Where some things are concerned, I have been hiding my light under a bushel for so long I suspect that it has been extinguished. What things could these be, I hear you ask.
Well, fixing the fuse, for one; or driving a car for another. When the computer packs up, no one in the room goes, “Hey, let’s ask that genius Suresh to fix it.” It is more like, “Anyone – and I am not asking you, Suresh – know how to handle this thing?”
Usually I don’t even figure in the conversation. I am left alone, like a child in a room where the adults are discussing financial matters. Or analysing the latest Tarantino movie.
To be involved is good if you are into that sort of thing, but to avoid is better still, and I have been perfecting the art since I was a child. While growing up, some of us sang, others danced, some did maths in their heads; my gift was for avoiding work. The only catch is that if you are really good at it, then no one notices, and you don’t get any credit.
The trick is to mess things up initially – you will never be asked again to check under the hood of a car or change a light bulb or buy vegetables.
My friend, the former cricketer Rahul Dravid, has got the technique down pat. On his retirement, someone asked him if his wife now expected him to go grocery shopping. “I will, maybe once or twice, for the sake of form,” he said. “But I intend to get things so wrong I will never be asked again.”
No wonder he made thousands of runs in international cricket. He knew how to eliminate the inessential.
My technique is slightly different. I eliminate the essential. If there is a form to be filled in, or a wall to be drilled, or a chicken to be grilled, I am the one with the expertise (and the excuse) not to do any of it. But give me anything that involves sitting in an armchair, doing some thinking and occasionally nodding my head, and I am your man.
Want to know if Cuba should mend fences with America (or vice versa) or if India should send a mission to Mars, and I can tell you without missing a beat. Catch me on a good day and I might even give you my opinion on the latest Bollywood film, especially if I haven’t seen it.
In my book, laziness is next to cleanliness, and we know what that is next to. The only thing is, it doesn’t come easily. Sometimes you have to work at being lazy, and that takes all the fun out of it.