24 hours just never seem to be enough in this city, you know? Every minute, every day feels like you’re running just 10 minutes behind. The one bit I really agreed with this otherwise horrific movie on, was the tightly managed shuffle for space and time. There’s a Rahul (Sharman Joshi) in every Mumbaiker. Managing a social life is always a joke – other people’s or your own!
Careful planning makes it possible to strike up a close friendship, despite the stretched-to-snapping-point schedules. How? There’s the mammoth time-budgeting through the week for the one day when one can get out of office in time to reach place A at the same time as the other person. Of course place A is only the least inconvenient meeting spot for the two people, not necessarily delightful in its sights or other attractions. And then there’s the fact that this rendezvous may happens about 2 minutes away from what is euphemistically known as ‘the ungodly hours’.
But all efforts bear fruit as my date swishes onto the kerb Superman style just as my taxi pulls up or I jump onto the footboard (Spiderwoman like?) of the exact compartment in precisely the same train my friend is taking! Yes! Commuting is indeed a social occasion in Mumbai!
I appease my I-hate-Mondays whininess with the thought that I do after all have a whole lot of people I’m going to be meeting during the week. The fact is that I do. And how surprising is that in a city that’s known for its crowds? Mumbai doesn’t make me particularly religious except when it comes to the near-holy adage that
IdeaSmith proposes, Mumbai disposes
Thus work spillover cuts into drinks with friends, which must be compensated for on another day. But what the hell, there was the half-hour phone call in the middle of the day with buddy about a relationship emergency.
So drinks-with-friends on Tuesday turns into the Wednesday play that you had planned to review on the weekend. Fantastic, you’d never have managed tickets otherwise! That now leaves us with the problem of…ah, what to do with:
- Today’s original plans
- Evening free on weekend
- Person who was supposed to accompany you to the play
You’re just going to have to shift that mid-week coffee with former colleague into an hour-long phone call on the commute tomorrow. And drop best friend a message to explain why your line’s going to be busy and to discuss her new dress with you on email instead.
The second is the least of anyone’s concerns…if a concern at all, since time, like space is at a premium in this city. The last– ah, that’s tricky.
- Movie? (Nothing great showing. Who wants to see SRK’s abs again? And Ranbir Kapoor isn’t that cute)
- Drinks? (Work the next day! “I don’t drink!”, no good pubs in the vicinity)
- Shopping? Works very well if said friend is female. Works reasonably okay if said friend is male and in dire need of new clothes, gift for mum. We trade favours.
- Dinner? Boring option, safe option, but always an option.
- Watch the play again. Last resort but think of it as the price to pay for getting off the guilt of ditching them earlier and their not being able to catch it later.
That’s taken care of. Lock kar diya jaaye. So the first concrete block is laid on your weekend calendar. What of the rest? It’s amazing how quickly things fill up.
There’s the old school friend, now in town whom you haven’t managed to meet in 4 months.
There’s that non-promoted, surprisingly good movie that you must catch, even if you have to get up early to see the morning show.
There’s the city spot that you’ve been dying to visit ever since it stopped raining for photography.
There’s your grand-uncle who you want to sit down and write a real letter to, since email is only a word to him.
There’s shopping for a gift for a birthday around the corner.
There’s errands to be run, bills to be paid, cleaning to be done.
There are also a zillion books to be read and more getting written every day!!!! Honestly, sometimes I worry about how I’m going to find time to buy those books, let alone read them (never mind even afford all of them).
And finally…if there’s an hour free somewhere, there’s always somna for this sleep-deprived populace.
*Sigh* The thing about having a lot of options is that you don’t always get to exercise all of them! Life is about trying though. Always for more.