Monday, July 27, 2020

Lacking SMQ

Ever since I heard of this mysterious thing called Social Quotient, I knew I never had it. Not that I really understood what the dratted thing meant but I was reasonably sure that an attitude of 'Leave me alone' did not qualify me for high marks in any ability that had 'social' associated with it.

I put that to being what people label as introverted. If that means someone who thinks he is happy in himself and other people can only cause a disturbance in his contentment, though they are needed in small doses. And, when this Social media thingy popped up, I jumped in joy. At last, I could take even those small doses at arms length.

And then I realized that I lacked even Social Media Quotient (SMQ). Worse than that Social Quotient in fact because there I could at least understand those with SQ though not in the least inclined to emulate them. Here...

I mean, take this meme.

"I think the semi-colon is totally unnecessary as punctuation. Convince me otherwise."

I do not know this chap from Adam, so I would hardly be bothered even if he were announcing dropping out of school. So why the heck would I want to convince him otherwise if he merely wanted to drop the semi-colon from his writing? It is not as though he was planning to drop my baby on its head or something.

I expect sepulchral silence from that group, most of whom shared the same ignorance of this chap, and know what happens? Hordes of people rush in to 'convince him otherwise' or offer excuses for why THEY use the semi-colon still. Clearly I lack SMQ for I was even unable to understand why the chap would get even one frigging reply except from those who want to try out their sarcasm.

But then I am the guy who still finds it odd that people will say, to the public on Facebook, things that they would feel free to say only to their closest friends when in person. I mean things like their heartbreaks, their grief about losing a loved one, the sort that I have always considered as private emotions. To me, it seems like standing in the middle of a market place and shrieking and sobbing loudly about breaking up with my lover or some such but what do I know? I lack SMQ after all.

But, whether lacking in SMQ or not, I will never forgive people for sharing pics of food during this lock-down. I mean, I sit here forced to eat only what my limited repertoire allows me to cook and these @#$% share pics of scrumptious food when I have no option except to drool all over my mobile bemoaning my deprivation.


Monday, July 20, 2020

The Art of Trivializing

The first time I came across the use of this great art of trivializing is when I was overawed by someone or the other's achievements and was waxing eloquent about it. And my friend comes out with, "So what? He also has to put on his trousers one leg at a time."

I mean, yeah, there was a moment there when I was nonplussed, wondering if the only achievement worth envying was the ability to hold the trousers and jump into it with both legs AND successfully. Sort of like being a gymnast-cum-contortionist trumps all your physicists and gurus and Mother Teresas and what not.

Then I thought, perhaps, he was saying that the chap was also an ordinary person like me and, if he could achieve it, I could aspire to do it as well. That was a wee bit uncomfortable, you know. I mean, it is much better to think that the other guy is some sort of avatar which is why he could do it. Making him out to be as ordinary as me...well, it sort of puts the onus on me, if you see what I mean, to be better or achieve what he has achieved or be as good as he is...not at all a pleasant feeling. Which is why, I suppose, people find it easier to acknowledge the achievements of someone they don't know than someone they do. It is much tougher to see someone as an avatar when you have seen him from the time he was peeing in his pants.

Then, I heaved a sigh of relief when the real meaning hit me. The chap was saying essentially that it is no big deal for that chap to achieve what he has done. He still has to put his trousers one leg at a time after all. Which, of course, is a great solace. So what if Zucky essentially runs the world along with Bezos and that lot? When it comes to trousers...

Come to think of it, this explains this latest trend in fantasy books. I mean, yeah, just because they are human, I'd have assumed that they have as much need of excretion as the rest of us. But, possibly to avoid setting those chaps up as role models, books now have them explicitly doing so. On the 'So what if he vanquishes dragons and puts his life on the line to save other people? He still needs to piss and shit' basis, to make them and their works seem ordinary. Otherwise, I see no reason why authors need to go into such great detail about the functioning of the bladder and the anus. It's not like people fantasize and drool over these details like they do over sex. Or, maybe they do, maybe I am behind the curve here or being a Boomer or some such. Maybe the latest thing in pornography is people squatting on their toilet seats grunting in ecstasy. (By the way, there is that thing, this 'Boomer' and all. Shows the importance of trivializing. Ever see such a proliferation of newer and newer words to build people up? It is always for being dismissive of people!)

