Sunday, August 29, 2010

Time and Tide – Sorry, I’m late

     “Punctuality is the virtue of the bored.” - Evelyn Waugh.



     Someone once remarked that IST was originally an acronym for Indian Stretchable Time. Are we Indians so bad when it comes to respecting (more likely disrespecting) the value of time? Read on to unveil the greatest myth of the new era.
     The discovery of time was the biggest mistake. Why do we need a device to measure (and magnify) our slowness? A large sect of today’s population has the notion that if you're there before it's over, you're well on time. And it’s true to a large extent. The reason being that no one important is ever present to appreciate your punctuality. As a kid, my teachers emphasized on the virtues of character, punctuality, discipline and etiquettes. Strangely enough, I’ve reported to half a dozen people in my corporate life. And only one of them stressed on punctuality (do I have to provide an explanation for the rest of them?).
     My dad is very strict when it comes to punctuality. He wakes up every morning at 6, has breakfast at half-past eight, lunch at 1 and dinner at half-past eight in the night. He goes to sleep at 10 (some days are exceptions). Growing up, I didn’t have much of a choice to deter from this routine. For the simple reason that I wasn’t allowed to skip breakfast and breakfast wasn’t served beyond 9. The same laws (universal laws at home) were applied for lunch and dinner as well. And what do I get for being punctual? A lot of loneliness and more than enough time to spare, time being wasted (it would offend people if I called my time precious; a lot of them think I’m highly jobless). Moreover, my best friends are never on time (Sigh!).
     A couple of years back, I would hate going out on lunches with friends. If lunch was scheduled for 1, most of them would leave the house at quarter to 2. Nevertheless, a friend would chide me always for being punctual (sighs again). The excuses would be endless (reminds me of the new mentos ad on the radio). Traffic (for Bangaloreans, that’s the most convenient one), lost the way (you’d have to find it before losing it), blah.. blah.. Long story cut short, the punch line comes through, “we’re really hungry, let’s order something quickly.” Right! Quickly!!
     And then I fell in love. And on my first date, I realized the value of time. Because I was kept waiting for three-quarters of an hour (ever seen a caged lion?? I would come mighty close to being one). It happened the next time and the third time as well. And finally it dawned on me, If you can’t beat ‘em, might as well join them.



     “The while we keep a man waiting, he reflects on our shortcomings….”

P.S: Barring the last instance, this holds true for everyone else (would hate to lose my #1 reader).

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