Kopal Doshi
Guest Article

The lockdown code of conduct

In case you've been a little behindhand in your vernacular, and have been missing your travels across strange lands - here's handy guide to the “10 phrases you need to master before your zoom 'trip'"...

All of us have become extremely busy over the past 90 days. Learning how to multitask with Zoom calls in the background, crying kids in the foreground, making 'chai' and PPTs late evenings, trying to juggle sleep cycles with wash cycles. And most importantly, learning a completely new language. Or, should I say learning how to speak in code.

All of us have learnt how to navigate the murky world of virtual meetings with a shorthand, which everyone pretends not to know, but knows anyway.

Just in case you've been a little behindhand in your vernacular, and have been missing your travels across strange lands - here's a handy guide to the “10 phrases you need to master before your zoom 'trip'”.

1. 'Can we start in five?' - First, it's never just five. Just like you tell yourself on opening a bag of potato chips that you'll have just five. These five minutes have a habit of reproducing until, well, the bag is empty. Or, in the case of a call you want to avoid, there's a hard stop in five.

2. 'Sorry, I was on mute' - Sorry, I was definitely listening to what you were saying, and not looking into the fridge for the 50th time today just in case something interesting to eat has magically appeared. And, can you please repeat your question because I couldn't hear. I was on mute, you see.

3. 'My Wi-Fi is not working today' - Oh, I do have a 1,000 Mbps connection, but it's a bit busy right now streaming the Netflix series I'm watching on the side. My Wi-Fi is not working - for you - today.

4. 'Sorry, I can't switch to video, am not really presentable' - Lost my comb in the first week of lockdown... It's 9 a.m., I haven't even brushed yet. It's 2 p.m., I haven't even brushed yet. Pick the option that best describes you.

5. 'I'll call you right back' - I. Need. To. Pee.

6. 'Absolutely aligned, please share the MoM to action' - Mostly used in groups of more than five. Read as 'This call could have been a message, and this is an hour of my life I'll never get back'.

7. 'It's post 7, can we catch up on this tomorrow?' - It's work from home, not living at work. 'Khana kaun banayega'?

8. ‘We don’t use Skype, can we share a Meet/Zoom/TeamsLink’ – ‘Mah lyf, Mah rulz’. (This is the PG-13 version of this, but don’t mistake the ‘please’ in the invite, it’s definitely a measuring contest.)

9. ‘Your voice is breaking’ – Oh please, for the love of God, stop talking. We all got your non-point an hour back. Can we do some actual work now? It’s a laptop mic, not a soapbox. Basically, please stop talking, and give someone else a chance.

10. ‘Stay Safe!’ – Wear a mask, do not put yourself in danger and flatten the damn curve so we can all go back to office where there is central AC and no 'bartan'. No place like home, eh?

I hope, like all travel guides, this one also helps you navigate a new and strange world a little better. And going against all tenets of social media, I would urge you to read, laugh, but not share. What our bosses don’t know won’t hurt them right?

(The above points are obviously satire. All of us are working really hard to get through these trying times. And, this was just to give you a couple of minutes of laughs – not to be taken seriously. Seriously, stay safe!)

(Views expressed are personal)

(The author is senior manager - digital marketing, Kellogg India.)