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HindustanTimes Mon,01 Sep 2014
Let me count the ways…
Seema Goswami, Hindustan Times
August 09, 2013
First Published: 16:53 IST(9/8/2013)
Last Updated: 18:18 IST(10/8/2013)

A couple of weeks ago, I had written about how I was reluctantly coming to the conclusion that life was too short to read bad books right to the finish. Ever since, I have been thinking about all the other things that I should excise from my life on those very grounds. After all, more than half of my life is over and it really doesn’t make sense to waste what’s left.

And it is in that spirit that I present the following list to you.

Life is too short…

To waste time on toxic people. You know the kind I am talking about, right? The ones who can never give you a compliment without making it sound like an insult. The ones who make you feel bad about your life choices. The ones who bitch about you behind your back. The ones who only remember you when they need something.

Stay Away: have a beer, or even a Diet Coke. But bad wine, never (Photo: Thinkstock)

Am sure there are many other categories that I am missing out on, but you get the general drift. 

To look back with regret. Yes, we all mess up at one time or another. And yes, the natural human tendency is to relive all those moments, wishing that we could go back in time and do things differently. But for God’s sake, don’t. All those mistakes, all those screw-ups, all those bad choices are what went into making the person you are today. So, by all means indulge in a bit of nostalgia when the mood strikes but don’t beat yourself up over what is done and dusted.

Remember what they say about crying over spilt milk? Just don’t.

To vacation in the same place twice. I know, I know, you just love that sleepy old beach in the Kerala. It doesn’t quite feel right unless you visit Shimla in the summer. And how can any visit to the West not involve a stopover in London? I know exactly how you feel because that’s how I used to feel too. However much we tell ourselves that we want to get away from everything and experience something truly extraordinary, we also seek the familiar when we go on vacation. We stick to safe destinations that we know that the entire family will enjoy; we stay with the same hotel chains so that we know what to expect; we even eat the same kind of food.

It took me some effort to snap out of this mind-set; but it was well worth it. Don't believe me? Try it for yourself.

To drink bad wine. Now, before you all rush to your keyboards to send me irate emails about how pretentious and pompous wine snobs are, allow me to explain. Bad wine is not the same as cheap wine. Most expensive wines are good but not all inexpensive wines are rubbish. And the only way to find out is to drink the damn thing. But once you’ve drunk the good stuff, it makes no sense to go back to the bad.

Have a beer instead, a vodka tonic, or even a Diet Coke. But bad wine, never.

To waste endless hours on the Internet. Facebook. Twitter. Tumblr. Pinterest. Instagram. Diggit. Reddit. Stumbleupon. There are as many ways of wasting time on the Net as there are hours in the day. For my part, I am trying to wean myself off the habit of trawling trashy news sites with their sidebar of shame featuring women in various states of undress (cellulite! muffin top! wobbly bits!), even as I restrict myself to a tweet or two every day.

It is, I admit readily, a work in progress, but I live in hope (and off-line, for the most part).
Let them be! Molecular gastronomy should strictly be left to the experts like Gaggan Anand (Photo: Thinkstock)

To meddle with molecular gastronomy. If I had a rupee for when anyone told me about how food is the new porn, I would be a rich woman. But I digress. Of all the new-fangled food trends, the one I find most annoying is the one called molecular gastronomy. This is something that should strictly be left to the experts like Ferran Adrià, Heston Blumenthal and Gaggan Anand. It does the movement no favours when talentless chefs run amok with liquid nitrogen and a chemistry set.

Well, they can certainly insist on cooking it, but I sure as hell ain't eating it.

To be a gym bunny. There is nothing more tedious than impersonating a hamster on a wheel as you walk on inexorably on a treadmill, quite literally going nowhere. Ditto, the cross-trainer, the exercise bike, the rowing machine or any other infernal device designed to torture our body into submission.

Far more interesting to go for a walk in the park, watch the world go by, eavesdrop on fleeting conversations, play ball with your kids, gambol around with the dog, or cool off with an dip in the pool. If that seems too low impact for you dedicated exercisers, then play a game of tennis or badminton, anything that gets your heart-rate going. But running on a conveyer belt while staring sadly at a TV screen? Never.

From HT Brunch, August 11

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