Punctuating thoughts

I was just reading an office mail that was not only missing essential punctuation, it also had the sender sign off his name with a small letter. Personally, I cannot take such mails seriously. It’s got nothing to do with being a grammar Nazi, but the very fact that you did not bother to read through your mail before sending it and realise that thanks to the missing comma, it actually fails to convey your message to a large extent, makes me feel that you don’t care if anyone takes it seriously. Hence, I didn’t.

I was always judgmental about how people wrote, especially when it came to spelling errors or incorrect use of articles, but I have softened over time. I realise that when you are typing fast, and typing a lot, the chances of missing a word here or there, is a definite possibility. It might have also had to do with the fact that I find myself finding errors in my own writing, most of which are clearly typos. Spelling errors, I still find difficult to digest because it doesn’t take much to see that brilliant red line under what you have written, and correct it. But incorrect or no punctuation? I hate it.

The thing is, most people who miss it out, speak relatively well. But when they put what they want on to the page, they stop bothering about how it would sound. Unfortunately, when I read in my head, I read like the writer is actually speaking to me. So if Dennis says –

‘Really appreciate the report going out on time. Thanks Dennis.’

I will think Dennis is thanking another imaginary Dennis, and not me. Because Dennis did not bother to add a comma between Thanks and his name. And this will make me very annoyed with Dennis.

Then about the paragraph formation. Why does every line have to start in a new line like we are doing bullets for a news reading session? And if it is, indeed bullet points, why is there nothing explaining what is about to follow? Sample this –

Have we completed the report?

Do you think there is an opportunity to make it more visually appealing?

Can you send over some talking points around it?

Let’s talk tomorrow.

I think that’s a whole lot of space for what could have been fit in two lines. And quite frankly, I have been generous while adding the question marks here, because most of the times, one is supposed to add their own end of line punctuation, based on your conclusions about what the sentence is expected to convey.  Because, who has time to click shift+? to get that little thing out there?

And this deciphering, it is still possible in the above example, but now, look at this.

There are reports to be run over the weekend who is doing them

Now what do you make of the above? Ok, the sane mind would say –

There are reports to be run over the weekend (conclusive statement). Who is doing them? (question)

But trust me, the actual point being made was –

Are there reports to be run over the weekend? (question) If yes, who is doing them? (if, then question).

And this gets my goat. First of all, what is with the convenient switching of ‘Are’ and ‘There’. How tough is it? There are – means you are sure. Are there – means you are asking. Just because while speaking you (wrongly) say – There are reports due this weekend? – with a lilt at the end which confirms that it is indeed a question, doesn’t mean you write it too. And that too, you forget symbolizing the lilt with the little question mark! Why?

Not cool, because the reader, in this case me, will first stress about there being reports to run over weekend (which I was not aware of, and just assumed there were,  because you said there are) and then look for who is doing them (a wasteful exercise because there are no reports). Like I said, very, very annoying.

What is even more fun is that I have actually pointed this out to folks, hoping to make them a little attention to what they are writing. And most often, I have been responded to with a – Ah, who bothers about such little things! We don’t have time to proof read each mail’. Or even worse, ‘Come on, we are Financial analysts, not English teachers’. And so, I have pretty much given up. And instead think of these as fun brain teasers, where I try to beat my own record in the time I spend to understand mails, because yay, puzzle!

Because, is there a point in trying to convince others that how they sound in writing matters, just as much as how they sound while speaking does? (question) Especially when they really don’t care? ( additional question)

Nope, there isn’t. (conclusive statement)

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October Monday*

It has not been a very happy beginning to my week, because no week that starts with me having an episode with my car can be happy. Before one jumps to conclusions that I seem to have way too many episodes with my car, going by the fact that I wrote about one just 2 posts ago, let me assure you, it isn’t the episodes that frequent, it is the damn posting that is infrequent. Because I am a bloody careful driver – almost a worried one in fact – and I do not f**king break rules. So when these episodes happen to me, I am very, very pissed.

Back to my episode metric, I have been driving for a year and 5 months now, and I have had three situations. 1) When I scraped my car on a pillar inside my office parking because I over estimated the space between said pillar and an idiotically parked cab 2) When the stupid bus driver smashed my mirror and blamed me for scratching his bus and 3) Today, when a cab squeezing in through my right made me swerve nervously and bang into a cab on my left (my fault, I know).

But today was exceptionally annoying because, I kinda was at fault – which annoys me more somehow – and add to that, while the cab guy left after mouthing a few abuses (the damage was some paint from my bumper transferred to this door), another guy in another car, who had no business whatsoever and was just bloody audience, started gesticulating towards me to pull over! Ofcourse I didn’t and ofcourse I was put off and quite obviously, in conclusion, today sucks.

Well, that’s just the beginning of the week, and I assume I should just gear up for all that’s coming up. The long Diwali break (for those who took it, we had a day off exactly) is over, which means that there a lot of folks on the floor sending mails about sweets, and that is seriously hard to resist. I am however, in control, and have stuck to just two pieces, one kaju katli and one mango barfi. I totally love kaju barfi though it is amazing how they can pack so much richness and calories in that tiny sweet. Yum. There are also excited wishes of ‘Belated’ Happy Diwalis floating around quite a bit.

