Monday, October 29, 2007

It’s all about exclamations!!

Recently I read in a blog the nostalgia of sending letters the old fashioned way, drafting a beautiful hand written letter…and then buying the post cover…sticking the stamp, strolling to the nearby letter box and awaiting the reply after a few days…Although I embraced e-mails, chats etc without much fuzz there is something which was amiss.

Technology has made things too predictable. There is no asking the postman whether any letter has come. Letters come in virtual mailboxes and the postman has now reinvented into a faceless pop-up announcing, you have got mail. No bated wait during the ceremonious opening of the letter or passing on the letter until everyone in house has read it again and again. Even movie tickets and rail tickets come online these days and you can even select the seats.

There isn’t the surprise factor anymore. Now why am saying this is coz recently my friend and his wife visited the doctor to check the status of their upcoming baby. This couple had requested the doc right from the beginning not to reveal the sex of the child. You see a little surprise factor when the baby pops out.

The couple as usual goes for the routine check up and enquires about the lifecycle status.

But this dumb moron of a doctor did this…

Couple (in typical ‘never-been-there’ curiosity): “Doc…Hope our baby is doing fine...”
Doctor:” Of coz he is doing great...Don’t worry about him... Everything gonna be fine”

Couple (in a collective sigh!!!): “Doc…You just ruined the surprise of a lifetime”

As you see like Newton’s law every climax can have an anti-climax…Once trying to be the smart Alec I have utilized anti-“get surprised” factor to disastrous effect. It could have actually cost Dad his job…This big sarkari boss calls home one day when am alone at home. As a précis I have real prank-friendly cousins who are masters at voice makeovers...And this time I tried to play smarter with my Dad’s boss whom I assumed to be one of my prankster cousin’s.

Hello…May I speak to Mr.Mathew...This is Chettiar calling from Delhi”
“ number manasil irrikattei…sound maati patikaan nokendaa”
(Keep this trick in your sleeve…don’t try to bluff me by changing your voice)
Is it dubble 55 dubble 66…..”
“mm..pinee...englishil paranjal manasil avulla ennu vachu alle”
(Well…Do you think your talking in English can cover it up?)

Promptly he cuts the phone. The satisfaction of not being gagged by my cousin was short lived when Dad came home red faced that day. Apparently the big boss was malayalee enough to understand everything I said and this humble child did definitely create a lasting impression on him.

Talking further about surprises, there is huge percentage of people surviving on fake surprise syndrome...How many times you have heard…

Oh my Gaawd!!!...I can’t believe it!! “” people with wide-eyed expression of make-believe surprise.

The line is often repeated during parties when the guest neway is expected to bring gifts for the host…but the trouble is that the occasion demands you to get surprised. And the gifter may probably feel shattered if you don’t display that exaggerated version of surprise with multiple exclamation marks. It just reminds me of the surprise lunch at the office canteen where they duly notified us about the surprise one week in advance so that we are prepared to be surprised about the surprise lunch and that it doesn’t come as a rude surprise!! How thoughtful!!

Real surprises happen when you actually planned a trip or a movie with friends after strategically avoiding a few “pain-in-the-ass” types…Only to find them at the same place…

Surprise...surprise ...What a coincidence...We changed plans and there you are… don’t know how happy I am for you!!!”
This will be followed by series of high fives and some display of brotherhood…
Meanwhile in silent eye-eye language we say...”Dumb idiots here as well…#%&!”

There isn’t really much surprise these days unlike school when I used to surprise parents all the time…But my idea of surprising them with single figure grades did not go down well… I thought that the shock and awe method of attack would work wonders and probably my poor grades wouldn’t matter much.

Appa...You got to sign my Progress card”
*Appa’s eyes pop out in natural reaction to the display*
“You call this a PROGRESS!!!… :-O”
“Appa...Please do it fast I have to study chemistry between 5 and 5:30 as per my timetable”
(contingency plan 1)
“What is that 3 besides Math…”
“Appa…err…it means like being third in class”
“And what about that 100 just besides the three”
“Whaa...whaaat...You scored a three in Math!!!!”
“Appa...the Paper was very tough...Moreover they were asking about ‘sin’ and all which you know I won’t do neways”
“What is that little circle beside biology?”
“aah...well that is the smallest living unit...the symbolic representation of a cell...”

By this time I have run out of all ideas and feeling ashamed like a fully covered Rakhi Sawant.

“Wait…i see some comments out here…”need lot of improvement...parents are requested to meet the teachers”

ahh…That’s nothing is just that the teachers are trying to get the best out of me…they say that I have it in me to make it big. So that’s why they say that I can still improve…kind of motivating.. You know dad…and probably, they might just say something nasty about me when you come to school. But they just do that to relieve other parents who have bad performing kids...never take em seriously. I rock actually”

The geography teacher had taught me that most stars are millions of light years away and very difficult to see with the naked eye...But I knew they lied coz that evening after dinner, I saw them…millions and millions of em...ayyo…*thrash* ...ente Appa...Next time I ll score better…I promise..ayyo...bwwaahh..!!


silverine said...

lol!!! Good one!

Wrapped Christmas gifts are another example of unsurprises :)

starry said...

