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Time wasters

By Nickunj Malik - Oct 25,2017 - Last updated at Oct 25,2017

My sister-in-law once told me that my brother was a colossal time waster. I did not agree with her of course, even though I secretly admired her casual use of a most unusual adjective in describing my sibling’s shortcomings. She had complained that the reason the two of them could never be punctual at any event was because he always found an extremely insignificant task that needed to be completed, just before they were to step out.

I remember that I had tried to dissuade her from explaining further, but by now she was in full flow. It could be programming the television channels, fixing a light-bulb, removing stains from a tablecloth or cleaning his wrist watch — the more trivial the chore, the more importance he attached to it during their rush hour, she had grumbled in a quivering voice. My sense of loyalty told me to stop listening to her, because she was obviously trying to drive a wedge between the family members, but in my heart of hearts I knew that she was right. 

I made some placatory sounds in order to avoid being dragged into a marital quarrel. Also, I did not want to take sides because I would have unhesitatingly favoured my brother over her. I was taught by my noble nuns at school that blood is thicker than water, you see, but they had also instilled in my conscience a sense of being fair. Therefore, I felt I was on very precarious ground here, which was almost like walking a tightrope, so to speak. 

This incident got me thinking and I decided to take a deeper look at the other couples around me. What I discovered surprised me immensely because in majority of the cases it was the male partners who dawdled, especially where getting dressed for an occasion and arriving on time was concerned. This fact was additionally confusing because for men, all they had to do after wearing their outfits was to run a comb through their hair, which also became less of a complication as they grew older and their heads became balder.

Women on the other hand, had to don their fancy evening dresses that had countless hooks, sashes, bows or strings and match it with the appropriate jewellery, makeup and hairstyles. This obviously took a lot of effort, so how could they manage it more efficiently than their male counterparts? 

My quarrelsome sister-in-law insisted that men had no concept of time management. When I visited them the last time, she even suggested I take up the challenge of getting my brother to a music party at a dignitary’s house, on time. Despite my better judgement, I picked up the gauntlet.

Everything was going smoothly — my sibling and I were about to get into the car which would deliver us to our destination on the dot. Suddenly, my brother disappeared into the garden shed while I waited for him at the door. A good fifteen minutes later I went looking for him. He was carefully filling a fountain pen from a bottle of ink, with a piston!

“What are you doing Bhaiya?” I called out. 

My brother jumped up at my voice, spilling some of the ink. 

“Look, what you made me do, silly girl,” he scolded. 

“Why now? We are running late,” I exclaimed. 

“Let me refill that and I’ll be with you,” he stated calmly.


“I shall wait in the car,” I said stomping off.

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