Saturday, August 18, 2012

COMMUNICATING WITH THE MARTIANS

(Disclaimer: This post needs to be taken in the spirit in which it is written – WITH A PINCH OF SALT!)

I am now increasingly becoming convinced that we women are a resident of another planet. I do not know how we live and deal with the Martians – meaning men. I mean communication is probably one of the biggest barriers. We say something and they understand something else.. And then we want something and they give us something else. Oh my God..!!!  The simplest of things seems to put the fear of god into them! Let me illustrate with a few examples

Last week I was trying desperately to call the husband while he was in Bangalore. Like most people from his planet his memory fails him when it comes to remembering simple things like  sending a message or calling to say that he has reached his destination. When I had not heard from him even after about two hours from  the time his flight is supposed to have landed, I decided to call him. The phone rang and rang….! No answer. I sent him a message “Hope you have reached safely”. No response!  Out of sheer desperation I sent him another text which read like this “????” Promptly came the response “ In a meeting. Can’t talk”.  I messaged back “!!!” Received yet another response “ What ?”. Response from my end “ooooh”

This time I actually received a call “Whats up?” he asked in a whisper. Now wasn’t he in a meeting and couldn’t take calls? “ I came out to talk ” he said urgently. Yes, but wasn’t that an important meeting where he could not take calls? “But tell me what is it?” he asked impatiently. So I did– “Nothing” Seriously, was there any need to resort to expletives ? I mean my question had been answered- he had reached his destination! And they say we women are unpredictable and difficult to understand!!!

While there are men who find simple messages difficult to comprehend there are men who do not even understand  something they see in front of their eyes. Take this example- a friend of mine was travelling to a  project site in a village with a male colleague. She asked the driver to stop near a medical shop to buy a critical  ”female requirement”. As she returned to the vehicle with her purchase wrapped up in a newspaper her colleague commented in astonishment “My God! So many medicines!”. To say that she was irritated would be an understatement. She decided to clear his misconception in the best  way possible – by unwrapping the parcel and showing him what it contained! I think this martian will probably never again make any comments about medical purchases !

Then, there is a Martian in my office who is in charge of procurement and administration to whom I had been repeatedly making requests about installing a dustbin inside the ladies toilet. He raised a lot of objections initially about why we women needed something “even inside the toilet” when there were dustbins in everybody’s cabins . Finally he relented and got us one – without a lid ! His explanation – “we have placed orders with a wholesaler for all dustbins in the office and this is part of that consignment. You have got your dustbin now what is the problem” So, we decided he needed to know exactly what the problem was- I gave him a detailed explanation about the need for a dustbin with a lid inside the ladies toilet. A lesson he has obviously not forgotten- his embarrassment a definite indication!
 
The discomfort that Martians feel while in a social situation makes one wonder if it is a torture method used in their planet. They grumble, fidget and in general convey their complete unease. Their logic – conversations without a purpose is a waste of time! Take the example of a seventy two year old Martian- my father. One can never be sure when he would disconnect a call while we are talking to him. He does that every time the telephone conversation moves out of the question- answer/ information sharing mode!

The spouse has similar problems albeit the symptoms are different. He prefers funerals to weddings simply because at funerals people are there for a purpose – to express their condolence and leave. They don’t “hang around talking aimlessly” he complains. His biggest nightmare- being caught in a situation with me where we run into some acquaintances and I start a conversation with them! The unease I guess comes from his being unprepared to deal with the generic nature of the talk and the expectation from him having to contribute to it. So most often he stands there like a brooding presence and sometimes in his more tolerant moments like an obedient sheep while I end up doing most of the talking - all the time conveying  very wrong impressions about himself.

I don’t know what conditions exist on that planet that makes them so different!!! I sometimes wonder whether a “How to” book written on the Martians for benefit of  the residents of Venus might help… ! I am seriously considering authoring one – any inputs from fellow Venetians are  most  welcome!

15 comments:

Cloud Nine said...

Hahaha...We Venetians can NEVER make them understand our language or plight,Meera. They rightfully belong there. We must be making more Curiosities to lodge them in their own planet;) As for the issue of dustbin with lid...i can remember an incident where a vigilance official had the 'luck' of peering straight into one such female 'special requirement' when he insisted on checking my colleague's handbag:P Which he must regret all through his life;)))

PURN!MA said...

