Living in the Rush Hour
Aasha Mehreen Amin
Life has become one big rush and 24 hours is just not enough to get everything done. Even if you cut down on sleep to say, two or three hours, there still isn't enough time. No matter how well you plan out the day, despite all the little 'to do' lists, the alarms on the cell phone, the red marked reminders on the day planners, you end the day with that awful sticky feeling of guilt for not being able to do something. So how do we cope with this endless rush that makes us forget to even breathe at times?
The traffic situation, of course, has only amplified this curse although it has also given us a great excuse for being an hour late for a meeting, for giving lousy, paltry presents for someone's anniversary, birthday or farewell, for visiting patients after they have returned to their hale and hearty state, for arriving at the milad just when the sweets are being distributed... Despite the scepticism we may evoke, the truth is that sometimes we really do try to get there on time and do the right thing but Time just does not let us. A certain group of individuals will claim that it's all about time management. These people have their whole day carefully planned out, they always look well-groomed, relaxed and never have the steam-rolled rag doll look even at the end of the day. One cannot help but ask oneself: Are they even human?
Meanwhile, the rest of us mere mortals are stumbling into one task after the other. No matter how many items we cross out from the list, there are always a few more that rush in like little poison darts piercing our already burnt out selves.
This is why sometimes we go to bizarre lengths trying our best to keep up with demonic Time. Say you are finishing an assignment on the computer after about five power cuts when suddenly you realise you must iron clothes, shower, wear clothes, maybe sneak in a few morsels into your mouth and then reach the office all in half an hour; by the way you are already an hour late. The perfectionist will of course have had her clothes pressed the night before (her closet is probably filled with neatly hanged saris and shalwar kameez all in order of colour and category with accessories down to the earrings all matched and waiting in little silver boxes). But if you are in the other category things are a bit more complicated.
Ironed clothes become an impossibility at this stage so the other option is to yank out things that may smell a little musty after being in the closet for a lonely year and a half -- a georgette sari if you're lucky and if there are sequins just tell them you are going to a wedding afterwards, or a shalwar kameez with intricate patterns so no one can tell it's all wrinkled. Showers of course should not be sacrificed but they must be cut short (just mix the conditioner, shampoo and soap together and apply to relevant areas). Once inside whatever vehicle you can find yourself in, you can complete the rest of your dressing up: go to the window or door on each side and shift appropriately to dry both sides of the hair; quickly brush hair and apply eyeliner at the signal and only when the vehicle is at a standstill, doing this in a moving vehicle could make you look like an over made-up zombie. Then if there is more time, try to finish as many social or official calls while in the vehicle, some of you could also get married over the phone. If you are going to a party, buy present, wrapping paper, scotch tape and scissors (if you were a perfectionist you would have all this in a kit hanging from the dashboard), tear off scotch tape with teeth and stick them on the door of the vehicle, wrap present, if it is in some irritating shape just roll it in the paper and tie the end with a string so it looks like an exotic pineapple.
Statutory Warning: do remember to put away the scissors so you do not sit on them later and look out for pieces of dirty scotch tape hanging from your clothes, shoes or hair when coming out of the vehicle. Also in case you are going to more than one party, do remember which present goes where. You don't want to give your boss's wife a newborn baby gift set. It might send the wrong message.
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