Of Words and Spaces

It’s kind of interesting when you think about it. The same set of words can achieve two goals. Think about a regular tome or an audio talk – it can be a spiritual tome (like the bhagavad gita or the bible) or a good story book (a PG Wodehouse if you will!) – or anything at all!

  • If you concentrate on the words and the meaning, you understand a grand philosophy or gain a wonderful story. You indeed understand the world around you better.
  • If you dwell in the spaces between the words and the paragraphs – just take a few minutes savouring them in their entirety – you will experience a different welling up of emotions within.

This is why the revered books of old were aphorisms – short and designed to be ornaments around a garland of silence (and not the other way around). They were intended to be read at random, to encourage random detours – and every visit would bring in new experiences – not from the level of the author – but based on the level of the reader.

Its worth trying both – when we read some stuff and learn – we can watch your confidence grow.You recieve some of the author’s knowledge with every reading.

And when we decide to focus more on the spaces – we discover a new sense of meaning – “often something not even intended by the authors and often something new about ourselves”. Try it!

Emailing etiquette!

Imagine this. Two people are speaking to each other. A heated conversation is underway. And fifteen of us are standing around, hanging on every word – at the same time wondering why we are there in the first place for the conversation has no worthwhile import for any of us! Now imagine that we employ an even more insidious tool for this mass eves-dropping exercise. We keep recorders close to the conversationalists and listen from our rooms. One of the folks having the conversation (the listener) is actually oblivious to all of us – she doesn’t know we are listening in.

Now transpose this scene to the cyber-world and presto we are bang in the world of cc and its more invisible cousin the bcc. Welcome to the world of emails – and very bad manners (at least if undertaken in the physical world!)!

I just don’t get it – not after over a decade of seeing this behavior time and again. To understand the irrationality of it all though, you need to transpose it to the real life:

  1. Lets say you have a party organized for your friends. Chances are you will call them/ check schedules and invite just the folks who will make it a super day. Now look at how we do our calendar invites in the eworld – we many a time don’t check if someone is available, whether its an appropriate time (since it’s a global village, chances are the status meeting is actually at midnight for someone somewhere in the world!) or if the addressees are really required (hey its free anyway right -if they don’t want, they don’t have to make it!). Many a hapless soul wanders from meeting to meeting with no clue of whats really happening and why he is in the loop! In this case, all those wander are lost!


  1. Or think about when some work is over-due. In the real world, you probably will walk over and let the person know. Maybe you will get him and his leader/ someone who’s an expert together and discuss the way forward. You are not likely to get 10 random “senior” folks across the globe countries into a room (and periodically scream an update no one cares about over the loudspeaker!)). If you tried something like this in your school years, you may have been ostracized for life!


  1. Or take the note with the restricted rights (and addressed just to you). It’s like someone sending you a confidential document delivered by hand – letting you read it (while they are watching from behind – and locking it in your desk – and most importantly taking the key back with her. What will it do for trust?

I guess, with email being free and all – and with many of the earlier adopters not realizing the unacceptability of some of these practices – they have flourished. And now, its so pervasive – almost part of tradition – so we don’t stop to think about whether its appropriate.


But deep down when something like this happens, there’s a twinge in the heart. And a little voice cries out that maybe we changed a behaviour or two. The easiest way to validate if that voice is right is to transpose the situation to a physical world scenario – if it doesn’t seem appropriate, time to change it. You agree?