Friday, June 22, 2007

Undergraduates: A Guide to Casual Conversation

"Hey !! How's College??" Oh! The complete sense of ease that follows this remark is remarkable. You know perfectly the routes the conversation is going to take and are familiar with the by-lanes as well.

The reason that this very pick-up line is so widely in use among young undergraduates is that complete strangers can become near soul mates within just a few minutes of dialogue after using it.

What usually follows is a series of innovative adjectives - that get better with each successive retelling - describing the college, its campus, the crowd, its grandeur and resplendent glory. Hostlers can brag about their night-life while day-scholars rant about the enjoyable trips back and forth. For one practiced in this art, appropriate metaphors also flow with ease, captivating the listener.

Of course, well-timed "really!?", "hmmm..", "is that so?", "What about…", etc are all vital and show the level of enthusiasm of the listener and help increase the confidence of the speaker. Soon the roles are reversed and the exchange canters along.

The next stage is usually about grievances with your respective colleges. After being cautiously introduced in the conversation (since it is d and if some of the fallacies match, you've hit jackpot! The smiles just get broader.

After exhausting all the facts possible about each college, you get to the real interesting part: The Anecdotes. The excitement in each camp is palpable as both recount story after story of their respective college lives. Truth often takes a beating as the game of one-upmanship reaches a climax.

If the parties involved have some big egos, then the friendly game can turn into a no-holds-barred boasting match till invariably ending in one of them saying "wow, that's amazing! See ya later" Only it is sure to mean the later the better.

Of course, mostly it does not end this way and a general air of bonhomie is a common result.

If the level of understanding reaches extreme highs, or, if both are old partners in this game, one can broach the relatively sensitive issue of the opposite sex in the discussion. Of course, if its two boys together, then usually dialogue quickly comes round to exchanging notes on the sex ratio in class, quality standard, The Top Five and their vital statistics. Girls, I cannot comment on as I have not been fortunate enough of being invited as an observer to the discussion of their observations…

So, if you are feeling left out in a party or gathering, all you have to do is say: Hi! How's college? And you'll be on course to a nice evening.

Also from my journal, written right after one such conversation...

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