Have I told you about my recent trip to India? Did I tell you about the family wedding I attended? And how about all distant relatives I got to meet? Do you have any idea how many new acquaintances one makes at an Indian wedding? How many of them do you think last more than a few minutes? Does it feel like I’m asking too many questions? Good. Now you’re ready to hear the rest of the story.
I realized a few days ago that we’re all taught a highly standardized conversation technique since childhood: How’re you? How’s your family? How’re things in your town? It’s always the same progression, from the person to the village/state/country/planet, depending on who you meet and greet. And seldom any useful questions.
Most times, the conversation starts off with the typical inquiries and then suddenly flies off into a weird-ass tangent. During times like these I would really, really like to follow such idiotic questions with equally charming answers.
Old relative: How’s your wife?
Me: She’s doing fine.
Old relative: How long have you two been married?
Me: We had our second anniversary recently.
Old relative: How come no kids yet?
Actually, I was waiting all these years for you to pop that question. Wait right here and I’ll be back in a sec with triplets!!
Random acquaintance: Where do you stay in the US?
Me: Just outside Washington, DC.
Random acquaintance: So how about that Tri-Valley University, huh? What’s the solution to that situation?
What awesome deduction, genius! Since I live only a few thousand miles away, I must obviously possess the expertise on all political issues. Why don’t YOU share your wise thoughts on how to resolve the Telangana issue and put the country out of its misery?
Uncle: How long has it been since you went abroad?
Me: Almost 2 years now.
Uncle: So what’s the plan? Coming back eventually or not?
Of course, it all depends. Which country are you fleeing to?
God-knows-who: How are you? You look just like your father.
Me: Fine. Thanks.
God-knows-who: Do you recognize me?
You mean from that one time we met when I was 3 years old? Why yes, of course, baldy!
Colleague: How was your trip? Did you notice a lot of changes in India?
Yep. They’re all celebrating every day that you’re not around any more.
Boss: I came by your desk twice and you weren’t there. Did you go to the bathroom?
No, I went to blow my nose. Did you want to come and watch?