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
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
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!