Thursday, August 11, 2011

Ten pet peeves relating to Facebook posts/activities

As an avid Facebooker its very common for me to find posts cluttering the news feed - especially those that shouldn't be on a public forum or are simply irritating. This post is a listing of 10 such activities that I can recollect in the ascending order of most common occurrence (in my opinion). These are more general observations after hours and hours of hopeless time-pass on Facebook by yours truly over the last 4-5 years.

10. Posting 70 school sports day photos of kids who didn't win anything - if you have to post please make it a private album or send the Picasa or similar link to whomsoever is specifically interested or post the winning photo or select photos with some significance.
9. Posting pictures from the latest religious ceremony conducted at home in front of immediate family alone - most recent abuse posting Avani Avittam thread changing pictures. Really next thing will be "aruna kayaru changing ceremony" ! (This point does not cover any function where one invites atleast two people outside the immediate family and the pujari - the golden rule here is if no one is invited to the function the picture does not get on to Facebook).
8. Shaken photos at weird angles - have the same impact as a movie shot on a hand held camera, are frankly of no interest to anyone and can have the unsuspecting observer doubting their eyesight.
7. Logging in to random places depicting mundane or even bizzare events/activities in ones daily life - example returning items at an electronics or any other store / daily posts for working out at the gym / visiting Subway or Walmart. Such enlightenment may be useful to a burglar or your secret admirer/stalker at best so please keep it away from the rest.
6. Posting pictures of any normal household furniture assembly in progress - simply don't want to see or know. Next thing I know the assembly of the bathroom washbasin will be on display!
5. Posting a zillion photos of you, yourself and yourself-est in different angles daily irrespective of whether you consider yourself to be the world's most loved celebrity. Your narcissist tendencies unfortunately don't impress anyone much and infact will only lead to blocking your feed permanently.
4. Posting videos or articles criticizing another religion or promoting conversion to a particular religion. Remember "live & let others live in peace" and also the fact that every religion has its own merits/demerits/followers/converts and the only religion that is superior to other is that of kindness & tolerance.
3.Monthly status/photo update when you/your kid(s)/your neighbour's kid(s) had a new haircut - monthly being the operative word. Please send it to your select list of admirers or your barber/hairstylist alone.
2. Sending invites to zoos, farms and win free iPad/iPhone/blah blah free personal island in Timbuktu - if its too good to be true then it is false - and hence I am not interested. Also, I have enough better things to do in the real world than breed chicken /gorillas and fertilize the fields.
1. Clicking on any link with contains the word embarrassing and has a link enclosed to a supposed video. Firstly it will 99% be a spam and secondly it will multiply with posts from you to me and your other friends' walls mentioning the same thus causing avoidable embarrassment to you that you may never realize and that we have to endure.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Cultures and Communication

If you've ever been to a different place or seen one of those HSBC ads ( you know that communication can indeed be a strange yet amusing activity in a different country. Shrugs, long pauses, raised eyebrows and forceful gesticulations ensue - and if they stop there one is indeed fortunate.

I have quite some fond stories that I have either experienced personally or overheard and love sharing. So let me begin at the very beginning:

It all began with a visit to the Starbucks one afternoon as I sought refuge from boredom in the local mall. The payment was made and a casual yet rapidly spelt out question "do you want it to go" in a rapid pace had me puzzled. I was a wee bit bewildered unsure if I the lady at the counter was being rude and asking me to go but then her expression didn't seem unfriendly. So then I made it clear "I would like to get it and then go." A couple more visits followed with similar questions and answers before I finally got the hang of it. Huh! Well I got off a bit better than another fellow Indian who apparently was asked the very same question at the end of a long series of rapidly spelt out questions at a local McDonalds in his first few weeks in the country. He simply replied in a frustrated tone "As you please!" Looks like we need to educate the cashiers with a simple term called "Parcel" - that would make life so much simpler. However till that happens I have resolved to nod (in the correct direction) to the "To go" question and demand the "To go" boxes !

Another lesson came at the local grocery store. with the question "Would you like to bag it?" I was stumped and said no a couple of times. Well the lesson was learnt after to carry two loose nearly frozen milk bottles (without a cover that is) and a whole lot of other grocery at one shot. The lesson cover = bag! That may sound simple but try using "Bag it" instead of the commonly used cover, pai (tamil), pishwi (marathi), thaili(hindi) * and think how covering something and bagging something actually mean different things in the English that we are used to.
(*don't we already have enough words!)

Next come our wonderful names - last name longer than the long first name with a amazing combination of vowels & consonants that even we can't recognize in English at times. Encounter a cashier and you can keep having the same conversation of wow after they see your name. Thankfully thats limited to my last name and my hubby's first & last names. Have heard his last name go from Rangarang to Rangeelasomething to Rangsomething. On his first name people give up before they start ! In fact watching the expression of the cashier or employee trying to read it is in itself an experience. We even heard from a friend the consternation of a Subramaniam addressed publicly as Submarine-ian :P

Then there is the incident of the famous "American diamond". A friend visited a jewellery stone and asked the shopkeeper whether the particular jewellery on display was a real diamond or an American diamond (Indian colloquial reference). Further explanation on how fake diamonds were called "American diamonds" colloquially in India really didn't help assauge matters and a quick exit was deemed best.

Hmmn... I am sure I will be adding more to this list over time. For now however this is where I say Adieu :)