You're a captive audience to friends who want you to share the agony of their aches and pains, their spouse's experiments in the kitchen gone wrong, or partners' peccadillos, sighs Kishore Singh.
Illustration: Uttam Ghosh/Rediff.com
These days, you can hardly have a work-related conversation even with strangers without it being preceded by a personal historiography of ailing cousins, incontinent aunts, cloistered children, inconsiderate parents or suspicious neighbours and their woeful lives.
Remember the annoying colleague who took the insincerely asked 'How are you?' at face value to give you a litany of his woes -- well, he's been superseded by the WhatsApp colleague who responds to the same innocuous query with a full medical report of his urinary tract infection and swelling in the bladder, begging pardon for his slow typing because of the cannula inserted in his hand.
You're a captive audience to friends who want you to share the agony of their aches and pains, their spouse's experiments in the kitchen gone wrong, or partners' peccadillos.
From slow Internet speeds to the unavailability of personal stylists, every day's laundry list brings instances of what people resent most.
Youngsters whose work space in offices did not match the stretch of their arms have commandeered entire rooms for themselves.
Online classes for children have become an excuse to defer office schedules. 'I have to cook' is now a pretext for avoiding video meetings, making one wonder how cooking for the family was any different before the pandemic. Besides --doesn't everyone have a cook?
Having been subjected to so much information, I think it only fair to share it with you, dear reader.
Three associates have declined to join office conferences because they have piles and cannot sit for long.
One claims his inability to read office e-mails because he broke his reading glasses, and his wife -- or maybe his mother, not that anyone cares -- won't let him order another pair till this 'virus thing' is over (Ironically, he's recommended a list of books he's read recently.)
Several associates with 'asymptomatic COVID-19' have self-quarantined themselves without the foresight of moving their laptop from one bedroom to another, but seem to have no problem accessing Netflix on their absent laptops.
In more news: Anisha's sister-in-law 'deliberately' gave her a bad haircut; Rajshri, who lives in a condominium, is pinching all her neighbours' Amazon deliveries; Duttee's husband is putting his MBA to use as a bootlegger and soliciting orders (surely this is a good thing); Meena sent a dish of stale chicken to Sona-di's and now everyone has diarrhoea; Sheila is emotionally arm-twisting friends to enroll in her daughter's online dance classes even though she has no training in dance; ditto Megha's daughter for Zumba; ditto Madhvi's son for baking; ditto my wife for bonsai classes that I urge you all to join -- you won't learn anything but it'll get her off my back for a while.
Since I'm not one to share family gossip -- there is such a thing as privacy -- I haven't told anyone that my wife made me sew the buttons on her shirt this morning, or that I had to shred the boiled chicken for the dish my son claimed to have made last evening.
Or how I've been tasked with dusting the house daily because all other residents are allergic to it.
But then, I'm a team player when it comes to taking on others' tasks, and wish they would take responsibility for at least their own lives without airing the less savoury side of it with all the world.
Feature Presentation: Rajesh Alva/Rediff.com