lalita larking

An obsession with cryptic crosswords. Everything else falls in place.

Location: Kolkata, India

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Why I chat with young men

Because young women don't deign to chat with me, as it happens.

Now that isn't true, really; I chat with young women as much as I chat with young men and enjoy myself as thoroughly doing so, but that won't make for a dramatic title, will it?

I don't socialise much. I get invited to attend art shows and poetry meets and such cultural stuff, but I generally prefer to stay at home reading a book or solving a crossword. Most of my interaction with people, young or otherwise, is online these days.

Seriously though, the reason we chat online or exchange long arguments in mails is we all like to communicate. But fun as it might be, I've noticed how communication evolves when we talk online.

When you mail somebody, out of curiosity or with a genuine question, and when they reply; when you communicate with a person for any length of time online, what happens is this-- you establish your levels of intelligence, linguistic competence, sense of humour and what you each find offensive.

You start carefully, with some courtesy and reserve. As the exchange lengthens and you get a feel of the person, there develops rapport. You have common ground, and find other things to talk about too.

In short, you build a relationship, however ether-based and ephemeral it might be. Once you have an idea about each other's levels of tolerance, there is much fun to be had, though.

I have a pal who rants at me about global warming, as if I personally caused it. I have a pal who asks me why Ganguly gets a warm welcome when the rest of the team slunk in. I have a pal who demands that I debate a point when I have no argument to offer. I have a friend to dissect Tenali Ramalingana's poetry with.

I have friends to discuss if people ought to get a license to procreate. I have friends to rant about government policies with. I have friends to argue Rafi versus Kishore for the umpteenth time. I have friends to share nostalgia for Madras with. I have friends to trade clues with, friends to clarify doubts, friends who ask me for clarifications; I have pals for all occasions, really.

What happens is, we develop personal equations and private jokes that arise out of our conversations. And as you trade jokes and puns, some become running gags.

A chance mention of Cinderella hour as I take leave, and a buddy ends up addressing me as Matilda, and our conversations now start with either of us saying, shall we dance? I correct a pal's usage because I know he won't be offended, and now he always says hi with a ' ready for my lesson, ma'am'. Where is my word for the day, demands another, as we trade obscure words.

Best of all, I have pals with wit and humour. They know what's fun, what's funny and what isn't. They know banter, badinage even; they amuse and entertain me when we play like this:

: wait. i will come to calcutta and ask you as my bride.
: son/husband? who owns you now?
: you'll ask my husband for my hand? brilliant.
: i am nice no? he will say yes
: owned by husband, ruled by son, alas
: will defeat both of them and then we will elope.
: what is their worst sport?
: tell, and I will challenge.
: son has ELO 1953
: huh, how Calcuttan is that?
: K is an algebraic topologist, that's his sport.
: will challenge in kabbadi
: perfect!
: ok -- tell husband I am coming and asking
: husband telling, please take her off my hands, she is a dreadful nag, but never look a gift horse in the mouth and all that.
: But we will still elope. Thrill wanted no?
: indeed, ha.

It is all dreadfully politically incorrect, of course, but such fun when you both know it. Nowadays we sign off with promises to set a date for the elopement.



Anonymous dipali said...

What a delightful post, Lali!
There is so much within you that enriches different aspects of different lives..... The latter part was hilarious!

7:42 pm  
Anonymous Ash said...

Elope with me, Lali. We will live on a desert island in a pine-studded bungalow and dissect fourteenth century Telugu poetry to our hearts' content.

8:15 pm  
Blogger Lalita said...

Dipali- Lady, you embarrass me. Start blogging and folks will see how much you enrich me.

Ash- Umm, by definition a desert island would not have 'a bung-studded pinealow' no? And quote Stevie King at me, would you? Please may we get further in courtship? What do you think of the fifteenth century poets? Time to talk about Venkatakavi? Or is it too soon for you?

10:14 pm  
Anonymous dipali said...

By the way, what is ELO 1953?

