G C Lichtenberg: “It is as if our languages were confounded: when we want a thought, they bring us a word; when we ask for a word, they give us a dash; and when we expect a dash, there comes a piece of bawdy.”

W H Auden: "But in my arms till break of day / Let the living creature lie. / Mortal, guilty, but to me/ The entirely beautiful."

Will Self: “To attempt to write seriously is always, I feel, to fail – the disjunction between my beautifully sonorous, accurate and painfully affecting mental content, and the leaden, halting sentences on the page always seems a dreadful falling short. It is this failure – a ceaseless threnody keening through the writing mind – that dominates my working life, just as an overweening sense of not having loved with enough depth or recklessness or tenderness dominates my personal one.”

John Gray: "Unlike Schopenhauer, who lamented the human lot, Leopardi believed that the best response to life is laughter. What fascinated Schopenhauer, along with many later writers, was Leopardi’s insistence that illusion is necessary to human happiness."

Art Spiegelman: "You know words in a way are hitting you on the left side of your brain, music and visual arts hit on the right side of the brain, so the idea is to pummel you, to send you from left brain to right brain and back until you're as unbalanced as I am."

विलास सारंग: "संदर्भ कुठलेही असोत, संस्कृत, इंग्रजी, बुद्धिवादी, तांत्रिक, इतिहासाचे, खगोलशास्त्राचे, आधुनिक पदार्थविज्ञानाचे, शिवकालीन व पेशवाईतील बखरीचे, अगणित ज्ञानक्षेत्रांचे, अशा वैविध्यपूर्ण ज्ञानावर लेखन- विशेषत: कवितालेखन- उभं राहत."

Friday, June 15, 2007

We're Not Speaking the Same Language

Services in India suck. More and more so.

Rookies who understand almost nothing about the big picture of the business they work for largely staff call centres. They almost never use their intelligence and also routinely break laid down processes. They know no fear because if they are fired from one place, they will soon get an offer from another. Some times processes are so bad, I wonder how they became certified in the first place.

India takes pride in having one of the largest pool of English speaking youth. May be. English also is a link language for North and South via West and East. But whose English is it?

Not The British Queen’s. Not Rajaji’s. Not R K Narayan’s. Not Arun Kolatkar’s.

Some times I think even in written communication every word means different things to different people. Things become worse when it comes to verbal communication because every word seems to be pronounced in a unique way.

I am trying to adapt to this new services regime.

I presume that I am talking / corresponding with a robot. I anticipate robot’s response and play the game accordingly. I use smaller sentences. On e-mail, I repeat the gist of entire correspondence in the latest reply even when the past exchange is enclosed. In every exchange, I identify myself with a/c name, date of birth etc etc. On phone, I ask for escalation process after few elapsed (and invariably wasted) minutes. I threaten to take my small business away from them. I praise their competition though most times it is equally bad.

If this sounds funny, it’s not. This is not good for India’s rapidly growing services economy. It proves to me huge deficit of soft-skills at service providers.


“Calvin and Hobbes” by Bill Watterson printed Asian Age June 15, 2007