Good one Mathew. I think the recent trend of giving store gift cards robs the person of opening a birthday or christmas present.I think its pretty boring to go buy yourself a present.

amna said...

ashamed like a fully covered rakhi sawant? LOL :D

VIDYA said...

ambada, ee number manasil irikete, sound mati patikan nokanda! :-d

N A R I YA L C H U T N E Y said...

:-D , This was cool . To actually see the fake surprise syndrome you should go to any of the Page 3 parties :)

Abhi said...

I do feel what u've stated is true. But then i've had a fair share of surprises thru the e-mail route as well. Like when i cleared the interview for a job which i never hoped i'll get. The company had mailed me a scanned copy and i didn't look at my inbox till midnight(another surprise) and then called up all my friends!

Since it was a core job all were surprised to find that i could land a job like that :) All took me for a dumb engg :D

Mishmash ! said...

Cool one :) You re getting so good at this :))

"...trouble is that the occasion demands you to get surprised. "thats actually painful when you really dont want to disappoint the person who wants to give you a surprise. and yeah, the feeling when you get a snail mail through the postman is something really good and something which I am missing a lot too!

Atish said...


mathew said...

Yeah..but I don’t mind getting those. ;-P

@Starry Nights
That’s quite true..I don’t think any card comes vlose to a beautiful hand made card.



Well never been there..and never would like to be there!! ;-P

Well almost similar story here..I was having tea near the college Tea shop when my name was actually being called at placement unit!!!!!! ;-P

Thank you..yeah but I guess it is a courtesy which doesn’t harm ..lets get surprised!! ;-P

Thanks..and thanks for dropping by.

Still Searching said...

lol! nice post! many people actually hate surprises! I really dont know why though.. and yes, i totally remember the time in school when i used to wait for our matron to come in the house with letters and we would all go and check who got a letter... eveyr single day we would check mail... loved the anticipation of it all, the happy faces after receiving mail or disappointed faces when not got any mail! awww... completely relived the moment because of your post! thanks!! :))

Rejil Krishnan said...

adi poli... a real surprise post blending humour agn wth the requisite... :-) yes..i too miss my postman....
ashamed like a fully clothed rakhi sawant.. hahaha...

hope and love said...

lol..! nice post.
true writing real letters.. making your own greeting is special
but now a days i dont have even time to send emails or e-cards..!

Adorable Pancreas said...

I want to get letters! I remember my old post-chechi, used to personally deliver my letters to me! And I never had to go to the post office fo stamps, I'd give her the money and she'd post it.

I feel ancient, talking about the good ol' days. *sigh*

Usha said...

gud one! :D u had me grinning at the page all the while!

d post also reminded me of my last brush with a surprise act.. my ex-manager was handing me d appraisal letter with an enthusiastic smile and a "i've got some gud news for you.. u get a hike of X% (can almost be translated to peanuts)" n me giving one of my 'am i expected to act pleasantly surprised now?' looks.

Nanditha Prabhu said...

mathew! do you weave up such entertaining accounts!:)
as u said i wish I could give my kids the thrill of waiting for the post man and opening those hand written messages by hand.I do remember selling hand made greeting cards and saving up that hard earned money! It used to be so much fun.. but today it seems ages since it happened!looks like all have forgotten to write letters.
I loved the last part of your post..I could visualise you standing with your progress report before your dad and making up stories!:)

jac said...

matty !

Kalakki !!!

Dhanya said...

Yeh sending n getting handwritten letters is really fun.. especially if u r in a hostel.. every day we used to go to the notice board to check if there are any letters.. it's really nostalgic..

feeling ashamed like a fully covered Rakhi Sawant

crumbs said...

another big pain is to act all surprised and touched when ur friends in hostel walk in with a cake for ur "surprise mid-night party" on ur birthday...every year, for every single person in the hostel!

How do we know said...

umm... i love hte biology explantion best of all! you rock Mathew!

mathew said...

@Still searching
Infact I love surprises…but nowadays most happenings what the call surprises are not infact sur-prises... ;-P and I can picturise that scene…well a letter is worth waiting especially from our loved ones!!

Thanks bud.. ;-P

@Hope and Love
We are living in a funny world where we make things to save time...and finally we end up having no time for anything!! ;-P Even I miss the good old hand written letters.

@Adorable Pancreas
Yeah.there is a feeling of a decade/generation gone by when we think about old times. :-(

@Usha has happened several times for me...btw history as always proved that pay hike is never in sync with employee’s expectation.. ;-P

Infact the last part is the most sorry part..I knew from the beginning of the conversation what was com-ing.. ;-P

thanks.. ;-P

For me the hand written letter system was over by school…mobiles and telephones took over by col-lege time taking the sheen of the good old communication system..I often wonder whether people still do use those inland letters.. :-)

Hahahaha..i think for friends it is worth putting up the show anytime!! :-)

@How do we know
thanks a lot!! But it is not that lovely in reality.. ;-P

alakananda said...

totally identify with that phone goof up. i did that once. the caller was my dad-in-law's friend. i thot it was one of nephews acting smart and said "poda. ee number entaduthu venda'. need i say more:(