please

i get the feeling that using the word “please” in certain contexts makes things less polite. it sounds as if it is imposing something on someone, or forcing someone to do something. especially in the formal/corporate context.

suppose you write to someone saying “can you do this?” you are just asking if someone to do something. And “no” is a perfectly okay answer for that.

however, if you happen to say? “can you please do this?” it’s that much harder for the other person to say “no”. and given that you have said “please”, you are much more liable to take offence if the counterparty says “no”.

please? tell me if i’m missing something here.

155082

Fifteen-twenty years back (and earlier), whenever my parents sought “unbiased” news, they used to tune in to the BBC (back then, the AIR used to be full of propaganda).

It’s a new age. A new medium (tV). And now, if I want unbiased news, I tune in to BBC or CNN.

About blogging

I seem to be facing a huge writer’s block nowadays. In the last two weeks, more posts have been not written than written. What i mean is that there have been several times when I have started writing something and then abandoned it midway. It’s way too frequent, and it’s bugging.

The pattern is similar each time – I get an idea for a post when I’m not in front of my comp. And get so much enthu for it that I actually figure out then and there how I’m going to express it – the overall structure, the words that I’ll use, the tone – all that . All this in my head. And then, I conveniently forget about it.

A few hours (or even days) later I remember this when I’m in front of the comp. Unfortunately what remains is just the central idea, and not the beautiful structure and words and tones that I had painstakingly created in my head. They are all gone, lost forever. Now, the fact that they existed a while back means that I try to remember them. And this clouds my normal thinking and I’m not able to write properly. I write a few paragraphs and then am literally lost for words. And the project is abandoned – usually for ever.

I wonder if this has anything to do with the language of blogging. I write in English – which is not my native tongue. I learnt English in school, though I had been taught some basics at home. I have never spoken to my relatives in any language other than Kannada. I must mention here that my English is totally different from my mother’s English, unlike say Kannada where we share a common slang.

The fact that it’s a failure of expression, and not of thoughts, leads me to believe that it might be due to the fact that I write in an “alien” language. And makes me wonder if I should diversify in terms of language. However, it’s easier said than done.

My “mother tongue” is Kannada and as I mentioned earlier, I don’t speak to relatives in any other language. Unfortunately I’ve hardly studied it formally. In my school it was taught between third and eight grades, and was intended at imparting a functional knowledge of the language (living in South Bangalore, you need it right?) rather than enabling formal communication in language.

Then, it has to do with Kannada as a language. The written language is extremely different from the spoken language. And at home, they don’t teach you to write essays. They teach you to read and write, and speak and talk. And you are taught the slang that prevails in your house – what your parents speak. And even if you get a Kannada newspaper at home (like I did till a year back), you don’t really learn the written language.

Coming back, I wonder if I should consciously learn “written kannada” and maybe write in that infrequently – when my English fails me. Of course a large number of you won’t be able to read those posts – but would a translation work? Write in Kannada and then translate to English – but then I might get stuck while translating. Wonder what i should do.

As an aside, today my mother decided that the Deccan Herald takes too long for her to read – so she’s not reading the paper nowadays. Tomorrow onwards, we are stopping the Deccan Herald, and getting the Vijaya Karnataka in its place.

Happy New Year

I’m pissed off with orkut. Having been a loyal user for three years, I’m now very pissed off. Scrapbook was one place where you wouldn’t find much spam. Now, thanks to some “scrap all” feature that some idiot has developed, the scrapbook is full of it. Full of happy new year messages, which I know aren’t really intended at me. From a lot of vague people. Even if it’s from someone i’m reguarly in touch with, I’ve lost respect for that person.

Unless this “scrap all” menace can be aborted, I’m going to leave orkut. I don’t care that I’ve built up a network of 800 friends there. I’m in touch with most of them through at least one other medium so it’s ok.

It doesn’t stop at orkut. I’ve received thousands of SMSs wishing me a happy and prosperous 2008. The problem with SMS is that you don’t know who all have been copied on the message. Nevertheless, most of these appear extremely impersonal. Even a few of them coming from close friends. I haven’t bothered to reply. Doesn’t seem to be worth it at all.

I’ve received a few wishes on IM, and on the phone. All of them have been religiously acknowledged and replied to. IM and phone are “high involvement” media. Makes a whole lot of difference.

My mailbox has also been buzzing. Some people have shamelessly copied a hundred people on the mail (thankfully no one has reply alled). Well left. Others have been more thoughtful and put everyone in BCC. Well left again. There are a few personal mails. Duly replied to. Not too many of these, though.

One “use” of festivals is that it helps people get back in touch. Suppose I haven’t talked to you for ages. Wishing you on new year’s is a good excuse for me to call you up. And we end up enquiring about each other’s health. And talk about a few more random things. And thus “keep in touch”. It need not be a phone call. It could be a mail, or a letter, or an SMS. Or, hell, even an orkut scrap! Usually helps keep in touch.

Anyways, I guess by writing here I’m not really spamming everyone (spamming RSS feed doesn’t really count as spam right?). So I hereby wish all my readers a happy and prosperous 2008.

PS: What did the chemistry teacher tell his class on Jan 1? Wish you all a happy and phosphorus new year.