with my general attitude and character (read: can’t shut up and let things go or staying under the radar) folks have begun to associate me with a busybee. Not that I mind the nick, but the flip side is that I can’t for the life of me sneak in and out un-noticed. Many times I am stopped along the corridors by a few volunteers and spoken to regarding whatever was happening or just the usual, hey, ‘ssup (albeit very culturally and PCly) and things pertaining to the workings. It’s all good. Now, these volunteers (and I choose to narrow them down for fun sakes’) come in decidedly two groups. We still talking men here. Females cannot and should not be mistakenly grouped into just two. The horrors if that ever happens!

So the men: We have the extroverts. These are the one who do not hesitate striking a conversation lasting more than the necessary information exchange. They smile easy, are not afraid of stepping close enough to smell your shampoo (ok, that didn’t sound that good, but please let your minds easy, this is a godly place, so all thoughts ought be kept pure!) and there is a pleasant camaraderie. The reassuring (the word is debatable, but I shall let it go for now) part is that they are the minority. Perfect and expected right?

The rest of the folks keep eye contact to the minimum, their feet and the doors become attractive through our conversations and pretty much are all set to run like a freed bullet when the last word is uttered. It’s amusing once you get over the personal rejection angle. Really.

Remember Noble King? He puzzles me. I’d originally chalked him to group two, and then through the few things we were thrown in together kicking and screaming, he moved to group one, and then now he hovers along the border undecided. Especially after my very tongue-in-cheek (apparently it was so, though honest to God, I truly meant it to be casual!) email to him, asking him to quit calling me “ji” – two unrelated friends told me that perhaps the guy thought I was coming onto him! ..and in so many words too.

Argh!

Took me a week to recover and I even skipped the weekend class to avoid an embarrassing meeting. After a miserable two weeks during which, in the true spirit of the classic female gene, wherein I shred the mail and analyze it in a zillion different ways, I decided I’d end this confusion the next Sunday. While bracing for a cold or a piercing look, I had to do some major recovering and restrategising the monolog all ready in my head, when he actually smiled, waved and walked up to me. Whoa! Okay, so an extra wrinkle on my creased forehead was so uncalled for! Since am known to flog a dead horse, I went ahead and asked him “so, everything’s okay right?” and he goes “huh yea, of course!?” – At that precise moment, in true Bollywood style the strains of jubilant music tones burst from within my heart, and the pang I suffered through grew angelic wings and soared upwards into the skies with a cherubic smile.

So, okay I’ve rambled enough.

Small talk. Some just can’t do it. The burden rests on the other party to either do a 911 on the situation at hand or let it sink in while they escape murmuring incomprehensible excuses. You’d think that folks realize that of themselves and so avoid all contact where small talk was expected of them? So what motivates a person to propel himself into such a scene and then blissfully stand there unperturbed?

11.45 am Sunday morning:

The husband and younger two have gone ahead to pull the car up front after the session. Daughter was talking with a friend outside the door. I was wrapping up with one lady on something, and was standing at the entrance/exit gazing at the very pretty goldfish and a lazy turtle in the tank along with a bunch of kids. I look up and see NK move purposefully in my direction. Since there really was nothing that we both had in common to converse on an issue at that point, I turned my attention back to the lazy turtle.

NK stops within a foot of me and says “hello

I swoon. Recover fairly quickly. Is he really talking with me? Where’s the reverent “namaste”? where’s the Ji? Suddenly, I miss them. Like the unwanted guests rooting into your home, the words had stayed on too long. Now, after forcefully throwing them out on their bottoms, I was beginning to feel the vacuum.

Me: Yea. hello. *smiling*

NK: I thought I’d say hello to your husband, but was’nt sure if he was the one.

Me: My husband?

NK: The guy in blue shirt, he was sitting next to you. I hope he is your husband!

Me: *giggling by now* yea, he is.

NK: I wasn’t sure. *smiles*

Me: Yea, that’s okay.

NK: hmm..

Silence.

Me: So how are you?

NK: Good. Going on. *no, “how are you” right back at you!*

Me: I see your mother is in town. That’s nice.

NK: Yea, she is here.

Silence. Shuffle feet.

Me: Mine should be coming over too.

NK: Oh okay. Nice.

