Sunday, July 1, 2012

Two minutes


This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 29; the 29th Edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton. The topic for this month is 'TWO MINUTES'.

Tell me, is there anyone who makes those Maggi noodles in two minutes? It takes me all of five minutes to merely hunt the scissors to cut open the packet. What with hunting for the pan after that, boiling the water and all, it is half-an-hour before I am done. I find that women (at least in the ads) not only manage all this in two minutes but have also dumped a truckload of cut vegetables into the dish. Super-human is what I call that feat.
My friends and relatives, however, have another explanation. They consider me sub-human. I had always vehemently opposed this insinuation but my Maggi exploits made me consider the possibility that they were probably right. Thank God for that court case where Maggi admitted that ‘two minutes’ were only meant euphemistically and did not mean that the cooking could actually be done in two minutes. I may still be considered sub-human – after all, who else can manage to burn a dish of noodles six times out of ten? – but not because of my inability to cook noodles in two minutes.
The other place where two minutes loom large in anyone’s lives is in interviews. People, who cannot understand their spouses after a lifetime, think that they can judge a potential employee in two minutes. I know because I have been an interviewer in my time. I would say it is, maybe, a shade easier when you are testing knowledge rather than potential. After all, if you ask a candidate, “Who rules India, currently?” and he answers, “Manmohan Singh”, you can reject him out of hand for his lack of knowledge since everyone knows that it is Sonia Gandhi who rules India.
Comes to testing potential, as in the case of selecting students for a prestigious university, two minutes is not really a whole lot of time. I still recollect one of my interviews where I was asked, “Quickly tell me three things common between caroms and management.” I said, “Objectives, planning and coordination.” You could probably cite the same three as common attributes for going down to the local tea-shop with a friend. Objective: Drink a cup of tea. Planning: Strategizing an argument to convince the tea-shop owner into letting you have the tea despite the humungous bill you have run up with him and cannot pay. Coordination: If the tea-shop owner gets after you with blood in his eye, you need to run away without tripping over each other. (Psst! You run left! I run right!)
If two minutes is all you will take to judge the potential of a person, the only attribute you can test, as is readily evident, is glibness. In fact, that is about all that an interviewer ends up testing in an interview. Accounts for the fact that you get people with the ability to talk their way out of any situation but are incapable of shifting a piece of dirt even one inch north-northwest of where it used to be without calling for a tender!
My worst experience with two minutes was with a plumber. He came to my house, looked knowingly at my water-closet which was busily regurgitating everything it had swallowed, and said, “I’ll be back in two minutes!” It is a month gone now and I am still waiting!
I think this happens because we are a fiercely independent nation. We resent the idea that anyone should dictate to us about how many seconds we should attribute to the minute. Just because someone has the quaint notion that each minute should contain sixty seconds does not mean that he has the right to impose those ideas on everyone else. Do we live in a democracy or is it a dictatorship?
We may promise to deliver something in two minutes (or any number of minutes as the mood takes us) but we reserve the right to allocate as many seconds as we please to each minute – on a case-by-case basis! To think that each minute should only consist of sixty seconds is the limitation of a plodding mind and we are infinitely creative people who can think out-of-the-box!
This piece, too, was written in two minutes – of the inelastic variety!

The fellow Blog-a-Tonics who took part in this Blog-a-Ton and links to their respective posts can be checked here. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.

63 comments:

  1. //My worst experience with two minutes was with a plumber. He came to my house, looked knowingly at my water-closet which was busily regurgitating everything it had swallowed, and said, “I’ll be back in two minutes!” It is a month gone now and I am still waiting!//

    Hahaha! Brilliant account Suresh! :)

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  2. Wow & simply wow.

    I guess two minutes is enough for you to vent out a splendid piece on 'two minutes'. Now that makes making "Maggi" a much more difficult job than writing a creative post.

    Superbly done Suresh ji, especially because with every line I felt "Oh yes, exactly" or "Damn Right" or "Absolutely".

    Bows!!!!

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    1. Thanks Anupam! A bit of poetic license there with 2 minutes for writing the post. I am not that fast a typist:)

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  3. Great and very Funny Post Suresh ji, Same with me with Maggi doesn't take less than 10 minutes to properly cook that damned thing.

    All The Best for BAT-29

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  4. i have a notion that you can actually write a brilliant post in two minutes. an absolutely delightful read as always :)

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    1. Thanks Debajyoti! This actually took some 5-10 min.s as my nephew by my side will testify:)

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  5. Wow nice post Suresh... and i really liked the part " we reserve our rigt to allocate as many seconds as we please to each minute ". And i have the same problem with the plumber too !!!! All the best

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  6. Lol, Suresh! Brilliant as usual! Your poor plumbing system:) How can you burn maggie?????? How can you?
    In btw a US visa is also gained in less than 2 mins interview :(

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    1. It takes real genius, Bhavana:) Like dumping the Maggi in the boiling water over a flame and going off to read a book till the smells from the kitchen get strong enough to drag you away from the book:)

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  7. Hahaha, very funny take, and that is one insightful piece of commentary about Indians. I will be sharing this. Salute!

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    1. Thanks Sandy! Great to know that you thought this worthy of sharing.

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  8. lol ... To think that each minute should only consist of sixty seconds is the limitation of a plodding mind and we are infinitely creative people and can think out-of-the-box!
    loved it ! Such a wonderful post ...

    Suresh btw even i have the experience of burning Maggie noodles !

