Monday, November 14, 2005

Ticking away

Apparently we’re all short on time. Our lives are so full, so busy and so wonderful that we no longer have time to – well do anything.

There was a time when our mothers and grandmothers would head out to the market, haggle with vendors and return bearing tiny mangos, lime and maahali. They would sit outside and make jar after jar of pickle. Once a year the children would stand guard on the terrace – mobile scarecrows that shooed away the crows brave enough to inch their way towards sheets of drying vadaam.

Good skin and hair were things that took a healthy diet, weekly oil baths and massages to achieve.

Love was the outcome of years spent peeking through the bedroom window at the boy or girl next door. Or waiting at the turn of your of the road watching the object of your affections head to tuition. It meant spending hours at Landmark finding the perfect card with just the right amount of hearts, puppies and synonyms for love on it.

But who has the time for all these things? Today it’s meal in minutes, better skin in 2 weeks, yoga in bed, speed dating, crash courses and quickies in the elevator. (And if you don’t have time for that there’s always the power shower.)

Now this isn’t some rant to get people back to making pickle at home. This isn’t a call to get back to the good ol’ days. That would mean tights and Doc Martens. And that wasn’t a great look on me - or anyone else for that matter. This isn’t even a call to people to slow down and sample life’s simple pleasures.

All I’m wondering is this. What is that we’re doing that’s taking up so much of our time?

We aren’t in deep Tibet finding ourselves. Reading Deepak Chopra over a latte is more popular than sitting in a commune somewhere eating bean sprouts and not taking any hot showers.

We aren’t spending years training our minds and bodies to be focused and flexible. There’s Meditation for Dummies and Speed Tai Chi for that.

We certainly aren’t sunning ourselves on the back porch and making pickles that are as hot as the neighbourhood gossip. The only ladies who do that are a certain Priya and Ruchi. (And I have a very sneaky feeling that they’re men in safari suits.)

So what’s taking up all our time? Work? Has the ladder of success turned in to one of those giant exercise wheels that hamsters and mice are forever running on? Are we spending so much time trying to get ahead that everything else in our lives has been relegated to the instant category?

So what you say. What’s the harm in jumping the line a bit? Why can’t we find love in a 60 seconds? What’s wrong with looking for beauty in a jar? Nothing really.

But then today morning I spotted a woman on the train reading "A crash course in Paediatrics".
And there’s something very unsettling about that.


Sunil said...

we probably spend all our time thinking about getting ahead.

And reading good blogs :-)

Mridula said...

There is this book called 'Faster,' but I am forgetting the author. After reading your post, I can say I you are bound to enjoy it, if you have not read it already. The book says to save time, people type 88 on a microwave instead of 90! Can you imagine that?

San said...

we just need to manage our time better - besides for most of us our mothers and grandmothers weren't working the crappy hours we have to work :( and love just came after marriage ... sighs *that was the life* :)

what a crash course in Paediatrics .. where the hell do you meet such random ppl :o

Shyam said...

Crash course in pediatrics? Goes with the "medical practice" of doctors...

TomCruiseChellum said...

Irresistible. That is TCChellumm cannot resist commenting U know he does not write blogs himself-- sort of Corporate Policy)
It is 6-30 AM here in Chennai. I have just completed the morning ritual of making filter coffee (for self and Mrs Tom Cruise). The ritual took all of one hour.Small filter/divine flavour. Coffee with just about enough froth at the rim of your tumbler with a touch of golden hue here and there. Smaller/diviner you may say.
We have the big open mouthed filter which will give you a good filter coffee in about 20 minutes.
And then we have Nescafe/Bru/Sunrise et all which give just hot coffee flavoured water.INSTANTLY.
Do you have the patience to make filter coffee ?
Come to think of it, this idea of instant vs not so instant can be converted into a best seller. Like the Monk who sold his Ferrari, let us have a Mami who Made Filter Kapi.
Bye the way methinks that the person who was taking a crash course in paediatrics was a Poli Doctor!

