The phone, supported by my hand, was stuck to my ear. A monologue had been going on for about half an hour. The worst part was I had to pepper the conversation with appropriate responses at appropriate moments. I took the phone away from my ear and the volume decreased. I heaved a sigh of relief. But then before the one at the other end could make out that I was missing, I quickly brought the phone closer. I managed to make out a few syllables and grunted in response. The caller was no less smart. She wouldn’t continue unless she received a confirmation of the fact that I was clued in on the conversation. I had to employ my greatest powers of concentration and multitasking, and ultimately succeeded in giving myself a headache. By the time the caller had her fill and finally took pity on the poor being that is me, I was reeling under conversational duress, if that is even a term. The #impact of it was such that my mind was heavy with heaven knew what. I felt as if I was undergoing lobotomy. Although I have never had to undergo any such procedure (thankfully!) I assume the feelings would be quite similar, like that of a drill boring into your brain, deactivating and weakening your gray cells.
Is it that easy to disarm people and spoil their ability to think and reason? Is all that is required is concentrated babble or focused balderdash? In that case, we have much to fear from long-winded calls, blaring loudspeakers, cacophonous music, uproarious gatherings, tooting horns and whatever comes within the perimeters of noise pollution. That call I had just been liberated from was not at all unfriendly; on the contrary, my dear unassuming guileless friend was merely recounting her experiences of the day before. However, my arrant disinterest in her affairs sort of contributed to an effect that amounted to psychological stress. That one call had managed to ravel my nerves and entangle the wires of my sanity, thus manifesting itself in a splitting headache and a lasting allergy to any long conversation, ( by long conversation, I mean one that is a conversation only by name and is actually a monologue gift wrapped in a paper with conversation written all over it )
It is like a vicious circle, someone bores and jars you with their constant nattering and your cells respond to the stimulus by throwing a similar verbal missile at someone else, thus continuing the chain of conversational torment. I was actually pretty shaken by the #impact that a phone call with a good friend had had on me. Is it the electronic equipment that’s worsening things or would a face-to-face conversation have the same effect? But I remember having two-hour conversations with my best pals and enjoying every minute of it, hoping for the call to never end. However, this call was not just a wake-up call but a wake-up-and-bang-your-head-on-the-wall call. I realized it was so because I didn’t get to say anything on the phone. She talked and talked and I listened. And that is not what a conversation is about. It is about listening to the other person as well. The word conversation begins with ‘con’ or together. Unless we listen to the other person, a conversation will easily turn into a drilling grueling soliloquy like a lecture except the former will have nothing to offer in the form of value or comfort. I decided then and there to listen to the person I talk to before I speak, instead of waiting for him/her to finish so I can start speaking. After all, we have been blessed with two ears and one mouth for some reason. I suddenly had new-found respect for the ones who work at customer care centres and BPOs. Those guys must be ready to kill at the drop of a syllable.