A Mid Week Holiday.

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I was taking a mid morning nap yesterday when my friend Raman woke me up with a phone call from Secunderabad. He was on an enforced holiday, it being Gandhi Jayanti.

The year 2013 so far has had many such midweek holidays and Raman has been evangelical about making it a permanent feature as he finds it, shall we say rejuvenating, for lack of a better word. Having woken me up, he held forth on his idea which he is spreading with evangelical zeal among many young people.

I of course told him that for me there are no mid week or end of the week holidays as every day is, or not, depending on how I want to treat it. He has some distance to go before he reaches there, but reach he will and before he does that, he wants to pass the baton on to younger zealots to pass on the message.

Since I find that he reads my blog posts, I want to share some other information with him. My long time readers know of my fascination with synchronicity and here it is at play again. Just last week I was reading an article on less number of working hours per week in the Economist which traces the history back to the philosopher Bertrand Russell and the economist Maynard Keynes. That article concludes that working less may actually be of benefit and thus Raman’s zeal is not all that bizarre!

In their marvelous book How Much is Enough?: Money and the Good Life, the father and son team of economist / philosopher Robert and Edward Skidelsky also talk about this idea in great detail and perhaps the time has come for this great idea of working less but more productively, to get the attention that it surely deserves.

Punctuality.

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“I am a puritan on the issue of punctuality: 15 minutes before the movies, 20 minutes before theater, two hours or more before a flight, 30 minutes before an intercity train, etc.”

You can read a really funny piece of writing from Kevin D. Williamson here.

That is me alright.  Much to the dismay and frustration of many in my life, I am disgustingly punctual. This is considered to be high treason by my countrymen for who Indian Standard Time, affectionately known as Indian Stretchable Time is just a guide post to give a vague direction to an appointment.

I however take revenge whenever I can by acting very responsibly. For instance, if I observe someone in a restaurant constantly looking at her/his watch impatiently, I generally go across and say something like “s/he is not worth the trouble. If s/he can’t be punctual, for a date, imagine what it will be like when you are all dressed up and waiting at the altar!” I generally get a smile and an acknowledgement, but Indians will be Indians and that person would simply sit around and twiddle her.his thumb till the date landed up with nary an explanation! At least now with the advent of the mobile phone, some conversation does take place between them or perhaps with someone else to while away the time, but if you don’t have a phone, it could be a fascinating experience to present for others.

My son’s wedding was to have been officially conducted by a Registered Hindu Priest, who would be expected to affix his stamp with Registration Number and sign on a dotted line in a form filled up with other details of the persons getting married. We had arranged for a priest to come at 1200 noon so that the ceremony could be over with, and the families could have some time together before moving out for lunch which was booked at a restaurant for 1.00 pm. The priest simply stretched the time and I had to get all the guests to go for lunch on time and stayed behind to get the signature. He eventually came at 2.00 pm and I was able to just make it to lunch as the guests were settling down for dessert.

Just part of our life and nothing to get excited about or blow a gasket for.

I have a delightful young friend, let me call her Ash who will ring me up and fix an appointment to meet up with me and will inevitably be late by at least an hour and often more. On one occasion she made it on time and it was such an unforgettable occasion that we celebrated.

Another one pulled a real puzzle on me just a week ago when we were to meet for a late lunch at 3.00 pm and after carefully arranging various activities between 1.00 and 2.30 pm which included some shopping and a meeting with a friend, I got a call informing me that she was already at the restaurant and where the hell was I? Okay she was ahead of time by over an hour, but would that mean that she was punctual? Can someone give a reasonable answer to that puzzle?

I will of course send links to this post to these two ladies and hopefully they will offer their comments too.