Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Best Regards,

I sat on the email for several seconds impatiently, for I was finding the right way to end it.  I had taken less than a few seconds to compose the body of the message.  When you are doing something, you don't realize how fast time takes you through, but when you are sitting and staring at the screen as though waiting for a miracle, even the seconds hand of the clock ceases to move, and it is as though the whole world has come to a standstill.  Notice that in both the cases, the action lasts only for a few seconds, and the effect is different in both the cases, mainly due to the streak of impatience and restlessness attributed to my behavior. 

Signing off an email is definitely an arduous task.  If you are writing to close friends, there will obviously be no addressing and signing.  Many a time, the subject line will convey the intended message (which I do very often), and so, there is never a problem with the body or signature of the message.  To sign off letters when composing mails to the other extreme end of the spectrum is not that hard either.  In case of formal communication, it is very easy to end your communication with any of the following,

Rgds/ Regards/ Best Regards/ With best regards

 Illustration courtesy MAK

But of course, it is altogether a different deal that the time taken to formulate a formal communication is much more painful time than worrying about the signature.  In other words, signing off is the last consideration in a careful much thought about framework.  That's what I thought!  It is only recently that I realized that people take a much longer time to decide on Thanks or Regards or sign off with just the name.

There is a different section of your mailing list, where you have a relationship with the group that treads on informal yet not a very close set.  You contact this long lost friend with a tinge of request attached (read with a few strings attached),

Hi xyz,
What's going on at your end? I need to get in touch with abc.  Can you pass on his number? Thanks!

Now, here comes the problem.  I think for a few, very few, ok, very very few seconds to get that perfect sign off.  Should it be Take care/ Thanks/ Cheers/ Rgds or whatever?

Take care does not sound right, clearly because, he has not gone into a state of coma and battling for his life.  Who am I to ask him to take care of himself? I am not even his family doctor.  Man, this does not sound right!

What about Thanks? Oh, come on, he is not sending me a cheque worth five thousand dollars.  He is not saving my life by getting me this guy's phone number.  Moreover, it will be like thanking him a lot (I have already included one in the email.  I mean I really want to thank him!) for as trivial a thing as getting a simple phone number.  Knowing me, he might be aghast, and lose his sleep worrying about whether I am going to ask him for more favors.  God, save the embarrassment!

Cheers has never sounded good to me for whatever reason.  I have never had the habit of ending my mails with a cheers, though that is a rather popular sign off note with most of my friends.  I don't have anything against a bit of happiness, but just that, it does not suit my sign off style.

Love! I have seen a few people use Love indiscriminately.  I don't mind getting that sign off from the opposite sex, but for a fellow guy, come on, I tend to reserve my judgment about these things.

Sometimes, not having a sign off is the best option.  But then, it is like a dangling pointer with just your name hovering around in oblivion.  It does not fit nicely with your personality.  It sounds rude to the receiver.

Finally, I figure after a few seconds, that it is not worth thinking so much about a signature, and I end my email with a neat little four letter word that will leave everyone happy,