Anything worth doing is worth doing slowly, said Mae West. They stumble that run fast, said William Shakespeare in Romeo and Juliet. Earth was not created in a day. Biryani can be, but over a substantial part of it. Real pleasure doesnt come in an instant, said the MR Coffee ad that brought Malaika Arora and Arbaaz Khan together. The sunset is slow. Broken hearts mend slow. Ballet is slow.
People from all parts of the world are waking up to the idea if rather slowly that the fast track may not be so cool after all. And we are not only talking about the road sign that claims if you drive fast you reach heaven straight. The Slow Movement a cultural movement to slow down lifes pace has been founded. It says the best things in life come slow. It talks about downshifting, which is about stepping off the work-money-success treadmill.
They are a dangerous people, the down-shifters they are willing to accept less money through fewer work hours in order to have leisure, music, books, friends, food, fun, and look happy. The trouble with the rat race is, they say, even if you win, you are still a rat. And the real race was between the tortoise and the hare in any case.
The Slow Movement also advocates slow cities (to resist the homogenisation and globalisation of towns and cities and improve the quality and enjoyment of living by encouraging happiness and self-determination), slow books, slow living, slow money and slow food, which is a movement by itself.
The Slow Food Movement, allied to the Slow Movement, started in Italy when McDonalds planned to build an outlet near the Piazza di Spagna in Rome in 1986. Protesters staged a demonstration brandishing bowls of penne. Soon, the International Slow Food Movement was founded to counter fast food, fast life and non-sustainable food production and the erosion of local economies. By the 1990s the movement had grown hugely. It now has 65,000 members in 42 countries.
THE BEST COME SLOW
In India, cooking on dum has given rise to the much-in-demand Dumpukht cuisine (and the ITC chain of restaurants). The more time you spend over a dish, the more time you take to simmer and cook it, the better it will turn out. And even that rich dum cooking will not pile on all those calories, if you remember to eat slow. There is a lag time between when the stretch receptors in the stomach signal it is time to stop eating and when your brain gets the message, making you eat less when you eat slow!
A glass of wine gulped down is nothing short of sacrilege. To be savoured, any kind of wine needs to be sipped slowly. In the West, wine is an essential lunch and dinner accompaniment which invariably extends to a couple of hours, says Subhasis Ganguli, president, Calcutta Wine Club.
Real love is said to come slow. One needs to invest a lot of time and emotion in any relationship. In fact, slow is the way to go in any relationship, whether between a husband and wife or a child and mother, says psychologist Prerna Anand Puri. Real lust, too, comes slow. Wouldnt you rather dance to Kylie Minogues Slow where she urges you to not rush it than gyrate to Pappu cant dance, saala? Like most other things in life where slow is directly proportional to quality, sex is also about taking things slow, says actor and VJ Luke Kenny.
The Slow Sex Movement is also associated with the Slow Movement. And what indeed can taste better than a passionate and lingering kiss? Only Lucknows famous tunde kebab, say some.
FRENZY A WELCOME ADDITION TO OUR LIVES
But slowing down is tough. There are many hurdles, even on the slow lane. There are schools, institutes and orientation programmes that tutor on how to reach the top as fast as possible. Why hasnt anyone ever talked about the merits of taking things easy and carving a slow but sure rise to the top? wonders adman Prahlad Kakkar.
The slow-downers point out that in Calcutta, the Metro is one sure way to gauge how frenzied our lives are. We step on a collection of toes to squeeze ourselves in one split second. We even run down an escalator that is riding up. Why the urgent need to make your child gobble down his leftover lunch in those 10 minutes of travel time? He can always go home and eat it in far greater peace, says regular Metro commuter Paromita Choudhury. But if he did, his mother would probably be late for Sa Re Ga Ma Pa.
Perhaps thats why we also fidget outside the ATM counter, shifting from one leg to another, as the man inside counts the notes. We glare at him for wasting our time. He is a time offender. Frenzy is a welcome addition to our lives. Mallika Sherawats Twitter updates come one almost every minute. Ashton Kutcher comes close.
But there is hope. From wise people who may not officially subscribe to movements, and even some corporations. I update my Twitter account every two weeks and even that seems too frenzied to me. If people can wait patiently for those five minutes for the computer to boot, then why cant they just go slow on their social networking accounts? They might just be able to make a lot more friends, online and otherwise, laughs funny man Cyrus Broacha. I finish all my work by 11am every day. After that I just spend the whole day relaxing and taking things slow, says television personality Kunal Vijaykar who quit a job in advertising to do his own thing very successfully. Not surprisingly, he and Broacha are buddies.
You may even do well to go slow to the airport. Many airlines around the world are now slowing down adding more minutes to a flight to achieve greater fuel efficiency. Automobile giant Volvo has a unique slowdown policy: any project in the company takes two years to be finalised, even if the idea is simple. Its a rule. As we all know, it works very well.
And doesnt 3 Idiots talk about pursuing excellence and say that success will follow if things are taken slow?
So give snail mail a try this year. And once in a while take a long luxurious bath instead of a quick shower.
GROUND RULES OF THE INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTE OF NOT DOING MUCH, A GROUP COMMITTED TO INACTION:
- Drink a cup of tea, put your feet up and stare idly out of the window. Warning: Do not attempt this while driving.
- Do one thing at a time. Remember multitasking is a moral weakness (except for women who have superior brain function).
- Do not be pushed into answering questions. A response is not the same as an answer. Ponder, take your time.
- Yawn often. Medical studies have shown lots of things, and possibly yawning may be good for you.
- Spend more time in bed. You have a better chance of cultivating your dreams (not your aspirations).
- Read the slow stories.
- Spend more time in the bathtub.
- Practise doing nothing (Yes this is the difficult one).
- Avoid too much seriousness. Laugh, because you are on earth for a limited time only.
slow movements around the world
Slow Parenting A response to hyper parenting and helicopter parenting, it encourages parents to plan less for their children, instead allowing them to enjoy their childhood and explore the world at their own pace.
Slow Art It advocates appreciating an art work in itself as opposed to a rapid, fleeting witnessing of art common in a hectic societal setting.
Slow Travel An evolving movement that reacts against speed.