There are two kinds of people: those who repeat themselves and those who repeat themselves.Hello good people, I’m back from the fictitious vacation to hell that the heartless editor sends me on, when I’m not able to submit this column on time. And each time I get back, she asks me to write within the deadline and… err … sensibly. Undue expectations, I tell you. If there were sensible things happening in my life, I wouldn’t need to seek calmness, would I? Ab jaise look at the new problem bugging my peace. These days I find myself getting increasingly irritated by the totas around me. Wait a sec you fellows with no character, did your mind go straight to the Punjabi slang ‘tota’ that apparently means a hot chick? Arrey kuchh sharam karo. I am referring to ‘tota’ – the beautiful green coloured bird …woh red beak wala that keeps repeating whatever he says… over and over again.
I have some chalte phirte totey in human form around me. Like there’s this new tenant Chaddha ji has rented his second floor to. This woman often comes over, the visits based solely on her assumption that I have nothing to do. “Mummy said it won’t make sense to buy non modular furniture. Vaise bhitwo floors chadhaana kitna tough hai,” she started one day. ‘Yeah, your mom’s right’, I replied. “Kyunki modular furniture works betternah, it’s convenient to shift,” she added. ‘Haan, absolutely,’ I answered. “So like mummy was clear that beta do as per your wish but I won’t let you buy non modular furniture,” she said. ‘If she won’t let you, how will you do as per your wish?’ — is what I wanted to ask, but all that I mumbled was ‘hmmm’. “Mummy was like, aaj kal everyone goes for modular only. It’s easy to separate out the parts while packing,” she said. At this point I found myself involuntarily moving towards her, like a possessed being, my hands itching to throttle her and pack her off to her modular-obsessed mummy.
Thankfully, better sense prevailed, as it always does when I feel this extreme urge to at least deliver a tight slap to these walking parrots. How many times can you say the same thing repeatedly, yaar? Note that I’m not referring here to those, especially elderly people, who sometimes tend to narrate their old stories again and again. I love listening to those, each time with renewed interest, because that’s their way of reliving their happy moments. It’s the habit of some to just incessantly keep making the same point ad nauseum is what gets my goat. So here’s a bit of advice if you happen to be stuck with a tota.
1 Understand the psyche of a repeater and try to figure out why they’re saying the same thing over and over. In all likelihood, it happens when they feel they’re not being heard. So it’s important to let them know, through the right body language and responses, that they have your attention.
2 Interject, interrupt, intervene — do any of these fancy words when it starts to get out of hand. Reassure the person that you’ve understood what they want to convey.
3 Learn to zone out. It’s an art to be able to mentally switch off an annoying conversation, while still giving signs, physically, that you are listening. Arm yourself with vague responses that fit all questions you may be asked. For instance, if I’m not really listening to someone who turns around and asks me “isn’t it?”, I mostly reply, ‘it depends’. Such life savers, these vague terms, and the ability to zone out. Mild intoxication helps. Okay, fine that was a joke. No it wasn’t.
4 Avoid such people, if there’s nothing you can do to stop wanting to physically hit them. It’ll be good for your blood pressure, and you won’t face any legal risks. Fake a call — on phone, of nature — anything, but get away from the situation the moment your hands start to itch.
5 Sit the tota down, and tell them politely that their habit causes irritation. No one wants to come across as a pest in conversations. If you gently tell them that people avoid talking to them because of this reason, you might actually contribute in them shedding a negative habit. Remember that between laughing on a person behind his back and telling him his weaknesses, it’s always the latter that makes you a better human being.
Sonal Kalra wants to know if it is indeed easier to shift modular furniture. Would modular furniture be easier to shift? Bolo. Easy hota hai? Has your mummy told you about modular furniture’s benefits while shifting?