Editorial: On Hobbies and Holidays

Savio Silveira

‘So, what are your hobbies?’ she asked me.

I was travelling with a visiting donor, and in between discussing Europe’s changing policies on development aid and India’s declining position on the human development index, she posed an occasional unrelated question.

Hobbies? Yes, I had almost forgotten that normal people dedicate some of their time to creative and relaxing activities that help maintain the serenity and sanity of their lives.

Realizing that she was expecting an answer, I hurriedly handed out a cliché response: ‘Reading’.

‘Oh, that’s nice’, she replied. ‘So, what are you reading at the moment?’

Luckily, ‘Three Cups of Tea’ has been lying on my table for the past few weeks and so I had an available answer to offer. But as I did a quick memory scan over the past several months, I regretfully realized that I had added no more that two or three titles to the repertoire of books that I had read. This was certainly a far cry from the days when I voraciously devoured at least one book a week.

‘And besides reading?’ she asked. Her questions were getting difficult; it would have been easier if she had stuck to interrogating me on the social cost benefit analysis of the projects we currently had in hand, or the sustainability measures we planned to weave into the new projects that we would be embarking on.

‘Gardening’, I mumbled, and immediately regretted having said that.

‘Gardening? Really? So do you take care of the gardens in the campus?’

It was the Easter season and I was not particularly in the mood of lying. But what could I possibly tell her? That the last time I had actually stuck my hands in the soil were some fifteen years back while at KJC in Bangalore?

‘And theatre?’ she asked. ‘I though you once told me that you liked watching plays.’

It has been such a long time since I watched a play, I can’t even remember the last one I saw. I muttered a few unintelligible sounds and then pretended to clear my throat, while desperately praying that she would end this agonizing conversation.

‘It’s wonderful that you manage to keep up with all your hobbies’ she complimented me. ‘You know, I firmly believe that hobbies not only work wonders on your personality, but they also improve your work productivity.’

I suddenly began to feel uncomfortable. What was she hinting at? Had the fraying ends of my persona begun showing, or had my work output declined drastically? Someone had once told me that not only was she an authority on project management; she was also an expert in human resource development. So was she gently prescribing a few therapeutic measures to mend the defects she had diagnosed in me?

Maybe she was, maybe she wasn’t. In any case, the holiday season is here and it affords me the much needed time to return to my long lost hobbies.


  1. great savio - made me feel like she was asking me the same questions and i kind of flunked this one worse than you ever could...lets get back to our hobby horses and dump the work for now ok...all the best