Friday, July 8, 2005

O, I just don't have time!

That's one excuse -- or rather a reason, justifiable or not -- we always have for not keeping up a promise or commitment. I have been asking myself how true is that. Are we really short of time? Or, is it that our planning is so bad that we don't find time for important things? Or, is it that some things just don't interest us?

VG is a typical citizen of New Bangalore whom I know well: an Information Technology Professional. After studying in IIT, he walked into a US university, landed a plum job and spent some 15 years there. A year back, he accepted, after prolonged contemplation, a lucrative offer of a very reputed MNC to relocate to the comforts of Bangalore as the head of worldwide operation of a segment of the company.

Whenever I talk to his proud father and mother, I enquire about VG. "O, he has just no time," they tell me, with a tone of disappointment or frustration, I am unable to make out. "He has no time to talk to us even. Even on Saturday he has to go to his office. Sunday is the only holiday. On that day also he keeps getting phone calls and is constantly on the phone and laptop. Lack of time has become a real problem."

On a Sunday, I went to their house, after prior appointment. But, he wasn't there. He had gone to check out a house he planned to buy. I spent time talking to his parents. After an hour or so, he landed up. After those usual... "O, where have you been..." "It's a long, long time since we met..." we settled down. Easily we slipped into that familiar topic of US v/s India.

My interest in him is that he is, as I referred to him, a typical New Bangalorean: one of those who have been instrumental in altering the social and economic contours of this once-laid-back Bangalore. More about the New Bangalorean on another day.

Within 10 minutes of starting a conversation with him, the phone rang. It was a call for VG. He rushed upstairs. I waited another 10 minutes. It was time for me to go. I don't know when he freed himself from whoever had called. That 10 minutes was the only meeting I had with him in the last one year!

Even after a prior appointment, he had no time. I am simply curious about this guy. What is the work he does? Who calls him with such urgency that he can't even tell him that he will call back after half an hour?

It is not about planning, it is about prioritising. You give priority to things you like doing. X may sit and watch TV, forgetful of the fact that he has to complete a project report. The next day, may be X sits and chats with his friend, again forgetting about the report. On the third day, may be X is up to something else.

I am sure such things happen to all of us. And we crib. O, there is just no time for anything!

After belting out "I have no time" excuse for long, and lately realising the hollowness of that, I have started trying to prioritise things. And, I try my very best not to tell anyone, "I didn't get time.... (for example) to write the report."

Back to VG. As I said, you give priority to things you like doing. And, it's quite obvious, meeting me and spending half and hour with me, has not been important for him at all during the past one year, at least. If at all he has a priority list (quite possible he has, going by his career profile), I must be way down on that.

It's slaves and bonded labourers who have no time, because someone else dictates their lives. Don't we all have some freedom to control our lives at least to some extent? Or are we slaves? Slaves of what? How different are from bonded labourers?

If you finished reading this (so far) 689-word piece, it is not just because you had time; more importantly you were interested in reading it. Thanks a lot.

PS: If I have to meet VG, probably I have to pose as a valuable client of his company!


  1. Good post. I guess most of these "I-don't-have-time" persons are just happy in the thought that they have many friends and loyal loved ones without giving an iota of thought about "quality interaction".

  2. Is it because the person is workaholic ? For him, work comes first and all other things next ?