Monday, June 07, 2010

Work fascinates me. I can watch it for hours.

This morning, I went out wearing my canary yellow T-shirt with the “Work fascinates…” legend emblazoned across the chest. That, by the way, is not “by the way”. I’m upset at the way Mumbai opens up for work later and later as time goes by. As late as the early eighties, shops in our neighbourhood used to be open by 8 am. Now you can count yourself as lucky if the shutter is up by 9. By one of those bizarre happenstances, all my chores today got done earlier than I had thought and despite taking a really leisurely walk via Khotachi Wadi to my final chore I reached the spot 45 minutes too early. There was no alternative – no good bookshop within easy reach – to while away the time on hand. So I strolled aimlessly through a sudden but brief cloudburst around the once familiar neighbourhood most of which seemed so alien thanks to the new shops and new multistoried buildings. I finally landed up in the Cosmopolitan Restaurant & Stores for a cup of tea. After taking my order, the lady who now seems to be in charge of the Irani Café started scolding someone for being late. He happened to be the man from the raddiwala there to collect the used cardboard cartons and plastic bottles for recycling. His lame excuse for being late was the cloudburst I mentioned earlier. I watched him as he went about his task systematically while I sipped my tea. He seemed to be good at it the way he unhurriedly undid every carton and flattened it out to arrange layer on layer. It took him as long to finish his chore as it did me to finish my cuppa: all of fifteen minutes. My last chore saw me again admiring someone taking ten minutes and a lot of chitchat on the side to do a job that should have taken no more than two minutes at the most. That’s the way the cookie crumbles these days, I reckon.