9:10 am  
Anonymous Prophet of Doom said...

I have a pal who demands that I debate a point when I have no argument to offer.

Ahh, the pleasure of being named ...

2:01 pm  
Blogger Priya said...

ELope? Eeeeeks! Please leave your no. with me Dahlin'. You know how I need to call you at all odd times for all odd things;)

2:43 pm  
Blogger Lalita said...

Dipali- FIDE. Chess player rating system.

Ram- You will get no argument from me. :-)

Priya- Always there for you, angel.

2:50 pm  
Anonymous Arvind said...

looking at the bits of the conversations you presented reminded me of this line in Pulp Fiction which is sort of appropriate for the situation...

'...That's what's so cool about 'em. This sensual thing's goin' on that nobody's talkin about, but you know it and she knows it...'

i dont mean no disrespect or offence.


8:32 pm  
Blogger Lalita said...

Arvind- No offence taken. Come back and comment again, if you like. But did you mean that double negative, though? It gets worrisome then, you see?

9:41 pm  
Anonymous Arvind said...

i really really mean anything bad. honest. the double negative was just a way of expression like how Vincent Vega tells Winston Wolf in the afore mentioned movie 'i don't mean no disrespect'. and i am sure you are pulling my leg when you say it gets worrisome.

9:36 am  
Anonymous Arvind said...

aw... how could i leave a space between afore and mentioned, i dont know.

9:37 am  
Blogger Lalita said...

Arvind- Thanks for elucidating. I didn't realise Pulp Fiction wasn't a genre of literture but a film.

And yes, I was pulling your leg, just a bit.

Are you Swarup garu's son, btw?

11:31 am  
Anonymous Arvind said...

no... i am not Swarup garu's son - i dont know who you are alluding to. the only notable Swarup i know is myself.

lolz... well, it is as you know a genre of literature, and also a movie.

11:52 am  
Blogger Lalita said...

Arvind- I know one other Swarup, Gadde Ananda Swarup, also Telugu. But I thought his son was named Rohan after the cricketer, hence the question. :-)

5:03 pm  
Anonymous Arvind said...

now... i wonder how you suspected. i mean you cant catch accents in the written word. and before i commented on the telugu post you thought i was a telugu. wonder how.

Arvind, stumped

PS: me, until i saw your telugu post i thought you were Bengali. all the evidence pointed to that.

5:33 pm  
Anonymous hehhh said...

Yunhi tum mujhse baat karte ho/ya koi pyaar ka iraada hai...

6:42 pm  
Blogger Lalita said...

Arvind- I was struck by the spelling of 'Swarup', as that's how Swarup garu spells his name, not with two 'o's. Hence the surmise, and by extension, the assumption that you are Telugu.

Hehhh- Yunhi, tee hee.

7:45 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


No I am not your friendly neighbourhood Anon, and I do feel a bit sorry usurping what-is-perhaps his right to this anonymity! The guy is simply, unquestionably devoted to you... :)

But all thats besides the point. I am no blogger. Just chanced to visit your blog while I was looking for something on "Hum bekhudi mein"... and 've till now spent close to an hour going through your various posts and ofcourse, the equally enchanting comments. Its somehow a different world out here at your blog... a world of Hrishikesh Mukherjee, with a sprinkling of PG woodehouse, a bit of Dickens, and RK Narayan also peeping through at times! A world of lazy winter afternoons and of summer evening breezes. Am loving every bit of it. Count me in as one of the loyal readers from now on... :)

take care!
not_that_anon :)

1:12 am  
Blogger Lalita said...

not_that_anon- Hey, you don't know how much your comment chuffed and gratified me. Thanks a ton, and keep visiting. And, like I say to that Anon, please get a name. :-)

3:51 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what's in a name, as someone said!! :)


4:19 pm  
Blogger Lalita Mukherjea said...

not_that_anon- Aw, come on, isn't one Anon enough for this blog? And don't start quoting the Bard at me, too. :-)

5:34 pm  

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