Gormless in the city

A few weeks ago I was standing on a busy, windy street corner in Melbourne: no handbag, arms akimbo and no phone to keep me busy. No, I haven’t taken up busking (god forbid!), nor was I lost. I was simply waiting for a video shoot. As the shoot was being set up, I had nothing to do. So there I was on the street corner, observing people, the traffic and the city landscape. It was surprisingly peaceful and I felt very present.
It reminded me of my childhood. I grew up in an apartment building in Bombay where it was very common practice to stand in the balcony gazing out into the world. There is an Indian expression for it, which loosely translates as watching life.

How does this relate to our business lives and time-poor contexts? Surely I am not going to suggest something as banal as stopping to smell the roses (though that’s a good idea).

A friend introduced me recently to the idea of ‘gypsy time’. Gypsy time is when you deliberately take time out of your busy workday to just hang loose: to be a gypsy. This could be having coffee while you people-watch, or even sitting on a park bench soaking in the sunshine.

The rules are simple: it’s time alone, without any technology. It’s harder than it sounds as you might get terrible FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) without your phone. You might also look suspicious – loitering with intent and hopefully won’t be questioned by the authorities!

We might be familiar with the idea of a third space. Gypsy time is the idea of a ‘being’ space rather than a ‘doing’ space. The rewards of gypsy time are immense. Give it a try if you’re interested in being grounded rather than gormless in the city and in your work.

Please comment – I love hearing from you.

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  • Sundar Rajamanickam

    It is really lovely to get to be your normal selves at times. I remember sitting by the lake in client office and watching the ducks, fishes and the birds in the lake and just enjoying nature with no other thoughts. While in train, I prefer to read children comic books or just watch out the window the nature, and enjoy all the bounties God has given us. The other day, I stepped out of office for a break and was watching a crane load bulk materials on another building top. I was lost in it for over 30 mins and enjoying it like a child would do 🙂 …. These truly refresh me to get back to work and routine life with a smile.

    • Yamini

      Sundar what a beautiful picture you paint – watching cranes, reading comic books. It is wonderful to see you already embrace this idea in your life – congratulations.

  • Reply

    Oh what a lovely Idea Yamini! I shall be sure to be a gypsy more often! Loved the story and the pictures you create!

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