in situ: part 3

The in situ series of posts is excerpts from an online conversation I had with two friends who are readers of my private blog. These posts may best be read serially, and with some leisure time at hand. Links to the previous and following posts are at the end of each post.

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You know, it’s Bombay… getting away is easy; there are places to get away to. I am confined to my home for the most part. I go out for my Deutsch class two hours in the evening, including travel time. I feel uneasy thinking how very few great face-to-face conversations I’ve had.

Worse, my sister, all of 15 years, might not have had any except the ones with me. And worst, she doesn’t seem to be bothered about it. She doesn’t know what she’s missing because she never had it.

When there is no way to talk, I grant the phone a chance and yes, one can have good conversations using phones. But, there is a sense of deceit in phones, in any conversation where you do not see everything. There is a sense of something being kept from you… the medium isn’t honest, at least not completely honest.

Anything that isn’t completely honest means that you never get the whole picture. What do you do? You fill the gaps in communication with assumptions. Maybe the person on the other end is cold, angry, hurt, bored. There is no real way of telling. Asking that person straight away is the way most guaranteed to fail.

With assumptions come wrongly assumed meanings and therefore wrong judgements based on those meanings. Wrong judgements, wrong replies, wrong conversation. The entire process of communication is derailed.

And while we might walk away from it feeling we had a great talk, it is only because we don’t know (maybe don’t want to know) what that same talk would’ve been in person. Talking online/on the phone is like online/phone sex… It’s going to be pleasurable, yes… but never like the real thing, you never climax.

I could’ve said what I just said so much better if I’d spoken it in person.

Part 1. Part 2.

Part 4. Part 5.

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