Remember Maggi commercials and the eternal promise of making noodles in 2-minutes ? I adore the commercial yet have never met anyone who claims to cook it in 2-minutes. It got me thinking – Are we really not concerned about time?
Being late and delaying stuff was a part of growing up for me until I started working and visiting places. Seriously, it is disheartening to see many of us regardless of education, cast, creed and other exceptions are always delaying things. We always say bas, 5 min aur!
The irony is that we are very consistent throughout every sector in being late and procrastinating things and more often than not being proud of it. There is even a FB group dedicated to us for that!
Let’s see how our various sections of our society share this “proud” habit.
Administrators (aka politicians/judiciary etc.)
Oh yes! All of us criticize them. And why not, after all they set the example for us. Whether it’s implementing the promises in manifesto or setting up infrastructure in rural India delays are ubiquitous. The vicious cycle of babudom and the time taken in transferring files from one department to other has time and again proved to be detrimental for our country.
Consider our “awesome” judiciary system in Kasab’s case. To show you a small example of how much we can waste time, Kasab’s trial was delayed over and over again and it cost (and still is!) around Rs. 9 lakh per day. People might argue there was an investigation etc. but hey you know what, he was the guy murdering in cold blood and that has been captured on video. If this isn’t an example of wasting time to the extreme then what is?
I was in Bangalore this summer and trust me I didn’t meet a single small business worker who had an urgency to work, to perform and to be as productive as they can. While at home, I waited for the plumber, the electrician, the phone and Internet connection guy. Outside the home I waited in banks, post offices, and even doctors’ offices. So much so that it often took restaurants about 30 min to serve food! I don’t know how to quantify the time wasted and business lost in these activities but I hope they do the math soon and fix the system on which they do business.
I am sure we all have come across in our offices people who stay late at night. They typically come in at 11am and leave around 11pm. I remember how I was frowned upon as I left office at 7. The truth is for working efficiently and timely you shouldn’t take 1 hour lunch break, couple of 30min coffee breaks, and smoking breaks. And yeah, there are TT, gym and newspaper breaks too!
What’s really surprising is that these are the people who complaint about how their janitor wastes time and why their maids is always late. Moreover, every appraisal cycle these people have the most negative feelings about their bosses and cohorts because of their perception that they stay late but are not paid for! Reality check: It’s important to work productively rather than stay in office! The amount of time professionals waste has been affecting the corporate clients and often results in losing one.
We, the common man:
I was getting ready for a party which was supposed to start at 8. My friend started mocking me and said that I am a moron because I will be arriving on time!!! It’s a part of our culture to be late in parties and informal dinners.
Reason? To show-off that we are important, busy and have a hectic life. That’s sick because it means wasting your time as well as not paying respect to others. I have seen people in United States and how they manage probably every hour of their day and make the best use of it. Being late is considered offensive and irresponsible and rightly so. Our habit of not respecting time has made us insensitive to time. Politicians and other administrators exploit this habit and procrastinate realizing that we are use to it.
The story doesn’t end here. Students are late for classes, teachers are late for lectures, dealers are late in supplies, public transport is consistently late, even emergency doctors are late! The only thing that is on time is procrastination.
While on one extreme we see people loitering around aimlessly or engaging in conversation with total strangers on the other we see people jostling and pushing at bus stops and vegetable markets, as if their time is most precious in this country and it’s absolutely critical to reach their destinations or completing their tasks in record time. The contrast in attitude towards time is no different from the other spectacular disparities that are so stereotypical of Indian life. However, I think we should soon get rid of the famous concept of Indian Standard Time (IST) or it going to all pervasive and make our children even more time insensitive.
Whats more frustrating is that dealing with IST in daily life is impossible because your life is so intimately dependent on people around you. Both at work and outside, I find myself alone and helpless, racing beside the vast majority that slowly marches on at a completely different pace.
Grow up India, it’s not uber-cool to be late!