Walking the talking

A teen age plus girl talking into her cell phone stepped right into the traffic, may be to cross the road.. The bike guy in front, I was right behind him in my car, stood on his brakes to stop and missed her by inches. While the biker sat stunned, I saw the girl shouting at him though I could not hear what she was saying and continued, perhaps telling her friend how a reckless bum nearly killed her. Right of way for the jay walker on cell phone ?

A ‘what if’ situation, imagine the scene, the bike had hit her. She may have got away with a few bruises, cannot imagine the guy’s fete, though it may have been a minor accident.

People would have sprouted like ants in a sweet environment from nowhere and taken law into their hands and taken the girl’s side, fault or no fault.

In our country, the grade and size of the vehicle decides the sympathy. Between a truck and a car, its the truck, a car and a bike it is the car, a bike and cycle or pedestrian, it is the bike that gets the treatment.

I remember an ad suggesting to walk while on your  phone, since its an exercise while talking.  Multitasking.

They don’t tell you, that their signal range from one end of the room to the other at many places can put you out of limits. And our footpaths, where there is one, has some surprise openings to a drainage where you fall into and  can either break a leg or end up swimming with one hand and your cell phone in the other, may be ,still, talking.

Doing something else while talking over the phone is considered as a stylish multitasking. How do you like the situation, while you are talking, the other person’s eyes are on the WhatsApp messages and in between keeps muttering hmm, hmm, once in a while looking up with a ‘ ya I am listening’.

Another common sight is two wheeler riders  without helmets, cell phone on the shoulder and held by  tilted neck , talking and  zig zagging their way through the traffic.

We will realise the good of drunken  and cell talk driving only in an emergency situation which calls for quick reflexes, until then… happy driving.

There was a time when I felt proud of multi tasking and was an admirer of  a multitasker , not  any more. It gave me an illusion of living many lives at the  same time. We are, in reality, doing one thing, switching to another  to another and back and forth..This switching of thoughts ends up in stress. It robs  us of attention, focus and quality.

A,J,Jacobs author of my life as an experiment says” between two activities there is a few milliseconds of startup cost. He says the multitasking costs the economy $650 billion”. Difficult to believe, may be we can plus minus $10.

We come home, take  our shoes off  with one hand , untie our tie, if we are wearing one, with the other and take the car keys out of  the pocket while still on the phone and later when we want to go out we cannot find the keys. We blame it on loss of memory.  Lack of awareness, attention, focus.

Reading a book or messages in  chat  while having breakfast, cooking while watching a TV, listening to music while studying or driving, emailing while on the phone may give you a satisfaction of completing  two jobs, however your enjoyment level will be low and it may take more time than doing it individually. Remember the loss in switching time ?

One of the  craziest multitasking I have seen is a manager attending two conference calls at the same time with two telephones and the mute buttons. It was very similar to posting to the wrong group in today’s WhatsApp world.

I was listening to the 104 fever FM station in the radio. A contest was on, the radio station calls  a random phone number and the receiver has to say 104 fever as the first response, to win a price of Rs one lakh. Here how it went

There is a ringing sound and

“104FM fever”

:”congratulations, you win a price of Rs1 lakh and 4000, Where are you now?”

“I am so excited, I am in the bathroom, let me come out and talk to you”

And then there is a sound of flushing.

The RJ says :”You can take the prize, I don’t want to talk to a guy with his pants down at the ankles”. And disconnects the guy off. This poor guy may have taken the phone in, due to the pressure call when the contest was on. Look at the outcome of multitasking.

Too many commitments over a short period, trying to please everyone all the time, afraid to lose a customer, fear of disconnection, multitasking may not be the solution.. Do not blame the quality  after multi tasking. I may look slow while unitasking. I am not.

You need not agree on my take on multi tasking, at least take care of walking the talking. Also beware of guys on their feet or bikes, who grabs your phone and scoots

At times, even I do walk the talk on phone, one never learns.

