Suresh Menon

Our colum­nist says lazi­ness is hard work.

Friday - - Editor’s Letter -

Where some things are con­cerned, I have been hid­ing my light un­der a bushel for so long I sus­pect that it has been ex­tin­guished. What things could th­ese be, I hear you ask.

Well, fix­ing the fuse, for one; or driv­ing a car for another. When the com­puter packs up, no one in the room goes, “Hey, let’s ask that ge­nius Suresh to fix it.” It is more like, “Any­one – and I am not ask­ing you, Suresh – know how to han­dle this thing?”

Usu­ally I don’t even fig­ure in the con­ver­sa­tion. I am left alone, like a child in a room where the adults are dis­cussing fi­nan­cial mat­ters. Or analysing the lat­est Tarantino movie.

To be in­volved is good if you are into that sort of thing, but to avoid is bet­ter still, and I have been per­fect­ing the art since I was a child. While grow­ing up, some of us sang, oth­ers danced, some did maths in their heads; my gift was for avoid­ing work. The only catch is that if you are re­ally good at it, then no one no­tices, and you don’t get any credit.

The trick is to mess things up ini­tially – you will never be asked again to check un­der the hood of a car or change a light bulb or buy vegetables.

My friend, the for­mer crick­eter Rahul Dravid, has got the tech­nique down pat. On his re­tire­ment, some­one asked him if his wife now ex­pected him to go gro­cery shop­ping. “I will, maybe once or twice, for the sake of form,” he said. “But I in­tend to get things so wrong I will never be asked again.”

No won­der he made thou­sands of runs in in­ter­na­tional cricket. He knew how to elim­i­nate the inessen­tial.

My tech­nique is slightly dif­fer­ent. I elim­i­nate the es­sen­tial. If there is a form to be filled in, or a wall to be drilled, or a chicken to be grilled, I am the one with the ex­per­tise (and the ex­cuse) not to do any of it. But give me any­thing that in­volves sit­ting in an arm­chair, do­ing some think­ing and oc­ca­sion­ally nod­ding my head, and I am your man.

Want to know if Cuba should mend fences with Amer­ica (or vice versa) or if In­dia should send a mis­sion to Mars, and I can tell you with­out miss­ing a beat. Catch me on a good day and I might even give you my opin­ion on the lat­est Bol­ly­wood film, es­pe­cially if I haven’t seen it.

In my book, lazi­ness is next to clean­li­ness, and we know what that is next to. The only thing is, it doesn’t come eas­ily. Some­times you have to work at be­ing lazy, and that takes all the fun out of it.

To be in­volved is good if you are into that sort of thing, but I find that to avoid is bet­ter still

Suresh Menon is a writer based in In­dia. In his youth he set out to change the world but later de­cided to leave it as it is

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UAE

© PressReader. All rights reserved.