Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Slow down

Slow down,

I just heard a talk on Ted.com by Carl Honore, who is trying to start a slow movement. It’s interesting that I heard this talk, just as I mentioned these very words to my husband. He dialed a number and was put on hold for about 50 seconds and then when the person came on line, he was not the right person . He was then put on hold for maybe another 40 seconds , and by now, he was cursing…saying, “ how long does it take to get me a bl….. no.”. All this in a matter of 1 and a half minute, but hey that is far tooooo long. A full minute and half.
This is what this world of instant gratification has come down to, we are down to seconds, minutes seem too long. Everything is based on speed, I completely agree with Carl on this need to slow down, but where seconds and photo finishes differentiate the winners from losers, it might just take a wee bit more than plain talk.
I have seen with my very eyes, the devastating effects of speed. Just yesterday’s newspaper in HKG, reported two nasty accidents, one involving a Ferrari and the other a fast bike. Both riders were speeding to nowhere, just speeding. I am also a part of this speed culture and we tend to compare notes on how fast we drive, how fast can I get ready ( this is a blessing for men, on average a woman takes 40 minutes more than a man to dress), how quickly I devour my food and how many books can I read in a month.
My sister –in -law was also a part of this fast generation, she would go to the gym at 6 am for an aerobic class, come back, gulp her breakfast, go to work for a super hectic day at work, where she invariably had to meet deadlines and then get back exhausted to leave yet again for social engagements. A life that was full of action and gratification. Three years ago, she suffered a stroke, she was 40. She is now bedridden and paralyzed from the neck down. Her life slowed down completely, she has all the time in the world. She now has time for her friends, her family, her neighbors and the house hold help. She is doing things, she never did and saying things she never said. But all this has come at a very high cost.
Do we all need wake up calls to make us slow down? I have taken a sabbatical off work and started yoga and meditation, the most difficult things for speed addicts and believe me it drives me mad , but slowly and surely , I am slowing down.
After all there must be some truth in the saying, “ Slow and steady wins the race.” Have you ever stopped and noticed how turtles and snails always go back into their shell whenever they are in danger? I guess nature has a way of rewarding the slow and steady.
Next time, try and watch out for the sloths around and you will see that there is a certain kind of peace that they emanate. It irritates most of us, but they seem to be oblivious and at peace. Having said that, I tried to do a search on google for slow down and when a particular page did not open for a full 1 minute, I just lost my patience!! Guess “Slow down really meant, slow down.


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