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Grateful for the love and respect received so far. Inspire, motivate and enable anybody to achieve their limitless limits-that is my goal for the rest of my life. Worked in MECON, Mphasis, Cofounder KelpHR, kelphr.com

Categories Uncategorized7 Comments

7 thoughts on “Walking the talking”

  1. Here you go again with a gem of piece. What you write is what each of us is witness too. How dumb are the guys and gals doing what they do in the manner in which they do it! I want to unearth guys below 40 who are leading life away from this ‘you-live-only-once’ pace and show them to the world as lives that are possible to be lived in today’s fast paced ambition and ego driven world. I am sure there are such people in the world. How much more happy and content those guys must be. The ‘pacers’ do not even know what they loose. It is bit like smoking. You are addicted. You do not even think (or let it sink in) the permanent damage you are doing to your body, mind and life as a whole by following the herd mentality by aping what the world does (in a manner of fashion). Before you know it, it could be too late even to give up.

    I too am an admirer of multi-tasking. You have brought out an ugly underbelly of this skill.

    I hope you make yourself available as a speaker to events. If not you should. You have the requisite power over the language and thought to share it with the public. It will be their gain. The reason I recommend it to you is because I am sure a lecture based on this or some other blog piece would get you reaction from the people sitting in front that could bring out a facet which is unique and enlarge your view on the particular point you are making. No substitute to hearing directly from the lay public on what you intend them to hear.

    1. Dear Dr Wagle,

      I am available, no takers :-). I had given a talk to two groups at ELLA on ‘realities of a corporate world’. It covered their expectation and how they would get different jolts at different stages and what they should do to deal with situations and so on. I wanted the sessions to be part of the
      3 months training they undergo at Mangalore. MphasiS had some budget issues to accommodate the program.

  2. Good Rajan, on Multitasking debate, you directed me to this blog…

    To start with, i am an incorrigible propagator of Multitasking, n i believe it opens up great opportunities for efficiency in Time utilisation…

    Multitasking is one of the most misunerstood n undermined expression…
    Multitasking of Mind or Multitasking of Bodily-functions, they are different n that will determine the value…
    (my personal disastrous experience later)

    Crossing Roads that require continuous split-second decision making efforts n so definitely should never be combined with some other Brain-consuming/ Mind-stirring activities…
    So Talking on Mobile is not something i will recommend…

    But how about Reading Newspaper while having morning Coffee/Tea…?
    Or the reverse Tea while Reading…?
    Either way its a Time-saving idea n one doesn’t trouble the other…

    I don’t approve of my own habit of Reading Newspaper+TV simultaneously (at nights), as they both feed the brain, but I still do it n derive some satisfaction…
    Few mins later i would have effortlessly forgotten details of both, but then that doesn’t seem to matter…

    The oft-repeated kitchen scenario is actually Multiple-windows of “simultaneously n also suitably inter-spaced” Solo-tasks n that should be welcome…

    As in every other case each person has a different level of skill/efficiency n so all these do have their undisputed perils…

    25 years back, during mornings, i used to Multitask 3 activities, until one day i messed up…
    Having Tea+ Reading Newspaper+ Ironing that day’s dress (as such all these can be categorised as casual/routine/mundane activities)…
    And one day, engrossed in reading, i lifted the TEA-MUG n started “IRONING” spilling Tea over the Shirt…
    And it’s not for laughing…

    I really got a jolt when I imagined, Thank God i didn’t take the Iron to my Lips instead of the Mug…!!!!!!!

    That was the last time Ironing was on my Multitasking list…☺️☺️☺️

    1. It’s quite sensible of one to do multitasking but the brain system should cooperate. Otherwise it’s disaster in waiting, like sipping the hot iron…

      1. Essentially it’s a question of “how-dangerous” the mixing up of tasks can be…

        One has to spend a moment to determine the task that is more important/prio/sensible n imagine (measure) the “danger-levels”, before combining activities…

        Conversation or Crossing the road…?
        There’s no staple answer…

  3. It’s quite sensible of one to do multitasking but the brain system should cooperate. Otherwise it’s disaster in waiting, like sipping the hot iron…

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