Which brings to back to a very recent observation about loud people. I mean the literal loud, screaming at the top of their voices kind. I always had a theory that maybe they were hard of hearing hence they raise their voices to ensure they can be heard because they themselves can’t. You know, like the older generation which still believes in screaming into the phone when the signal is poor like that would fix everything. But no, that doesn’t seem to be the case because I have come across this category of folks, who are loud and proud (of it). Like, they create noise in general and then create more noise celebrating their extraordinary ability to create said noise. And the whole world is gifted noise and I am gifted a migraine.

Which also makes me want to give a special mention to people who really believe that they can do no wrong. No one wants to be wrong, I agree, I hate it myself, but unfortunately, there are times when you just are wrong. And maybe you didn’t know it then. But when you do, why is it difficult to accept the mistake and move on? Seriously. If I were to choose between someone who makes 10 mistakes a minute but accepts them, and one who makes 1 mistake a minute but refuses to, I would choose the first in a blink. And yes, I would kick myself for it if 10-mistakes-a-minute continues it in future, maybe even kick him, but I would still, never regret giving him a chance over the latter. Because, it is just, more, annoying. Period.

Anyway, all this extra dose of happiness in one day had me so overwhelmed that I poured it out in this post, though it hasn’t all been so bad. As in, it’s been good, and bad, and good again, the typical cycle of things. But I will restrict to this for now, and write about brighter, more beautiful aspects of my very happening life in a different post. Hopefully on a day that doesn’t start like this.

Till then, wish well for me. Thank you.

*Yes, we are accepting awards for pathetic titles now.

7/12

These are bad times. Bad-bad times. I seem to be falling into an endless abyss of problems with a monetary impact. Like I am not sure if I mentioned this, but I damaged my pretty iPhone’s screen yet again, a couple of months ago. Mind it, it is still not 2 years old. So yes, after spending money on getting a fake screen and using it for 8 months, I damaged it yet again – this time because Zo sat on it (true story). So it didn’t break, but something went wrong and it had a permanent old Doordarshan style flickering going on, till I replaced it, yet again.

Only, now, the battery said goodbye. The phone would randomly switch off, and after a while it became a landline, by which I mean it had to be continuously kept on charge, which pretty much destroys the purpose of a ‘mobile’ phone I think. So I decided that I had enough of it and shifted my sim to a standard dual sim phone my company provides. So much for style.

Then, a bus hit my car. Or as the driver suggested – my car hit and scratched the bus. I like this story a lot. I have tiny i10 that I drive with utmost care (and worry) and don’t even try to squeeze into gaps a Fortuner would have just passed through. One such day as I was inching through the mess that is the traffic inside my office area, a large – strike that – a ginormous Volvo bus that was next to me, slowly sidled to it’s right, and hit my rear view mirror, which got flattened to the other side, with the mirror dangling off a wire. But here’s the thing. While I am a very cautious driver, I am also a very angry one. So I showed my temper through vigorous honking, which is saying something, because I avoid honking at all costs.

Now the bus driver, I presume, got all defensive at my obvious distraught, and kept going till we both were out of the jam. Here, he stopped the bus in the middle of the road (horizontally, blocking all traffic), got off, and came to me and said – ‘Aapki gadi ne meri bus ko scratch kar diya’. I gaped at him for a minute, the mirror still dangling, until my UP upbringing came to fore and I rolled down the windows and well, started shouting at him about the ridiculousness of the claim. By this time, people had gathered around because – 1) Woman driver 2)  The bus had blocked their path. And for one of the two reasons started supporting me vociferously.  In fact, at one point, amidst all the shouting a guy told me to ‘Calm down, I’m handling this right?’ , much to my indignation, because it was my car and I deserved the road rage. Anyhow, nothing came of all this and we all eventually went home and now my mirror is in place, held by a paper clip and some tape. Sad.

Then, last week, our Fridge conked off. This is right when we are planning to move out anyway and have tonnes of expenses coming up. But then you can’t live without a fridge, and we are planning to let out this place, which meant we had to get another fridge. And we did. But this was yet another blow. And just when we were getting cooling back into our lives with the fridge, my car’s AC stopped functioning, as if to balance it out.

Then on Saturday, The Dude got it all fixed up, and we drove merrily to my parent’s place, and parked the car, and for no reason, some idiot visitor from some other house bumped into my car from behind and BROKE the number plate into half. I mean seriously. Is there no end to this drama? So yes, I am driving with half a number plate that I plan to stick with Feviquik – and pray it works.

And in between all this, all our expensive online purchases started getting jinxed too. First it was a Marshall speaker the Dude had been eyeing for very long. It arrived, we set it up and all was hunky dory till the next morning when it just wouldn’t switch on. Huh? What? Ofcourse we had to return it. Then we ordered an Amazon Fire Stick, which also, seriously, stopped working after day 2. By this time I had given up. And while they did send a replacement for the latter, I am extremely worried about things in general. We even tried ignoring all this spate of bad luck and re-ordered the speaker from another site, which did not move from ‘processing’ to ‘shipped’ for a week, after which we finally cancelled it.

Then, there are multiple (and I mean multiple) issues with the house as we get it done. I mean, who knew it was so much work right? And all this just when I had started feeling very ‘in control’.  But turns out, there is no such state, in reality. So all I can do is, cross my fingers, hope for things to get better, and sip on this interesting Ayurvedic Tea from Tata tea – and repeat to myself all of whatsapp’s most cliched messages. Keep Calm. Take one day at a time. This too shall pass. Life’s what happens when you are busy making other plans.

Or my personal favorite, Screw this.