Life in a faster lane…
There is no doubt about it. We live a fast world. We are obsessed with an overwhelming need to save time. We want fast cars, fast food, express freeways, accelerated growth plans, quick answers, speedy remedies, executive summaries, swift justice, express deliveries, snappy comebacks, instant messages, quick routes, minimal delays, fast-tracked careers, expedited reports, rapid progressions, immediate solutions, swift replies, and in the workplace, we tend to end mails with ‘ASAP’.
People forget that sometimes, you have to stop to smell the roses. Of course, it doesn’t help that we can’t seem to find roses aplenty in the city.But does that mean we can ignore the need for enjoying the small pleasures of life? Maybe the solution is not ignoring the luxury of leisure. Maybe we should just grow some roses of our own. The rose here is more than a flower. It is a concept. It is a speed-breaker; an anti-haste agent; a red sign in the traffic signal of the sinews of…
Dang! I’m pretty sure I drifted off to a random tangent somewhere up there, but damned if I know where. Darned random tangents! I gotta get back on track here…
Now what track was I on? Oh, yeah. Our postmodern hyperspeed culture…. Now, don’t get me wrong; I am not averse to technology. Oh, no. I am one of the most vocal advocates for efficiency. Hey, I’m an engineering graduate. Boosting efficiency is a psychedelic high for me. It may make me weird, but at least I don’t have to shell out drug money. So what, you may ask, is the reason for my sudden attack on speed?
Some of you may have guessed that I’m talking about traffic. I have to admit that’s not a far fetched thought. In this fair city, people drive with reckless abandon… Many of our cars are driven by brain-dead chimpanzees with drinking disorders. At least, I HOPE they are chimpanzees. If they are actual human beings, I have serious doubts about the theory of evolution. And they are not the worst threat to our traffic. Not by a long margin. Not while my friends, the auto drivers are around.
Grown men could pee in their pants seeing how the deft auto-driver rolls over sideways from an apparently bottlenecked traffic jam, veers off into a parallel lane, and does stunts that would make John Woo jump up and say “No way. They must be using wires to do this trick.” No, you may NOT assume that I have peed in my pants. I have NOT. It was just a figure of speech. Honest.
We DO have traffic problems, but with the bumper-to-bumper traffic that characterizes rush hour for us, it SPEED is rarely a problem here. So, no. I wasn’t talking about traffic.
Weekends are a time of sluggish laze. I try to savour the moment by staying in bed and snore in joyous cacophony until my brother kicks me off the bed with one solid swoop, reminding me ever so subtly that I can never be sure whether or not he may be taking karate lessons. And I try to ensure that the same sluggish atmosphere is maintained in all activities.
Weekend lunch time is typically spent in specially swank restaurants, where elegant waiters take care of everything but chewing the food and paying the bill. But not today, oh, no.
My brother and I went to a reputed Chinese restaurant. We had been there before… and had received decent, though not extraordinary service at those times. But today, the staff was running around like demons possessed. It was like be-a-superhero day for them. Every time a table gave their order, the waiters seem to think ‘This is a job… for Superman‘. Waiters and managers were flying from table to table at superspeed, banging dishes on the tables, slapping portions into individual plates, and clearing tables in the blink of an eye, sometimes even before the customers get up from their chairs. Sure, on and off, they spilled water, messed up some dishes, and scattered the toothpicks when they slammed it on the table, but that’s a small price to pay for getting the customers to vacate their chairs so that others may get to stare at the same service. You don’t see superman apologizing for spilling water as he whizzes by, do you?
And by the time we were almost done, we had the check ready and at the table. This was good. But the manager checking every fifteen seconds if I had left my credit card for him to collect… that was not… They were so hurried up that if they had the legal option, they would have shoveled the chop suey right down our throats, pocketed the money, and kicked us out while still smiling enigmatically.
This would have been ok if it was a fast food joint. It wasn’t. Dining isn’t just about quenching hunger; fine dining is an experience. Of course, there are times when you need to somersault right into your dish and glug it up like you were trying to break a record, but that shouldn’t be your default setting.
Like most things in life, if you don’t spend time on something properly, time will spend you.