THE ENTRY SAYS IT ALL

 

“All of us light up a room – some when they enter, some when they leave.” 

Over the years, I have been fascinated by how people enter – home, office, room or just about any space.  It must have been at the back of my consciousness always, but now that I am much like an old cow, chewing the cud, literally and figuratively, I ruminate on this behaviour a lot and have evolved a fond theory that if you observe a person’s entry closely, you understand them much better.  Having done that, I must now support it with evidences.  So much so, that I think you can learn much about a stranger from their entry – whether it is a doctor’s waiting room or an interview panel, an investor/broker or just about anybody.

 

I have a sister who, when she enters, looks around for people, beams at everyone and they start talking to her.  Even if you are in another room, you can guess her arrival by the buzz around her.She is very social and is in her element when she has people around her.

Some people enter as quietly as a mouse.  They go through life just as shyly and unobtrusively.  Not that they fall short of achievements or accolades.  A very young Manager of mine used to enter so soundlessly that he has often caught my colleagues and me, napping at our own desk or loafing at others’.  He rose to become Director at an equally young age, leaving competition napping.

A friend of mine always enters like the prequel to a suspense film, “Guess what happened today?” The incident can be as trivial as a tiff with the conductor over change or a grave accident on the road.  Drama queen.

Not all quiet entries, though, are so harmless.  Some enter a room, noiselessly, but with a suspicious look.  You never know what they have taken in, until they later express their displeasure at something or the other.

A guy in our circle would enter howling and hooting.  So boisterous that even the furniture would jump up.  But an aunt of mine, would actually bang chairs or stools herself with a bull-dozer entry.

Apart from that, her eyes would swim all over the house, looking for unfinished tasks, messy tables or kitchen and declare mournfully, “Nothing is taken care of in this house if I go out.”   Her family and maids now laze around when she is not there.  “Anyway she is going to complain and find fault when she returns.”  Predictably, she is never content.

Our school life is incomplete without the memory of the teacher’s classroom entry.  One bangs the duster on the table, “Keep quiet, class.”  As if on cue, all the children raise their voices a few decibels and more pandemonium follows until she changes her strategy.  Another teacher looks enquiringly as she enters.  The children wear fearful or guilty looks, not knowing what incompletion she is going to bring up.  The list is long.

In a selection rehearsal before the great Annual Function, our College principal would watch all the items.  Particularly, for group dances he would ask, “Entry kasha hoyil?”  meaning, ‘how is the entry?’  The item incharge would explain how the groups – split or whole – would make entry from this wing, another wing etc.  Then the dancers would demonstrate.  Corrections were made, logistics taken care of accordingly.  At that time, I used to wonder why this focus on ‘entry’.

Then I paid attention.  In theatre, cinema, public events – the main protagonists’ entry sets the tone for their role and audience involvement through the show.  Who can forget Gabbar’s roaring entry in ‘Sholay’ or Mogambo’s menacing introductory look in ‘Mr.India’? Lot of thought goes into the entry of the hero/heroine in a film/scene/song even as the audience waits, often with bated breath.  Politicians – a lot of homework goes into their entry and they present a carefully cultivated style.

In guidelines laid out for competitive exams, there are lot of suggestions on how to enter the personal interview room.  Attention is drawn to the smallest detail like how you should brush back your hair as you enter, apart from how you look at the panel members, which direction to smile, how to hold your shoulders and so on.

I wonder what others think of my entry?  Only they can say.  Meanwhile, I exit.

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