Thak gaye hain, pak gaye hain!
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Thak gaye hain, pak gaye hain!

That is such a cheesy headline. No? Well, that’s precisely how some people are. Let’s launch an attack on all the pakaau people in this world.

health and fitness Updated: Dec 11, 2011 01:04 IST
Hindustan Times

Did you know that India has the largest concentration of irritating people in this world? No, seriously. I’m quite sure if someone were to do this research, we would be right up there. One, there are human beings everywhere. And two, they all seem to want to talk. Chalo even that may still be acceptable, but there's something in those talks that makes sanity seem like a big virtue.

See, after your heart tugging response to last week’s column about homosexuality, I was all set to take up yet another thought provoking, serious topic this week. Between you and me, I thought this may just be the right opportunity to change my image from a weirdo joker to that of a serious columnist. But no, people of this nation wouldn’t let that happen.

No sooner did I sit to write intelligent, intellectual stuff, the king of boring times dropped in. My friendly neighbour Chaddha ji. My noteworthy achievements in the next forty-five minutes include managing to say ‘yes’ twice and uttering ‘hmmm’ full three times. Over a long winding account of how cumbersome it is to get oneself registered for the Unique Identification Card (UID) being issued by the government, He.Ate.My.Brain Up. All of it.

Pardon me but after this unsolicited verbal onslaught, I’ve deferred the idea of writing on that serious topic. Instead I’m dedicating this column to all the victims of a ‘PP’ attack. Pakaau Person. In other words, one who specializes in ensuring that the more boring a topic is, the longer it is discussed for.

I know so many PPs. They are mostly in love with the sound of their own voice, and possess a nauseating amount of knowledge on whatever bad is happening in the world — theirs and ours. Don’t misconstrue that I have a problem with people discussing topical, serious issues — those are what polite, social conversation actually ought to be made of.

I just have a problem with how the PPs are generally not sensitive at all to any signal that the other person has had enough of a topic and does not wish to engage in it till eternity. What if apocalypse strikes? I don’t want to die discussing registration of UID cards with Chaddha ji. I have stuff to do yaar. I’m sure so do you.

So, in the larger interest of mankind, I’m giving you my very own, secret wriggle-out-of-a-PP’s-attack tips. After today I’ll have to think of some new ones for myself, but what the heck. Anything for you.

1 Emit ‘disinterested’ signals: Warning: This works on amateur PPs, not the hard core ones. Use your body language to indicate that you are getting bored. Yawn (fake it, dummy). Scratch your nose, head — everywhere it won’t look vulgar. Look here and there. If the cacophony still doesn’t stop, increase the intensity of your signals. Check your watch — every three minutes. Nod vigorously as if you are physically dragging the conversation to its end. If you are lucky to get a chance to open your mouth, utter conclusive phrases that actually mean nothing but still could be said in any situation, like ‘anyway, that’s life’ or ‘khair jaane do’. If nothing works, kick yourself and move to step 2.

2 Use your phone’s magic: I’m not particularly fond of that object called mobile phone, but boy, is it useful when it comes to getting out of a boring conversation. Keep it on vibration mode and at some unbearable point in the discussion, pretend as if you’ve suddenly got an important call. Run, run… while fake-mouthing some serious stuff into the phone. If nothing comes to your mind, just say ‘okay’ into the phone several times, with each okay signifying more urgency than the previous. Scare the Pakaau person into believing that something seriously urgent has come up. Just get away. Some models of cell phones even have an in-built applications that give you a fake call on the press of a button. Hail technology.

3 Your life-saver room: If there’s any room that has contributed more to saving lives than any other architectural space, it is the washroom. And not just for the obvious reasons. trust me, toilet is a life saver in PP situations (suddenly, reading this sentence aloud makes it sound a bit obscene but I swear it was unintended). Anyway, wriggle out of a endless boring conversation by saying you’ve got to visit the washroom. Urgently. This works like magic, because some things in life, even the most pakaau people can’t question. Don’t come back.

4 Deviation therapy: In the middle of a long winding diatribe by an irritating jabber jaw, suddenly narrow your eyes, take your face closer to his and say something alarming. Like ‘What’s that on your eye? Is that a sty? There’s some swelling’ They’ll instantly get worried about what’s wrong with them. Look around, call out to someone else standing nearby and ask them to reaffirm your observation. Leave that person to diagnose the imaginary swelling in the PP’s eye. Slip away. Apologise to that other person later. Unless he’s a PP too.

5 Tell them: This one’s serious. The pakaau person may just be someone you are close to — a friend, a family member. They are not bad people, they just don’t realise when they inadvertantly turn a dialogue into a monologue.

If you want their good, you should tell them that they have a tendency to stretch their conversations much after the listener has lost interest. Don’t say it in a hurtful way, but get your point across, so that no one else avoids them in future. They’ll thank you for it.

Sonal Kalra wonders if anything in this week’s column made any sense. Khair jaane do. Mail your tips of dealing with the PPs at, or on Follow on Twitter @sonalkalra.

On popular demand, the calmness trophy is back and goes this week to two very ‘shaaleen’ readers of this column: Shalini Kaushik and Shalini Chaurasia. You reaffirm the faith that wise and sensible views have nothing to do with a concept called ‘age’. Calmness to you, always.

First Published: Dec 10, 2011 19:31 IST