Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Go, go, go

I was watching Collateral Damage yesterday when I was struck by how familiar a voice in the film which shouted, "Go, go, go, let's get moving," or some words to that effect sounded. And that was when it struck me.

It was the same voice that I've heard before in countless Hollywood action flicks where an authoritative voice needs to nudge people into collective action. I like to think of the owner of that voice as an ordinary, unassuming bloke who becomes quite another man when asked to issue a directive, nay, give out a command. For the most part, he probably goes through life quiet and unassuming, but when there is a need, his words, high-pitched and insistent to convey the impression that the speaker is in the throes of passionate action, galvanise others into strong and decisive action.

Today on the railway platform, as women commuters around me, sighting the approach of the train, gathered their wits and their belongings together for the partly physical but mostly mental exercise of leaping onto the train, one woman, who stood behind the small crowd, took a leaf from the book of our super competent Mr Voice of Authority and called out, “Ladies, train aane par sar kate murgiyonki tarah mat pesh aao. Jald se jald chadhne ki koshish karo. Come on, ladies, go, go, go.” (Ladies, when the train comes in, don’t behave like headless chickens. Get on to the train as soon as possible.)

Her words elicited a disgusted and disgruntled look from her listeners. There were one or two women whose faces indicated that if it hadn't been for the pressing business of getting aboard the train, they would surely have welcomed the opportunity to clobber her on the head. Clearly voices of authority must be heard, and not seen.

The action flick guy had the advantage in this. Because he is in a film, people listen to his voice. In real life, people have no use for voices, unless they resound within their own heads.


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