So, all that I need in my life to rest in absolute contentment is the knowledge that Trump and Xi need to visit the toilet like us mango people! Then I can say, "So what if..." and go back to sleep.

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Passing Time

Ever since I quit working, I have been faced with one question which I have been unable to even understand, leave alone answer. I keep getting asked how I manage to pass time.

Strangely, in my working days, I seem to have acquired a wholly undeserved reputation of being a workaholic. When that is the farthest from who I really was. It was just that I hated working so much that I used to want to finish it off as soon as possible so that I could get on with the more important activity of leaning back in my seat, closing my eyes and thinking deep thoughts, accompanied by a snore or two in the process. And, as it unfortunately happens in offices, the moment people hear your melodious snores they feel the irresistible need to helpfully push more work on you, assuming that you are bored of having nothing to do. Bored? Me?

Well, that comes from that queer notion that a man without anything to do will find it difficult to pass time. Me, I never felt the need. I mean, why did I have to do anything to make time pass? The minutes ticked and the seconds tocked without bothering about whether I was helping them along or no, so what was the problem? I allowed Time to go its way and I went mine, so there never really was a problem to pass time for me.

Like I have had reason to say before, when there is work to be done, Time just flew by. I start the day thinking I will get around to it soon and, before I know it, it is night and I feel that tomorrow is a better time to do it than today. And so it went. Perhaps that's what Einstein called relativity. Time seems to move faster when you have work than when you do not. Maybe that's the reason why people keep asking me "What do you do to pass time?" As a euphemistic question about what work I postpone.

Anyway, I do have my pastimes. Since childhood, I have been addicted to reading so I did not have to search for something to do when I had no convenient office to thrust things on me.

But, yes, I never thought of it as Time hanging heavy on my hands and waiting for me to give it a push by reading. If I had, then reading would probably have palled on me. It is only as long as it was something that I wanted to do that it was fun.

After all, if you start feeling that you HAVE to do something, it starts seeming like work!

Monday, July 6, 2020

The need for ladders

You know, there is this strange problem with everything that we are told is priceless. Especially those things which you are supposed to aspire for. It is all fine to say you should try to be good, to be loving etc etc and that a content happiness is the goal worth achieving. But, drat it, the bleeding things are all so nebulous.

I mean, ever traveled in a featureless plain to a destination? You keep motoring on, with no sign whether you are actually progressing towards where you are heading of traveling around in circles or, like on a treadmill, running to stay in the same place. (Or, like me, huffing and puffing up the mountain trail asking the guide plaintively every fifteen minutes "How much farther?" Yes)

It would be nice to see a signpost every now and then saying "30 miles to Happiness", say, and then when the next one says "29 miles to Happiness" you know you are on your way. But whether you are chasing an improvement in empathy or in affection or, indeed, happiness, no such signposts seems to show up. And, whatever you think are signs of progress, you seem to be slipping down three steps for every one you take.

So, is it a wonder that you try to break down this quest for happiness into things that are measurable? Where you can actually work out if you are progressing? Like, say, money in the bank, ascent up the corporate ladder yada yada? Then you can say, "Ah! I was two steps up last year. I am three steps up now."

Feedback...that's the word I want. You need to perpetually get positive feedback about your progress, so that you keep at it. And ladders provide them. So, essentially, you shift over from a quest for happiness to a quest for success, and climb up the corporate ladder, a social ladder and what have you. Maybe the Armanis and Guccis provide pleasure of their own. Even if not, what they do is provide you tangible assurance about how far up the ladder you are...and, more importantly, enable you to show to others how far up you are without having to work it into your conversation.

Being good? Well, that's what gets broken down to rituals and modes of behavior. Have I visited the temple or church this often? Have I prayed or not every day? Do I eat this, drink that...I mean, easily measurable things, right? Being good or, even, just being is such a nebulous thing to measure. Easier by far to measure and control actions than thoughts and emotions. Not bad, as it goes, Karma Yoga and all (though that, incidentally, is more about how you mentally approach your life than just what you do), till it reaches a point where you decide that what you should measure your goodness by is in how many other people you have influenced or coerced into following your way.

Anyway, climb ladders if you will if that is what you think leads to happiness. And pray you never reach the end of it for as long as you live!