Sunday, April 28, 2013

Modern living is a coordination nightmare!

Modern living has become one big coordination nightmare.

We make calls to see who is picking up our kid at what time. We make one or two reminder and confirmation calls. "Just called to remind you to pick him up. Don't forget!" ...... and then call again to say "Sorry, I forgot to ask you to pick up some bananas on your way!" If we somehow thought 'Ok, since now everything is taken care of, we can take a break and go use the bathroom', we hear the phone ring in the living room. We return the missed call to hear this "They don't have bananas, are papayas ok?"

We make calls to move around our appointments and schedules because someone's plan changed or something unexpected happened. "My maid didn't show up today. Can we meet at 3 pm instead? .... Ok, call and let me know, preferably within the next 10 minutes. Based on that, I need to reschedule a few other things."

We make calls to friends to schedule a time (in the midst of our and their busy days coordinating various pick-ups, drops and schedulings) to squeeze in an hour to just catch up. "Is tomorrow 4 pm a good time to call? It shouldn't take more than an hour."..... "Oh, sure. But I might have to hang up at 5 sharp, because I need to be somewhere else at 5.30!"

We make calls to check if someone who has promised to meet us is actually on their way or not, just to be sure. If they aren't, then we need to move around our plans by calling up other people you see! "Just calling to see if you left home. When do you think you'll get here?"

When we decide to meet in busy public places, we make a few calls to see how far each of us has reached, where the car / bike can be pulled over, how many minutes away are we. "Hey, I told you I'd pull over opposite the bank. But it is too crowded there. You come another 20 metres down and you'll see me there!"

The lives of mothers of children whose school, play dates, classes, shopping, etc. need to be coordinated are the most complicated of them all.

'Coordination' is probably one of the most energy-draining activities of urban humans. We have lost our ability to 'just wake up, walk around, do some work, smile and laugh, welcome surprise visitors (without feeling embarassed or annoyed, depending on where we are at that point), make surprise visits, and be!'

I'm sure we are smart enough to figure out a better way to live!

Sequel: Learning to be and welcome an athithi

2 comments:

Sw. Raaj Neeravo said...

In India we have a very beautiful word for guest, no other language has that word. It is ATITHI. It means: one who comes without giving any previous information, one who comes without giving any date that he is coming. ATITHI means 'without date'; he has no date with you, he simply comes and knocks at the door. But we who are so mad and obsessed about security, we have even killed guests. If a guest comes he has first to inform you and ask for permission to come -- because you have to make room for him and you have to make arrangements. Nobody can just suddenly knock at your door.

In the West, the guest has completely disappeared; even if he comes, he stays in a hotel. The guest is no more because the West is more obsessed with security than the East. Of course, because of that obsession they have accumulated more wealth, more securities, more bank balances. Everything is insured, but the man is dead. Now no ATITHI, now no stranger knocks at your door, the unknown has stopped coming to you. Everything has become known so you move in a vicious circle of the known. From one known you go to another known, from that known to another, and then you say: Why has life got no meaning?

_ OSHO (from the book "When the Shoe Fits")

rakshasi said...

Hi Sangeetha, couldn't resist replying to this one!

What truly amazes me in my neighbourhood is that whenever I go to someone's house they insist that I come in. Even if I have just come to return a box or convey some info (for some reason we still tend to do this in person) before they hear or receive anything they first say repeatedly, "come, sit" until I do so. Recently I have figured out that if I trump their insistence with my own, I can get away with speaking from the door and going back home but this takes considerable preparation and determination on my part to do so.

I am not really used to insisting that someone come in - I say, "come on in,' and if they don't, but just keep talking, I don't press it. I just listen at the door. Sometimes the conversations go on for a while and then a different dynamic sets in - at that point if I say, "come on in," they will say, "no actually I have to go." So I dare not say it at that time (unless I actually have to go).