I am one of those typical Punekars. I talk to only a few, I meet friends once or twice a week and mostly spend time reading books, watching TV Series (on computer, downloaded from various torrent sources) or playing Dota/Call of Duty/GTA/all the awesome games on my computer. The people around me are typical Punekars too; the ones who start a conversation with anyone they meet, hangout daily, watch TV serials (the dumb ones which no one would want to download), play the game of “Who has the most interesting gossip today?” and are ones interested in just about anything going around. Yes, there are two types of Punekars. There can be many more – Punekars come in all shapes and sizes.
So, as one of the silent Punekars, I have to use stealth when outside, for otherwise, one of the other type would call me out and I would be forced to make social interaction! I have found ways to avoid people who are loitering around in the parking (mostly sitting on other people’s two-wheelers like it’s their own) or who are walking around on the road. However, there is one place which people like me dread the most; THE LIFT. Every time I press the button and wait for the lift to arrive, I pray that no one comes by. Just when I close my eyes to say a quick silent prayer, an annoying companion arrives (the Talkative Punekar type) and I am forced to answer his/her rubbish questions. Their usual questions range from “Kay mag, maitrin kashie?” (mostly asked by an uncle/aunty), “Kay mag college kasa chalue?” (idiot knows I work as a writer), “Kiti divsanni aree.. vegalach distoes tu tar!!” (Yes, I am fat now and you’re just as ugly as before! It’s not really a question but one has to reply.) and the usual “Kay mag? Kay chalue?” (mostly asked by people who you don’t know too well and, is the most boring question ever!). So, following are few scenarios that you will face and the ways to avoid the dreaded conversation:
Do not make eye contact
It all starts with the eyes. While Bollywood expects us to believe it’s love, we all know that when our eyes meet the eyes of the hottie of the society (a rarity in itself), she’ll return it with disgust (like she just swallowed her own puke!). In real life, making eye contact means giving the other the licence to speak. So, always look down like a “sati savitri” or move your neck here are there and look right past your companion (I know that makes me look weird but as long as it gets me out of the conversation, I’m fine!). If you’re “image conscious”, use your phone to your advantage. You may not be able to fake a call in the lift (yes, every service provider promises range even in a lift, I never saw anyone get it though!) and so, hit the beats and be lost in your own world, avoiding eye contact at all cost!!
Do not stand near the buttons
Always, press the button of your floor and move away. Let your companion press their own buttons (no double meaning, seriously!). Do not be an idiot and press the button to their floor, even if you know it. This gives out an instant message telling them that you’re getting to know them and even if they are the silent one too, they WILL begin TALKING. Unless the lift is too full, never ever press the buttons in the lift for other people’s floors (there, no double meaning!) for in this scenario, your companions will be too busy interacting with each other to notice your silent presence.
Make them feel awkward
The best way to avoid a conversation is to be too full of yourself, making the other feel awkward. Look into the mirror and start setting your hair, hum a rubbish song, whistle, fiddle with the fan and do things that annoy the heck out of others. This can have its problems though, for the other can start small talk using questions for each respectively, “Changla distoes. Kes kaples tar ajun bara dishshil!“, “Kuthla gaana gatoes re?“, “Shii, shittya kar martoy mavali sarkha?“, “Asa khelu nakos fan shi! Lift tutel!” and the usual “Are kay kartoes tu? Thik ahes na?” and the conversation begins. The trick here is something you can learn from a performer; know your audience!!
Do not indulge in small talk
Some people just won’t get the hint! Some people, just want to watch the world burn. For such people, there is no use doing any of the above. Unless you can be rude enough to fake not being able to hear them over your loud music, you have to talk to them. We silent types don’t mind genuine questions (like “He Zurale konchya majlya var rahatat?“) but idiotic questions like “Lift banda padnar nahi na?“, “Majha majla ala ka re?“, etc. will be served with typical Punekar responses. If your companion happens to know you or your parents, you’ll be asked the usual questions (refer to the ones mentioned earlier) and you should opt for one word replies hoping to get out of it. More than one word and there’s another question more likely to be asked.
Run for the stairs (No Way Out)
While some people just want to watch the world burn, others just want to annoy the heck out of everyone. It does not matter if you have earphones on, they’ll talk so loud, the deaf grandma of 8th floor will hear them. In this scenario, it’ll start with “Aaj kal chi pora mhanje, sarkhe gaani aikat bastat jor jorat! Doka nahi dukhat?” and there are more, making you feel like you’re in a viva or a CID bureau. They can start a conversation with just about ANYTHING. “Kai re? Kuthun yetoes? Kiti style martos!“, (when you’re wearing a plain T-shirt and jeans!), “Abhyaas kasa chalue?” (even when she saw me going to work yesterday and taunted “Mottha zalas ata! Lagna kadhi karnar?”), “Aaila sangnare me tuzya tya gf baddal! Bagh tu.” (Tell me about her first! I haven’t had a girlfriend for such a long long time!). No nuska or smart-ass ideas work when dealing with the most annoying people on the planet. They can be your neighbourhood aunty, the rikamtekda slacker, your distant relative (my grandmom’s cousin brother’s second cousin’s son), the smartass guy who is the head of the group that loiters in the parking lot, the binkami retired uncle.. Oh, the list is endless! The only way to avoid these people is to skip their radar. They might be the only ones to make a lazy bum like me climb 7 floors!!
Disclaimer: The article caters to the talkative Punekars too. If you’re interested in knowing how to make conversations with people in the lift, do exactly the opposite of what’s mentioned above!