How did our parent’s generation survive more than five minutes of a social situation?

I don’t think “So, what do you do?” was a relevant question then. Everyone was in a bank, or in some government job, or a doctor, or an engineer or lawyer. The question wouldn’t have made for a great conversation starter.

Sure. For the older generation it was “Aapka ladka aaj kal kya kar rahaa hai?” with a prompt reply, “Verma ji PMT ki tayyari kar rahaa hai. Surjit sir ke yahaan coaching classes li hain”.

Asli sapne toh…

But for people who were say sub 40. What did they even initiate their conversations with?

I’m not saying that the question about your current work life / professional being is inappropriate. It’s anything but.

Although, it IS an equivalent of the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign. It is so predictable and jaded, that it’s boring.

Also, it smacks of social selection. At least to me. I mean not all of us are on the pathway to partnership at one of the big five. Or have more work related travel miles on our cards than our dear PM Narendra Modi.

So if three people are standing, having a conversation and this question gets chucked about, one person in most probability will be doing much better off than the other. Resulting in severe emotional butt-clenching for the lesser being.

Also, not that it unearths extraordinary answers (and hence conversations).

“I am an AVP – customer satisfaction at bla bla bank.”

Everyone is an AVP now man.

That’s the new: “ladke ne BA kiya hai.”

“I head supply chain network optimization at an e-commerce company.”

Can’t say, “Well fuck you’re the reason why my delivery of toilet paper reached two days late and I was slightly damp for the initial part of my day!”

All you do is make that “Oh. aah! Right.” face and then the next person in line gets stared at.

Frankly, I’ve always have had great, social awkwardness generating answers when asked that question.

But I still I don’t know how to respond well enough when served with an even slightly off-center answer.

The other day I asked this absolutely gorgeous woman this very question.

I know, I know, smart shit doesn’t occur when MOST required.

Anyhow, she responds with “I am a teacher at a pre-school.”


My face, brain and scrotum shrivelled like a raisin. There was not enough blood in my body to simultaneously think of a smart continuing statement, sustain my testosterone based approach AND maintain a face of bravado.

All systems failed. I gagged and came up with… wait for it….


So in light of such events and other social repercussions l suggest we look for new, more interesting, more humanizing and kinder questions.

Let’s try and work beyond lazy lines of questioning and make our lives a little richer.

So the next time I see that lady, I’m gonna ask her how she gets herself motivated enough to stay in such fabulous shape. And then she won’t have an answer.

Game.Frekken. Equalized. (Yes. I’m a petty old man!)

Having stated the problem in such detail, it is contingent upon me to provide some solutions. Some answers that are good questions or statements for ice-breaking. 

Right here:


  • Question: “Have you ever wondered if Rakhi Sawant is a transvestite?”
  • Question: “Do you think Priyanka Chopra has yet finished sucking the joy out of Nick Jonas’s soul and our vision?”
  • Question: “Would you say that Taimur is Saif Ali Khan’s biggest achievement in life?”
  • Question: “If Theresa May were a man, would she be the one to last the longest in bed?”
  • Question: “If Thailand and Uzbekistan were states in India, where do you think all the dealer and sales conferences would happen instead?”
  • Question (when in Bombay): “Just came back from Delhi. MUCH better city. What do you say?”
  • Statement (when in Delhi): “Yaar iss baar thand hi nahi ho rahi / Yaar garmi ne le li hai iss baar.”
  • Question (to ask a Gurgaon person): “Yaar L1 pe Absolut ki peti kitne ki hai?”


  • Response: “I survive this country / city every day.”
  • Response: “I gain weight. I gain more weight every day.”
  • Response: “I am patiently waiting for Donald Trump to be jailed.”
  • Response: “Have just started medication for piles. I’m just waiting to see if it’s effective.”
  • Response: “I am tolerating my boss’s douchebag behavior every day so I can get to the end of the month to get my salary so that I can buy enough booze to help me tolerate my boss’s douchebag behavior.”
  • Response: “I made the mistake of reproducing and now am borderline depressive, while maintaining that that my devil spawn is a cherub when I am asked questions about having kids.”
  • Response: “I am having a mid-life crisis. Just bought a Harley.”
  • And if NOTHING comes to you and it’s dead all over: “Agli baar Modi sarkaar?”