The laziest state in the US is Louisiana. It is a ranking given by Bloomberg BusinessWeek on a host of parameters. They include average time sleeping (8 hours, 44 minutes), time watching TV (3 hours, 5 minutes), time relaxing and thinking (29 minutes) and time socialising (54 minutes). What’s left for working is 2 hours, 41 minutes. For the record, the next laziest is Mississippi (working time 2 hours, 53 minutes), with Arkansas (3 hours, 4 minutes) in third place.
The US is anyway the laziest country in the world, according to the Daily Beast, a news reporting and opinion website. (In the Beast’s scheme of things, the world consists of only “developed” countries.) The Beast used four parameters: calories consumed per day; television viewing; aversion to playing sports; and Internet usage... The others in the top five are Canada, Belgium, Turkey and Great Britain.
Where does India figure in the Laziness Stakes? Anecdotal evidence is that it should be very high up. The Dalai Lama, for one, says that Indians are lazy, unlike the Chinese who are very hard working. But why on earth should we go around chasing our navels when it is so much easier to sit in one place and gaze at them.
Is that what Americans — anointed the laziest — do? There is a contradiction between their image and the survey findings. American businessmen are supposed to be active, holding meetings even when there is nothing to meet about. American athletes win plenty of medals. American politicians are travelling to get votes or improve their ratings. That leaves hardly anybody to make up the numbers of lazy Americans. Must be the immigrants. That’s one more good reason to send them back to India and elsewhere.
To get back to Indians, Ratan Tata compared British mangers to Indian managers some time back and concluded that the former shirk work. He diluted his statement when the media created a furore. But he was right. India has acquired the reputation of being a sleepy country where the inhabitants go for a siesta every afternoon.
Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun.
The Japanese don’t care to, the Chinese wouldn’t dare to,
Hindus and Argentines sleep firmly from twelve to one,
But Englishmen detest a siesta,..
Actually, Noel Coward got it all wrong. In India, China and other countries that Coward talks about, the local population is used to the heat. They don’t need to sleep in the afternoons when they can get a cup of cutting chai and some gossip. It is the Englishmen who get hot under the collar in such climes.
Laziness is a matter of taste and degree. There are no statistics in India to find the laziest states. But unemployment rates could be a proxy. Of course, the bleeding hearts will claim that people are unemployed because there are no jobs to be had. This may be true up to a point. But you should remember that India is full of jobs. It is also full of people who will not compromise. Ask your neighbour if he is willing to go to Ghatsila to join a BPO. Almost everyone will say no. The other problem is that the education system creates people who are unfit for the jobs that are available. We need plumbers; we get naval architects. So taps leak, while naval architects join IT companies.
Where is unemployment the highest in India? It’s in Goa. Forget the politicians who see this as a negative. The people are very happy. As we have said in an earlier column:
One Goan is Remo Fernandes.
Two Goans is a Feni distillery.
Three Goans is a football club.
Four Goans is an all-night-long party.
In Goa, they know how to live. What about the other states in the nether regions? They include West Bengal, Bihar and Kerala. In Bihar, they have just learnt how to work. West Bengal and Kerala have been Marxist bastions. As every schoolboy knows (and former state finance minister Ashok Mitra had to tell us), Marxists aren’t gentlemen. They aren’t workers either.
Why is a Bengali (or a Keralite) like sperm? Only one in a million works.
THE LIVELY AND THE LAZY
Unemployment rate per 1,000
Tamil Nadu 22
West Bengal 78
Note: Some smaller states and Union Territories have not been included in this extract.