Zen and Kai and The Art of Maintenance#roopakism Roopak Saluja • December 16, 2016
I love the period between Christmas and the first working day of the following year. One of the main reasons being that I use that time for housekeeping and maintenance. You know…clearing out to-do lists- whether shit’s done or no longer relevant, going through important but not so urgent stuff that’s been piling up for months, cleaning out my office desk and my home desk, chucking old magazines and papers. It’s really quite amazing what I come across in the process. Last year I found an India Today piece touting Arvind Kejriwal as the Great White Hope of Indian politics. Hahaha! Now I expect I’ll find something ridiculing Trump’s absurd goal, etc.
This year I feel a bit constrained. We’re in the UK to spend Xmas with Tara’s sister, Namrita and her family in Southport, close to Manchester and Liverpool (imagine the football rivalry in that town!), which I’m really looking forward to for several reasons including the fact that there’s a chance we might see a White Christmas. Well, at least more of a chance than in Bombay or Mahabaleshwar, where we often spend Xmas at our farm. Tara isn’t a big fan of the cold. And if left to her, Zen and Kai won’t see snow till they’re well past 30. So this is our big chance.
Why do I feel constrained? Because we’re only getting back to Bombay on the 31st and I’m mildly disappointed that after a couple of years of longer New Year’s breaks, the 2nd is a Monday and we’re right back at work again. That means practically no maintenance time. Somehow, I’ll just have to wing it.
I’m a firm believer in maintenance time. Not just at the end of the year but generally across the board for everything in life. As a wildly generalistic rule of thumb, you need to spend 10% of your time on maintenance, so the other 90% goes smoothly. That’s what planning and scheduling are about. Goal setting, to-do lists, OS updates, car servicing, spring cleaning, tuning the piano, maintaining accounts (unless that’s what you get paid to do) and of course, motorcycle maintenance. When it comes to playing a sport or a musical instrument at a higher level though, the ratio gets inverted. You actually spend 90% of your time and effort practicing to deliver great output when it really matters the other 10% of the time. I don’t do either so I’ll stick with 10% for maintenance.
I didn’t always give it importance. In my mid and late twenties, my life was all about work. Important personal stuff would suffer, especially the maintenance part- paying bills on time, keeping my home in order, servicing my car and some of the other stuff I mentioned above. For the record, I’m not a bike guy. So the reference to motorcycle maintenance isn’t from personal experience. If the subject of this post is lost on you, there’s a book you’ve never heard of called Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Frankly, it’s excruciatingly boring so I wouldn’t recommend it.