That was hilarious!!!! And I agree, what we say and how they interpret it is totally different. A small comment will be taken to heart and a big complaint is not even heard properly!

Even my dad disconnects a call mid conversation much to my mom's irritation! :D when my brother does that to my sil she calls him again to complete the convo. And when my man does it to me, I do the same thing to him next time he calls me. ;)

jayadevm said...

Hi Meera,

Latest update for you - it may be disappointing. Men are not from Mars. The pictures sent back to Earth by NASA's Rover "Curiosity" sent back pictures from the Martian surface indicates that there is no sign of Sports, Beer or Porn there. :)

But I know (I won't say "understand" - I am a Martian, after all) your concern completely because I hear such stuff from the Venusian living in my house.

I guess there is need for some creature from a 3rd (neutral) planet to mediate; till then things will remain noisy.

I enjoyed reading your article even if I am not in agreement with the content. :)))))

Rhapsody B. said...

Blessings....
By all means author one!
The truth is we have to learn each other's language because we do have a different way of communicating though we want the same things albeit our way of living it out is at polar opposite sides of the planet.

As a solution i like to use a quote Montel Williams used when he had his show, "listen without defending and speak without offending." if we (both men and women) adhere to this rule we will come a long way to understanding each other.

stay blessed.

anilkurup said...

“Why are women... so much more interesting to men than men are to women?”Virginia Woolf.
I think your first episode ( with your husband) tells amply on this.

“Here's all you have to know about men and women: women are crazy, men are stupid. And the main reason women are crazy is that men are stupid.”
― George Carlin

The rest of the stories illustrate this point.

dr.antony said...

I liked it! being a Martian !

Bikramjit said...

reminded me men are from mars and ladies from venus.. he he he :)

and even english does not help :) we need to come up with another language

Bikram's

Meera Sundararajan said...

@ Cloud Nine- LOL!! When will the Martians learn to leave women's handbags alone? They do it as youngsters in colleges and it appears from your response that the habit does not leave them even when they are discharging their official duties!!!

@ Purnima- yes your Martians are obviously "Pure bred" and true to type. For starters I guess there should be some classes conducted for them on telephone etiquette

Meera Sundararajan said...

@ Jayadev M - welcome to my blog. I disagree with you about the lack of evidence on planet mars - I have posted a picture as evidence :P I think the creature from a third planet will resign from the assignment and run- it would be too confusing to study both species together!

Meera Sundararajan said...

@ Anil- as a resident of Venus I will take the Martian curiosity as a compliment. I guess craziness is any day better than stupidity - he! he!

Meera Sundararajan said...

@ Bikram- English will not suffice you need to learn the Venetian language

@ Dr. Antony glad you like the post

@ Rhapsody Phoenix- I think you hit the nail on the head - listen without defending and speak without offending

Jack said...

Meera,

If both could be on the same frequency or wave length, would the life not be so dull? So do let the men be men and women be women. However I do agree that some martians are really dumb like the ones who spoke about medicines or dustbins. And informing of safe arrival is a must for both, men or women.

Take care

Irfanuddin said...

hahaaaa...can imagine the color of his face when your wise friend had unwrapped that parcel....and looking ahead to that book you in near future....
well penned Meera ji..:)

Gayu said...

Sorry Meera, for I was unable to comment on your previous posts, though I read them and loved each of those.
This post is simple awesome:) I am smiling as i type this comment.

I have to agree with Jack, the things that annoy us about men are the same things which at times make tensed situations lighter. So let the men be men;P
Even my Dad does the same, Once I told him to hold the phone, as i was crossing the street and he immediately cut the line.
He does taht many a times.
Even my hubby, I at times send him a nice message, expecting a nice reply...but the typical man that he is, he will reply in one word or just a plain "k".

Strange these men are :P

UB said...

Good one Meera. I have been guilty of the typical Martian syndrome myself but the noble soul that you know I am, I try to flex my style once in a while and surprise the Venus in my life. But guess what? When my replies are verbose or I go that extra light year to flex my style the response is "What happened today? What did you do? You are guilty of something and so you are being extra nice to me?" Aaaargggh :) The same effort has different effects on other Venuses though. They sometimes go to the length of telling me that I am the cutest Martian ever made :P. Call it blowing my own cybernetic implant, but just wanted to share my thoughts...

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