(Pre)tending to be busy

(Pre)tending to be busy

Some people are born with an irredeemable torpidity. For them hardwork is anathema.

Looking busy, when in reality you are not, is indeed an art by itself. Surely, it does need special skills to make people around believe you are superlatively busy with some serious work, when in actuality, you are just slobbing around squandering time.

Incidentally, people with work-dodging propensity are real pros in this ‘looking-busy’ talent. In fact, there is a strong nexus between looking busy and laziness. Maybe that is why the terms, malingerer, skiver, slacker, etc were coined to describe those lazybones who dodge work. These people are born with an irredeemable torpidity for whom hardwork is downright anathema.

Often, I have seen some of the employees in offices intently gazing at the computer screens, creating an illusion of being incredibly busy. Maybe, inwardly, they are calculating ramped-up salary post a promotion. Or worse, they may even be viciously wishing for an alien creature to descend down to drag their nitpicking boss/senior away!

It makes you wonder how these work-dodgers look so phenomenally busy while doing not a pin of work. Just catch them in their sham-act and ask them what exactly they are doing. You can see them parrying your question, dishing out misleading weasel-words.

This proclivity to look inordinately busy is so intrinsic in us that we see this incorrigible trait even in small children. Recently, while being stranded in a traffic snarl, I saw a frail person, squatting on the sidewalk, swiftly and skillfully weaving beautiful cane baskets. Constantly, his gaze was darting towards a young boy holding a frayed dog-eared book.
Whenever the child sensed the man’s gaze on him, he pretended to be busy, poring through pages of the book. The moment he was out of vigilance, the boy tinkered with his dickey toy-car.

Incidentally, it’s we who pay penalty for someone else’s work-sham. In Mumbai, I used to have a ham-fisted maid, who had an uncanny knack of breaking even splinter-proof glass articles. Once, she was dusting the same place several times, giving an impression of trying to wipe spotlessly clean all speckled surfaces with imaginary splotches, dust-specks and oil-slicks. But in reality, she was furtively watching a telly film. Needless to say, when I caught her red-handed, she broke an exotic glass showpiece into innumerous shards!

A friend of mine – who generally spends her free time watching soppy telly shows – says the minute she senses her spouse back home from work, she  sprints to the kitchen and keeps swanning around there, showing how even she has been slogging all day, just to give him that sadistic satisfaction!

Well, as I behold these work-shammers, I recollect this profound saying. “It’s pretty simple to awaken a sleeping person. But painfully difficult to wake up a person, ‘pretending’ to be in great slumber!” Similarly someone who is lazy and loitering about, can be made to work with a good tongue-lash. But what can someone do to a person ‘shamming’ to be working?!

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