The newest word in the market today is soundsmartism. Okay, it isn’t. But don’t you wish it were?
If in a room of 500 people or just a Mumbai Western local train compartment (yes, Western. We don’t consider the harbingers of death that are Central railways to be trains), you try to find out how many people would like to sound smart, I bet all 500 of them would very gladly raise their hands. After all, this is the age of convenience and doing things in the fastest, shortest and least complicated way has become our zeitgeist.
It won’t be long before someone comes up with ‘Do-it-yourself angioplasty kit’. There are crash courses on Aviation available. Crash, aviation – see what I did there?
Why is it that people are concentrating more on sounding smart than actually being smart these days? I bet you’ve all heard “Chetan Bhagat gets me. His views are so deep” at least once, no? This is not a slandering campaign on Chetan Bhagat, there has been enough of that, that it has become one the top things on the soundsmartism checklist.
New is not smart. Old is not smart. Smart is smart.
I recently was given ‘professional counseling’ in college to ‘prepare’ me for the placement process which is about to start. Do you know what they told me to do? Sound smart. And are you aware of the number one cause of increased job-switching today? It is because people sounded smart during the interview; they’re hired, found out, and fired.Have you observed the smartest of people speak very little? They don’t want to ‘sound’ smart. They ask the stupidest of questions.
Do you think Newton never asked his wife why her boobs sag downwards and not upwards? Gravity!
Don’t you think a more pressing need for the invention of electric bulb was the chances of the wick burning out in the toilet (yes, toilet. Not bathroom. Not loo. Not the john) during night?
And I bet Graham Bell came up with the idea of a telephone after he couldn’t alert his friend that the wife was going to walk in on him having sex with another woman.
I can imagine Yeats, Moore and Martyn sharing a drink at the Irish Literary Society and talking about Lady Gregory’s behind.
Sounding smart will only take you so far. You’ll make friends who also say things just to sound smart. Their likes and dislikes, their hobbies, their interests all revolve around trying to look good and not sound stupid. Need I tell you what happens to such friendships?
Don’t borrow someone else’s opinion. Have your own. There is no such thing as a ‘cool opinion’. If you have one and it’s controversial, back it up with facts and valid viewpoints. Or simply don’t have an opinion. We live in a country which gives us a right to not have an opinion (Okay, I made that up). But there’s no law which says we must have one either, does it?
For your consideration, the top-10 things people generally talk about to sound smart:
1. Chetan Bhagat’s apparent ability to get you/or not get you
2. Manchester United’s glorious history from the Cristiano Ronaldo days
3. The joys of travelling in Mumbai locals (seriously?)
4. I could have saved the world from the ongoing economic crisis (come on now, not even the people involved fully understood what happened, otherwise there wouldn’t have been any crisis in the first place, would there?!)
5. Pink Floyd is my favourite band (coming from a person who has only ever heard Comfortably Numb)
6. Computer/mobile specifications (like it is some space shuttle!)
7. *name of person* Photography page (To be fair, I’ve been through this phase too)
(Editor’s note: some of us contributing to dfuse.in are still in that phase 😛 )
8. Expensive continental restaurant serving ridiculously over-priced sub-standard food (You can get away with this one too because even if the food was terrible, nobody can actually afford to go eat there. And when they do, they’ll just say the same thing. Vicious cycle, this one)
9. The knowledge of airports and airplanes. (We Indians are FASCINATED by air travel. It’s like being part of the British royal family or something)
10. The link-talk – Linking some famous place, person, incident, etc. to themselves. (I have had people come up to me and talk about how their cousin’s best friend’s girlfriend’s uncle works in the same office as Ratan Tata)
This list is neither comprehensive nor exhaustive. It is my own. If you have your own, list it down! Start every day like the stupidest bum that ever lived. Don’t try to sound smart. Sound stupid. Make potty jokes. Ask questions. Asking questions never killed anyone. Not asking questions did (case in point: suicide bombers being told grenades are awesome). Be eccentric. Be crazy. Be original. Don’t fit in, stand out.
P.S. For anyone who hasn’t checked out 8tracks.com, I would highly recommend it. Beautiful playlists.