Me: So, travelling around for the summer?

NK: No idea. Just around.

Silence. Me on repeat in my head “quick think of something, coz he sure isn’t talkin!”

Me: So a year’s done. It was our first year, was nice.

NK: O really? Okay. Good.

Silence. Me looking at the door and wishing for his wife to come out. His mother. His son. Anyone. The silence has worn my willpower down. I break. I ramble. Words pour out with no rhyme or reason. They don’t make sense to me. Apparently it did to him, coz he pierced his eyes on me and listened. Like a boy scout. Unwavering and with great concentration. Like perhaps he’d be quizzed back home on it.

Me: Yeah, it’s been fun. But its’ getting crazy. weekends, and all. Then there’s this ballet that’s coming up.

NK: What ballet?

Me: The one they just announced right? Mid-July.

Welcome relief in daughter’s presence.

Daughter: Mom.

NK: Hello. How are you *to daughter*

Daughter: I am fine. *smiles, fuming inwardly, as she is late for her dance class already, and is trying hard to smile (at him) and glare (at me) at the same time.

Me: *ramble mode still on* Yea, she has to go for the class now.

NK: Oh okay. You in it? *asking daughter*

Daughter: Yea. It’s clashing with Annual day here, so ..

Me: Yeah. We’ll see, there’s always something right?

NK: yea. *smiles*

Me: Okay, we should go. Alright then. *nodding my head *

NK: Okay. See you. Bye. *nods head seriously*

Me: Bye.

?!?!?!

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15 thoughts on “silence the small talk

  1. Adithya: Oh, I did that already with the wife :D Actually totally ribbed her on how it’s puring cats and dogs coz she showed up for the class!

    Vijay: I’ve lost count of the number of times the daughter saved me. She is a blessing indeed! :)

    Maverick: The trick is to exit gracefully. ;)

    terri: yea, and I thought the Jab we met’s happened only in movies!

  2. NK: The guy in blue shirt, he was sitting next to you. I hope he is your husband!

    Me: *giggling by now* yea, he is.

    LOL

    I agree with Terri, this is something straight out of a Bollywood. ;)

  3. “two unrelated friends told me that perhaps the guy thought I was coming onto him! ..and in so many words too.”

    Such situations could indeed be awkward, though I couldn’t understand how unrelated friends could think so. A smile and an open talk should throw the awkwardness away.. But then, if everything could so easily be done, we will have few things to think about :)

  4. Saagar: Well, I try. Something bugs me, I’d rather go yak it off than fester. Unrelated as in the 2 were not “remotely related” to have thought the same way. :)

    Baph: You now know where to come when you want some masala for that movie script you embarking on.
    In retrospect, “giggling” was just for effect here. I guess “grinning” would be more appropriate. You would have too with the guy’s serene face puckering up into anxiety that he married off this woman to some random guy! ;)

  5. Lekhni: lol, they did get introduced awhile back. Doubt either of them would recognize the other even if you placed them within a foot of each!

    Baph: But of course, as long as you write a warm credit acknowledging me ;)

    WT: lol, totally. Except that again, twud be my monologue and the dude would say “o that, heh!”

  6. Lemme give you the guy perspective. When we find a girl attractive, we try to put on our best behavior and chat up the girl. This is standard guy behavior. It has no sinister objective, just a general desire to make ourselves look like smart guys. It also has a failure rate of 100%. Since no girl in the universe is going to swoon in your arms because you observed that it’s not the heat, it’s the humidity. Or whatever dumb thing we guys can think of at that moment. I’ve known guys to recite Shakespeare sonnets to dumb bimbos and talk about current affairs to fashion junkies. And the universal girl reaction is one of profound embarassment, as if she is the one responsible for the guy making an ass of himself.

    This shouldn’t be so. You should laugh at the guy upfront and watch him turn a pretty red. You should show exaggerated reactions of disgust or rage (as appropriate) and embarrass the hell out of him. Things like that. And when you meet him elsewhere, remind him of his conversation loudly, in the presence of others.

    It should be fun.

  7. Naren: You provided much needed laughs and insights. Thank you very much. Now so many behaviors can be explained!
    lol@embarrassing him. The poor thing! :)

    Praveen: It sure is :)

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