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    1. Thanks, TTT! And, now I feel less lonely. I have company in burning Maggi:)

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  9. Awesome Suresh :) hear hear ! Who on earth said there should be only 60 secs in a minute ? Lol :)

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    1. Hope you think I did justice to your topic, Jaish:):)

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  10. You kept me smiling for the two minutes I spent to read you post. You see?

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    1. Thanks DN! Btw, the elastic or inelastic variety? :)

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  11. बहुत खूब सर जी
    क्या कहने आपके
    वैसे मैंने पहले भी कमेंट किया था पता नहीं क्या हुआ

    मेरी घड़ी है मेरे सेकंड
    मेरे मिनट है
    60 को 100 करू 200 करू
    तुम्हें क्या दिक्कत है
    मई चालू अपनी रफ्तार से
    है ज़िंदगी मेरी
    जो मुर्गा सुबह बांग दे
    जब हट जाए मेरी
    रात उसे तंदूर पे टांग दे
    तुम पुकारो और मई दौड़ आऊ
    क्या मई पड़ा हु तुम्हारे प्यार मे
    है काम तो लगो कतार मे
    मेरे 2 मिनट तुम्हारे 2 सेकंड होंगे
    देरी के लिए मुझे न बदनाम करो
    ज्यादा जल्दी है तो अपना इंतेजाम करो

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  12. Guess most of your readers are not yet married.. Ask someone who has a wife and two daughters (of the aggressive type) and try to plan an early dinner at a fancy restaurant .......... Get ready and then you will find that each of the (other) three wants just two more minutes...... Now try and extrapolate these two minutes through the day and you will find that each day has only a few minutes ... Cheers buddy

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    1. Hi Chandru! That's how you see it:) they see themselves as taking only two minutes - of the elastic variety:):)

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  13. ...no doubt it took me 2 minutes to read it but then I spent 2x2x2=8 minutes to savor it
    and my judgment came in much less than 2 minutes that it was a superb, excellent piece:)Thank you Suresh for the smiles:):)

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    1. Thanks Amit! For me the winning is all done and dusted once I get some people to savour what I write

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  14. It brought smile to me on Monday morning!!

    << we reserve the right to allocate as many seconds as we please to each minute – on a case-by-case basis! >>

    That was the best.
    You made my day!!

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  15. For us Indians (generally), unfortunately punctuality is all about 'just 2 minutes'! Superbly hilarious and insightful at the same time, CS! Loved reading it, so very excellently written :)

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    1. Thanks Arti! Great hearing that from you.

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  16. I was laughing continuously Suresh. Thanks for blessing this one and for your comments on my post as well!

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    1. Thanks SIS! Great to see you here.

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  17. That's one solid post on 2-minutes. Really enjoyed reading this one.
    I'm going to try to remember 'Planning, Objective, Coordination.' :) Thank you for that.

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    1. Thanks! Very useful in interviews that one:)

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  18. Hilarious, funny and most importantly I finished reading & commenting in TWO Minutes

    Hahaha..... Just loved it!! ATB :)

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    1. Thanks Rohan! I hope you were not too abstracted when you read and commented:)

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  19. Wow..Nice observations i must say..I just smiled for two minutes after reading your post :)

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  20. LOL...that was fantastic, Suresh!Am still chuckling...:))All the best...:)

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  21. You compared maggi with 2 min and then with an interview!!! :D
    Good one !!

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  22. Ha! Lovely post. So you'd fail the poor chap who calls MS our beloved leader, Tch tch, disgraceful. Deserves to fail.

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  23. Thanks KayEm! This post seems to have struck a chord...almost all lines hv been picked up by one reader or the other. Now you have picked that MS line:):)

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  24. You are spot on with the Maggi point! But its funny how Maggi seems to take a centre-stage as soon as the words 'Two Minutes' are spoken of! Advertising zindabad!

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  25. I dare say that the title selection itself was inspired by Maggi:):)

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  26. You know how all those chefs cook up some amazing dishes and even with knowing all the ingredients we can never replicate it because we always seem to miss the secret ingredient. In your tales and posts, I would some day really like to know what is the secret ingredient you use :) Because every time I read a post of yours, I wonder, how you do it! How do you do it so well, so classy and so crisply every single time! 5-10 times for this post is brilliant! So, did it win BAT?

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  27. No one can make Maggi in two minutes. It is a brilliant marketing slogan coined by them so that hunger is kept at bay just a couple of minutes longer. A trademark humorous post! Time means so little to us. In Mumbai, you can ask anyone for directions and they will tell you just a 5-minute walk. Always take that with a pinch of salt :). This is how we measure time!

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  28. The humble Maggi makes it to Jambudweepam's home page, now that took Nestle more than 2 minutes of efforts, didn't it. Awesome post, loved all the references to politics, Indian Stretchable Time, and the notion that every minute has as many seconds as the person using it wants...

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    1. You make it sound like this place is some Hall of Fame, Jairam, and not merely just another blog jostling for space in Blogosphere :)

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  29. You reminded me of my good old days in the University where one had to stand on a desk and expound on a random topic given seconds before the audience started pelting you with tomatoes ... called SOAPBOX

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    1. I did use these Blogaton prompts like that Ritu :)

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  30. Hahaha, wow, once again you've taken one of our common nuances and written a gem of a piece around it. :)

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    1. Thanks Medha! All our common nuances are great sources of fun :)

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