One of the readers had written asking for the details of the workday routine that I follow when I write this column.
For his benefit, this is how my day pans out (yawn). Or at least the one when I have to show up at office:
(Previous night) Set the alarm to 5. 30 a.m.
5.30 a.m.: Curse the man who invented the alarm clock.
5.35 a.m.: Struggle for the ‘snooze’ button. Repeat the process every five minutes for the next half-an-hour. In the event, wake up everyone in the household.
6.30 a.m.: Straggle out of bed, mentally thinking up convincing reasons to cheat self on missing the morning workout. Make a mental note not to eat heavily on the day, virtually believing that consuming one helping less in one session can compensate for giving up on a hour of running and training.
6.35 a.m.: Look morose and cough feebly to suggest some physical illness lest wife passes on some household work to complete.
6.40 a.m.: Plunge intently into newspapers.
6.41 a.m.: Threatened by big words and feel bored. Stop reading.
6.42 a.m.: Attempt Sudoku.
6.43 a.m.: Give up after not being able to fill even a single grid.
6.44 a.m.: Think of solving the crossword. Drop the idea as it involves the heavy work of turning the pages.
6.45 a.m.: Sit aimlessly for minutes together not knowing what is happening. Connoisseurs of English language have a term for this: ‘dozing off’.
7.45 a.m.: Realise that much work needs to be done for the day. Get shivers down the spine, and in the intense pressure catch sleep for a further 15 minutes.
8.30 a.m.: Drop daughter at school. Read on the notice board an announcement to remit Rs.500 for the science project. Realise that the Rs.750 for the computer project, which was announced the day before, is also still not paid.
9.00 a.m.: Receive call from daughter’s school that Rs.1000 needs to be paid for stitching the ‘Guides’ attire.
9.01 a.m.: Involve busily in office work: Wait for the coffee to arrive.
9.30 a.m.: Finish forwarding all the email forwards sent in by helpful colleagues.
9.35 a.m.: Involve in important editorial discussions with colleagues over whether Sonam Kapoor can get any thinner.
10.00 a.m.: Think of the week’s column, for which the deadline is well past. Yawn for a full minute. Feel very satisfied with the work.
10.02 a.m.: Write the first line of the column: ‘One of the important things in life is…’
10.03 a.m.: Relax for a full twenty-five minutes after the sheer exertion of the creative effort.
10.30 a.m.: Plunge into more hectic office work; Wait for the second coffee.
11.00 a.m.: Tell the Editor that the column for the week is almost complete, strategically hiding the fact that it is complete save for the small matter that it has not even been attempted.
11.30 a.m.: Things really begin to hot up in the office. There is no more time to waste. Lunch time is just two hours away. .
12.00 noon : Rework the opening line from ‘One of the important things in life is…’ to ‘In life, the most important thing is…’
12.01p.m: Exhaustion. Cue for more coffee.
12.30 p.m.: Realise that it is nearly three hours since a word with the spouse was had. Call her up and get blasted for forgetting that the day before was her birthday.
12.31 p.m.: Discuss intellectually with colleagues the merits of Deepika Padukone’s mini-skirt.
1.00 p.m.: There is no escaping now. Some work has to be done now. Get ready for the lunch hour.
1.30 p.m.: Receive a phone call from daughter’s school teacher during which she implicitly suggests that her (daughter’s) drawing skills are even worse than my talent for humour. Of course, by paying Rs.1000 per month the drawing skills could be improved.
2.15 p.m.: Return from lunch, take one more stab at the column for the week. This time it is: ‘The thing is, life is an important one, but…’ Feel satisfied that more words are flowing in.
3.00 p.m.: Coffee man wakes up the entire office with his helpful arrival.
3.15 p.m.: Become surprisingly creative. Think of a totally original idea to seek permission to leave from office early: An uncle is admitted to hospital with heart attack.
3.45 p.m.: Pick up daughter from games class. Get a bill for Rs.600 to be paid every month for tennis coaching. The games teacher is magnanimous enough to agree to the terms that even if the daughter is not able to attend the coaching, just sending across the money would be enough.
4.30 p.m.: Daughter is reluctant to go to music class. Advise her on the importance of being committed to work and never being lazy.
5.30 p.m.: Wake up after a quick nap.
6.00 p.m.: Try to watch TV. After one-and-a-half hours, watching 10 seconds of each channel, come to the conclusion that TV is useless.
7.30 p.m.: Think of the column. Work on the opening line again. Signs of incipient headache. Adjourn for dinner.
8.00 p.m.: Overeat at dinner. Mentally promise self to workout in the morning.
8.30 p.m.: Have a tiff with spouse, as she is sure that I will forget her birthday next year too.
9.00 p.m.: Daughter shows the information slip for school annual Day. Reach for the cheque book.
9.30 p.m. The column awaits. The first line looks like an orphan. But it has been a tough day both at home and office. Work is tiresome.
10.00 a.m. Hit the sack. Set the alarm for 5 a.m.
The next day: For a change, try to work on the column from back. The last line could be: ‘One of the important things in life is…’