After coming back to work on a Monday, I ran into a colleague in the corridor. The colleague said, “Hey wassup! How are you! How was your weekend?” All without a pause.And he kept walking without waiting for an answer. I stood there for a moment, with a smile that was turning into a mirthless stretch of my lips, wondering if I should say I am fine and my weekend was also fine and should I ask him the same. But it seemed awkward to shout out a response to someone who was already out of a conversation range. It seemed even more awkward to be standing there wondering if I should give a response. Made me wonder if every conversation these days was a fleeting set of questions fired perfunctorily at acquaintances whether or not the questions were answered.
Apart from the syllabus-prescribed lessons, something which all our school teachers taught us, repeatedly, irrespective of the subject they taught and the grade they taught in, was to “KEEP QUIET” or to “STOP TALKING”. Then there were the motivational speakers who incessantly insisted that the reason why we have two ears and one mouth is so that we listen more and talk less. If we give this some thought, we can all figure out some flaws with that logic.
But the fact remains that these thoughts have been drilled for so long into our minds that we have finally reached an era where people hardly talk to each other. This, of course, doesn’t mean that our world has become quieter. It just means that the TV is on a higher volume, because it is only the imaginary characters who have dialogues. The real world characters prefer an sms over a phone call. there was a time when people would write long letters and eagerly await a reply. Now, while the waiting time has reduced from five weeks (or five days if we go a little less ancient) to five minutes, the length of the response is determined strictly by the service provider-determined character length. There was also a time when talkative people were more loved than the silent, brooding types. Now, the talkative ones are considered annoying, and people are looking for “listeners”.
Sometimes the character-length doesn’t cover all that we have to say. But all that we have to say is too long for the other person to focus on. It is a world of superficial friendships where few words, sometimes letters state what needs to be said. The elders blame the laziness of the generation, but the generation says texting is an exercise too. Who knows why the conversations have died out. I state the “what” of most things. The “why” is up to more intelligent beings to ponder upon.