This is a word-to-word conversation I had with someone, lets call him A. He buzzed me on the office chat program. This is how it went.
[Me pretending to work very hard, eyebrows knitted, staring at the screen, while all I am doing is counting the number of lines of email that can fit into the preview pane window of Outlook]
A: Hi Shruthi, how are you? How is work? I hope it is piling up now.
[Duh! Who's this guy? And what kind of a person would say "I hope your work is piling up"... what exactly did he mean to say? And why is he asking me that? And that brings me to the first question - who is this guy?]
Me: Hi.. I am sorry I don't recognize you.
A: Hi, please permit me to inquire if I am interacting with Shruthi of XYZ dept?
[Permit? Inquire? Interact?]
A: I'm sorry for botheration, I was in the impression of speaking to the right person.
[Check out the formality, dude!]
Me: No problem.
[Thank God he did not say "permit me to take your leave"]
This conversation could have gone as follows:
A: Hi Shruthi, how are you? How's work?
Me: I'm sorry, I don't recognize you.
A: Oh, aren't you Shruthi of XYZ dept?
Me: No, I'm not.
A: Sorry to bother you.
Me: No problem
Then the goodbyes.
Short and sweet. No excessive pressure on the keyboard. No extra brain signals required to decipher the meaning of the formal and long words.
Why do people strive to make their words so ceremonial and ponderous? This is especially obvious in mails and chats. Is it to give the impression that they know more English than they do? Whatever it is, it never ceases to amuse me.
In all the courses on email etiquette, we are taught to keep our communication simple. Indians have a tendency to sound too formal and use complex sentences in official correspondence. Just lighten up, use short and simple sentences. Use the active voice, run a spell-check, and avoid sms language (ur, gr8, etc). Go easy on the formality, steer clear of clichés, and be wary of Indianisms - they just slip into our writing every now and then. These tips should help for any kind of written communication, including blogging! Very often, a beautiful piece of writing is marred by such slip-ups, which can easily be avoided with a little awareness.
To sum up, I will take refuge in a cliché, so please forgive me. :) Just remember to K.I.S.S - Keep It Short and Simple!
Happy writing! :) And yes, if anybody knows the meaning of "Hope your work is piling up", please let me know! :)