Saturday, January 23, 2010

Joong-joong: And the way couples are...

Joong-joong: A couple's tendency to break into an tangential conversation, indifferent to the context or situation, which can last from a couple of seconds to an intense minute. It is a onomatopoeic word inspired from clanking of two giant metal plates. As the mind wanders to escape a couple's twitter, this is the visual that often fills one's thoughts.

Currently the word does not have a present continuous form like 'joong-joonging'. But we are working on it.

Couples joong-joong all the time. They joong-joong when they are out for dinner with friends. They joong-joong about dinner. They joong-joong about ordering dinner. You get the drift... The details couples dwelve into while doing joong-joong are quite often irrelevant to the others. But for some reason the couple will find it imperative to resolve it right then. This behaviour has amused me for a while now. Here is my theory on the Top 3 reasons for it. Couples reading this can help me with the other causes. Other readers can empathize.

Couples feel that they should have one unified version of any shared experience
'And then we had to wait for a long time for the taxi.'
'No it didn't take that long!'
'Cmon, it was almost 20 minutes.'
'Nooo... Maximum 15 minutes.'

A typical joong-joong example. In this case the broader incident could have been a party they attended, or them sharing details of an elaborate trip. Couples conveniently lose track of the main topic. Normal single people, or 'cool' couples will be happy to have their own version of an experience in a group. But couples publicly chisel each other's opinion till they both have identical thoughts.

Couple feel taking light-hearted jabs at each other brings wholesome entertainment to others
(This is also linked to an independent problem of humour disconnect. What couples jointly feel is funny is usually quite dull to others.)

When couples make fun of each other, it's hard to guess whether they are loving it or it's rooted in layers of discontent. As a simple rule I never interfere in such matters. You never know what your statement can spark.

'Can you please increase the AirCon temperature? I am feeling cold.'
'You know she can't even stand 25'C? What kind of a Delhite are you Pooja?'
'Oh ya? You know he claims he likes cold and then he will carry a jacket to the theatres.'
'Well that helps me to sleep. She takes me along to such bad movies!'
'Whose idea was it to see A Christmas Carol ?? You know he actually liked it?'
'What about you Arvind, did you like it or not?'

'Amm...I think I may not have seen the movie. I am not sure....'

Couples feel that food preferences, behaviour patterns and other irrelevant foibles are matters to be discussed in the open
Normal people make definitive statements about themselves "You know I love Tandoori Chicken". Couples happily make statements about the other person, which quickly degenerates into a drab exchange, or joong-joong.

'You know she really hates chicken.'
'When did I say that? Of course I love chicken.'
'We were at Loy Kee yesterday, and you said that you hated the chicken.'
'Yes. But that chicken was really bad. And the waiter was so rude...'
'You are also quite rude with waiters...'
'No I am not...'


'You know he really loves chicken.'
'Yes you get the best chicken at Loy Kee.'
'No. It's not the best....'
'Of course after eating it he burps for at least 2-3 hours.'
As much as you like your couple friends, you can't really tell them that you have the least interest in his/her poultry gas situation.

This joong-joong stage in a couple's life lasts for a while. Some couples successfully proceed to stage2 and get married. They then dutifully move to stage 3 - Kids. After stage 3, joong-joong is no longer the main problem. Instead of bearing with boring exchanges between the parents, now their friends have to put up with monologues about their lovely kids.

'Pinky really likes Strawberry Milk. I say Pinky do you want milky-milk? And she says 'No mommy, I like Stobery Milk...'

That's when you need to look for new friends.
Beware of joong-joong.

p.s - When a sample couple read this article, they joong-joonged for while on whether the article was humorous. They settled on the phrase 'kind of funny' and resumed normal conversation. Case in point.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Generic Indian Guy

December 10th 2009

Dear Generic Indian guy,

I saw you today for the first time at the bus stop. It bothered me yet again that I have so many replicas in this world. We aren't that different you know - Both around the age of 25, slaves to our laptops, mildly satisfied with life, at the start of a long, loathsome journey called a career which will end with either one's own demise or that of capitalism. Good luck with all that.

December 15th 2009

Dear Generic Indian Guy,

I noticed you in greater detail today. Yes as we made eye contact, I could have said Hi. But I didn't. I have my reasons for that, which I shall confess here at a later stage. By your looks you remind me a few friends of mine. An ambitious centre partioned hair plastered down with conservative dollops of oil. An apologetic belly nudging its way out of the safe perimeter of the belt. A laptop bag strapped a little too high to look classy. Eyes glazed lost in thoughts of some inconsequential matter in the larger scheme of things. A constant uncertainity on whether you look better with or without a stubble....

December 18th 2009

Damn it Generic Indian Guy, you work in the same company! We even shared the same lift. And here I was having fun having conversations on this 'Generic Indian Guy' theory. What if we end up working together? How will I ever broach this subject of you being the object of my obtuse humour piece?

December 24th 2009

Dear GIG,

I see you too are dressed casually today to pay some awesome homage to Jebus. After an uneventful day, we both are likely to land up for the movie 3 Idiots at the same theatre for the same show. That'll be another spot where we can conveniently ignore each other. But this can't go on forever.

....So I see you brought your bunch of generic friends to the show. One I assume laughed at all the jokes, thought Kareena looked boring with the glasses and related long tedious stories later on how in college he was less like Chatur and more like Rancho; The other friend I guess was busy SMSing his girlfriend and does not participate in good conversations with you anymore. The third one has an apologetic collection of Metallica and Pink Floyd on his laptop, swears by yesteryear hits like 'Andaz Apna Apna' and generally goes home during Diwali.....

December 31st 2009

Dear GIG,

I saw you again at the bus stop today. Wish you a Happy New Year. I know it was rude of me, right at the brink of a long lazy New Year's weekend, to not even smile at you. It's awful that we haven't begun to talk. We could become good friends you know. But greeting you goes against my principles for life beyond 25. It's not that you are not different. It's just that you are not. It takes an immense amount of effort to get to know new people. It's even harder to alter one's life for them. For you I'd have to change my weekend routine, of places to eat, of stuff to do to fit you in. And the boring conversations...Oh God...What if you turn out to be immensely boring...Every morning at the bus stop, what's the highlight going to be ? Cricket?

January 15th 2010

Dear GIG,

I think it's time. I am filled with guilt. Tomorrow, this week, or at least within this month I shall greet you. Over the last month, I may have developed a slight prejudice about you without having some basis. Who knows, your music collection may extend beyond Pink Flyod. In the For/Against Shahrukh Khan split of 80:20, you may lie on the good side. If after all the effort, you do turn out to be a wrong decision for my life, I wouldn't worry about it too much. In the bigger scheme of things, we are just a bunch of Generic Indians riding on a bus. Big deal.