Friday, December 22, 2006

Just ten minutes

Have you ever experienced the ‘ten more minutes syndrome’? I’m sure you have. There are so many things that we want to do but keep putting off just because we do not have those ten minutes that are required to get them done. I tried making a list of such things and found the list rather long. I then had to shortlist a few that were important to me. I invite all of you to add to this list your own experience and help me compare notes. I do understand that while we endlessly postpone certain things, we never seem to be too busy or tired to attend to some others. I’ve never been able to fully understand why this is so. I leave it to you to come up with answers.

When I started working I was kind of baffled at the thought of cooking for the family, getting three children ready for school and reaching my workplace by public transport at seven in the morning. I managed to do all these things but I never found time to have my breakfast. If only I had ‘ten minutes more’ I’d sigh. The college timing was shifted from 7 o’clock in the morning to 8:00 AM and later to 10:30 AM. Children left home to study and have now settled down in life. I still don’t find time to sit down and have a proper meal in the morning and it is almost certain that I am never going to have the time. I drive to college and my husband has now retired. I still stuff my brunch in a hurry and choke over it. My husband fetches water and gives me a look that says ‘when are you going to learn to be organized? What were you doing since morning?’ I cannot bring myself to admit that I read the newspaper at leisure and worked on my crossword and sudoku. Or that I had a peep into my blog and read my mails. I continue to wish that I had just ‘a little more time’.

I seem to find time to do so many things but I am a bit weird in that I don’t care too much about shopping in general and for myself in particular. I keep postponing and procrastinating and although I can easily pick up the items on my shopper’s list on my way home, I rush back as if I have a two year old crying out for mommy and waiting for me to get home. I don’t seem to have time. Once I reach home and change to a more comfortable attire, nothing in the world can make me get ready to go out again. I wonder if I really managed to put in all those hours doing combined study during my M. Sc. and if the person who attended PT meetings managed the routine bank and post office work was someone else.

I really want to keep a sparkling house with everything in perfect order. I manage to do it once a while. My friends have a way of absenting themselves on those days and landing home when I decide to relax with a book munching peanuts with the empty coffee cup right beside me. I feel like telling them that it was only yesterday that I tidied my kitchen and put away the magazines. With the children away I have to take whole and sole responsibility for a messy house. It may be a good idea to invite friends on the days that I am hit by the cleaning ‘bug’. My friends are rather tolerant and find excuses for me. For my part I always wonder why this is so. It may not be a bad idea to take a few photographs as proof that I am okay and it is they who choose to pop in just when I plan to clean up the house in just ten minutes. I am in awe of people whose house looks swabbed and cleaned throughout the day. I thought of hiring a servant to do it. I gave up the idea because I am very bad at extracting work. I literally apologize when there are extra vessels to wash and advise my servant to ‘do as much as you can’, offering to do the rest myself.

My Christmas break has just begun and I have great plans - the main one being to check on my loft and dispose of all unwanted items that have not been used for the past 14 years. I decide to do so many things during vacations. But summers are ‘hot’ and winters ‘cold’. I remain in the coolest room in summer like a sleepy crocodile and never seem to find time!

Please don’t imagine that I am a lazy person and a real good for nothing. I’d feel lousy if you do. I want to be the perfect mother, wife and teacher. I need ….. Well you’ve guessed it – just ten more minutes!!

Friday, December 01, 2006

Is it not our responsibility?

I happened to listen to an AIDS patient at a training program for teachers conducted by YMCA last week. He was a young man, thirty years old, and, getting over his own agony of being diagnosed as a victim of a dreaded disease, had come forward to warn others about the prevalence of the disease in our society. Having heard that we were teachers dealing with teenagers he had agreed to share his experience and expressed hope that the students whom we dealt with would be counseled by us and they would in turn spread the message among their peer group.

This was not the first time that we had attended a program on AIDS awareness nor were we ignorant about the epidemic levels it is soon expected to reach. What impressed me was the positive attitude of the young man. He admitted to have had a physical relationship with his girl friend in Mumbai and wasn’t too sure about her loyalty to him. He was initially upset and angry with her for being the cause of his anguish but later took it upon himself to ring up and warn her about the possibility of her being a carrier of the undetected virus and to ask her to get herself tested. He also asked his brother now in Mumbai to be careful citing his own example.

It is not very easy to talk to one’s grown up children about the common causes of HIV infection. We tend to imagine that this is someone else’s problem and our sympathies are with the victims. ‘But AIDS in my own family?? Oh! No!! Impossible’. I wish it were impossible. Alas! It is not. It is time for responsible citizens of India to take it upon them to educate the youngsters of today on the circumstances that lead to HIV infection and offer counsel without being judgmental.

The young man mentioned above was well informed about the disease and yet fell victim to it. He was in no way a ‘high risk’ candidate.But he was not spared. We have so many others like him who are National Treasures. Can we afford to let them waste their lives? More and more of our youngsters are leaving home and settling down in unknown places for their studies or career. They are an emotionally vulnerable group and easy targets. All victims may not be positive thinkers. Some may become sadistic and spiteful. Let us make it our responsibility to do our bit to spread awareness among our children. 1st December is WORLD AIDS DAY. Why don’t we all join hands for a good cause?