Übermaniam said...

Mridula, it's faster by james glieck. and it's anything but a quick read :-) Mr. TomcruiseChellum, you're so full of shit. Welcome to the club. Shoe, your company doesn't become you. A true writer. Phew, I'm done.

Übermaniam said...

Power shower. Nice.

The ramblings of a shoe fiend said...

sunil - i think the latter is infinitely better :)

mridula - will def check it out! can't see what diff 2 extra mins will make to someones life - unless their running a marathon that is!

sangeeta - on the train! and i dont 'meet' them - they're just sitting there.

shyam - :D

tc - thanks! you've just given me the name to my memoirs - the mami who made filter kapi sounds wonderful!

me-unplugged said...

And we always tend to do more than one thing at a time... I don't know if you've seen lot of women cutting veggies, shelling peas in the sub urban trains in Mumbai..
but a crash course in pediatrics??!! takes the cake!

ammani said...

Funny you should say that, daily unusual. You twisted piece of s**t

apu said...

slowness is a dying art form, in most cases. Except in cases where one needs to procrastinate. In which case, I am damn good at it.

Premalatha said...


(ammani, Me too thinks power shower is nice. loll (can't really control my laughter)

chappan said...

I'm getting neither the quickies in the elevator nor the deal with the power shower. Damn, am I missing or am I MISSING???

Mridula said...

No No No you got it all wrong, it is not to save two full minutes, it is to save the nano seconds (is there something like it?) by not moving the finger from 9 to 0 but just to type 88, that does not require lifting the finger. It is the reheating process the book was talking about in this example. Sorry, I was not articulate enough before.

TomCruiseChellum said...

Ammanikku oru "o" podu

Übermaniam said...

Glad you got that out of your system sis. And Tomcruise, sorry about that you coawardly piece of crap. Ah, that feels better. Btw, great blog, ammami.

LAK said...

100% agree with you---we are running fast nowhere. Urban housewives in India---their lives are a bundle of contradictions. I make filter coffee and three breakfasts for a family of five. I make pickles, because I have the luxury of a cook who'll take care of the meal. That leaves me free to make 'specials' like pickles, sweets, cakes and ice-cream. I will not lift a finger to dust, sweep, mop, but will go and sweat it out at the gym and aerobics classes. The list goes on---

charu said...

ah yes, now I know why the sad face on my "normal is..." post. what is this life if full of care and so on and so forth. completely agree. I dont have time to READ any more. I am only earning more money so I can buy more books that I dont have time to read. sob.

MumbaiGirl said...

Funny I was just talking to someone about making homemade pickles in the ceramic jars still lying at home and how I would never have the time to make them.

me-unplugged said...

Mumbaigirl, you are talking about not having time to make pickles in ceramic jars, I know people who don't have the time to sample what is sent across from granny's small town soaked in love... very sad! sigh!

... said...

The "Pediatrics" thing surely is very disconcerting. Where are we headed? I am sure the next generation would be writing about how nice it was when "people spend 2-3 minutes cooking, yoga-ed in bed and spent time reading crash courses in pediatrics” as opposed to “eating all meals in restaurants, quickies being a form of exercise and pediatrics? What is pediatrics?” Western countries are already experiencing falling birth rates. And surprisingly, this is slowly beginning to happen even in the educated class of India. And every generation is going to feel that the next generation is going to miss out on so many things. I was worried sick about how my niece would feel since she has no siblings. We are three of us and I kept thinking that she is missing out on all the fun that siblings have together. But I realize now that if you never have experienced something, you will never know it, and thus you will never miss it.

Dreamvendor said...

Neat. Picturesque... brings back the sepia tone and black and white images right in front of your eyes... the market, the chatting of those ladies at the backyard while making some thing or other to eat, there was so much of togetherness now... the walls were invisible... now each one wants to lock up in their own room.. their own world....

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