Plan, Schedule, and Organize; then Fate trundles in!

It’s uncanny how fate flushes all our careful planning down the drain. I see it happen all the time. My recent experience is an excellent case in point.

The Careful Planner:

I am an extremely careful person, you see. A planner and a scheduler, a man on a mission who never forgets to pack even the smallest thing that I might require on a trip; I am someone who is always answering the question, “what if…?” This eye-for-detail however, is now appearing to be an acquired capability drilled into me in my formative years. I’m now discovering that the real me is a happy go-lucky, improvise-on-the-go character. I’m also discovering that one of the avatars of fate is that of a monkey with a spanner.

The Careful Scheduling:

Chandigarh is about 250 kilometers from Delhi. I planned for 4-hour commutation and added another 15 minutes to reach Mohali (my destination – an IT park adjacent to Chandigarh.) I added a 45 minute buffer, and ordered a cab for 5:30 AM. In the best case scenario, I’d have time to grab a cup of coffee before the meeting, and in the worst case, I’d have to forego it. I ordered the cab the night before, and had the numbers of two other local-cab drivers in my desk-drawer, so that if the cab didn’t turn up at 5:30 AM, I could fall back on something.

Do you see my meticulous and careful scheduling?

The Careful Planning:

After ordering the cab, we had dinner, and then I started preparing for my trip. Out came my to-do list that I had prepared that afternoon. I had to make a presentation, so I rechecked my presentation for typos and data-accuracy; I had to leave some sample applications with them, so I copied those on a pen-drive and also on a CD; I knew I would need my laptop fully charged, so it was plugged in for charging. Then I laid out all these things next to a smart black leather bag. I had bought this bag some three years ago – only for these trips where every little thing counts towards your casting a good impression. All in all, before I went to bed, I ensured that everything on my list was checked off.

Do you see how careful and organized I was?

The Careful Risk-Analysis:

That night, before I went to bed, I set the alarm for 4:30 AM. It would give me enough time to get ready and leave on time. But before I went to bed,  I had to do one last thing.  The risk-assessment for my trip. What if…the cab broke down? I could hail down one of the buses. Were there any buses plying on that route during the time I’d need them? There were three from Delhi Transport Corporation and more from Punbus. I could see no other risks – so I then switched off the lamp and went to sleep with a content smile on my face.

Do you see how I mitigated the risk by carefully projecting it?

And then…this!

The next morning, I was woken up by the incessant ringing of the door-bell. Rubbing my eyes, I lumbered out of the bed, and with my heart pounding in my chest, I rushed to the door. (Before you ask whether this woke wifey up too, I must tell you that the only way to rouse her is through wafting the fragrance of tea under her nose; a pneumatic hammer hitting a set of four-purcussion plates, couldn’t wake her up otherwise.) So anyway, I blundered through the living room and opened the main door.

“Cab, Sir. You ordered a cab for 5:30 AM,” said a bewildered cabbie, trying to look over my shoulder, expecting his nattily dressed fare, swinging a bag, to appear behind me – for the pajama-clad, red-eyed apparition that stood in front of him surely couldn’t be the guy he was called to ferry across Haryana and Punjab.

“You are early,” I spluttered, trying to understand the situation. I had an alarm set for 4:30 AM!
“Sir, it’s 5:40 AM already,” he replied, now looking at me with suspicion.

I asked him to wait, then rushed back inside. The needles of the clock stood still at 2:35 AM. You can imagine the mad rush that the morning was, and yet, I ask you. Can you blame me for not planning any of it?

Wasn’t I careful enough, I ask you now, my dear reader?

And yet, fate ruined all my careful planning, scheduling, risk-evaluation and mitigation. All those Project Management techniques – they all boiled down to nothing! When I left the house, I had buttoned my shirt all wrong, forgotten to comb my hair, and was wearing differently colored socks!


In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Careful.”

If you enjoyed this post, find more of my Quirky, Snarky, Malarkey in The QSM Magazine.

(Next issue is going to hit the stands in a few days – book your copy now.)

The QSM Magazine - Humor, Satire, and Parodies - Desi Humour and Funny Anecdotes - Download your free copy.

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About Anand

Parodist, Humorist, Caricaturist, Nerd.
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41 Responses to Plan, Schedule, and Organize; then Fate trundles in!

  1. Vamagandhi says:

    In India, planning commission fails, lest individual. Good read.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Anand says:

      You’ve made a bigger case in point – but in my case, it was more likely the heavy hand of fate that killed my clock than the fact that both the clock and i were located in India 😦

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh no! Oh no! Oh no! I can imagine it all as if it happened to me!
    Well, I hope you made it there on time, and managed to re-button your shirt, comb your hair, and grab a cup of coffee before the meeting.
    You are one of the few who could turn a disaster into an amusing, highly entertaining story! Well-done!
    (I say, give up all that stuff, and become a full-time artist-writer-blogger, man!)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Anand says:

      Gotta eat…and more than that, gotta feed the family too. In India, artist/writers are at the low-end of the feeding ladder. But The QSM Magazine feeds my soul…and the second issue is going to be out soon (a couple of days, 3 at the most.) Send me some laughter 😀

      Liked by 3 people

      • 🙂
        Oh, artist-writers are the same everywhere.
        I know of precisely three (maybe four) people who’ve practised only their art, and have managed to make a living out of it.


      • Anand says:

        You’ve known three, I’ve known none…No, I have known one – a national level cartoonist (perhaps the best in India) who sits in a six-by-six cabin and has lost his love for drawing, because he has to do it all the time…and more than he should 😦 I want to continue being in love with writing and drawing.


      • Barbara CT says:

        That is a familiar song as I have a brother who is an artist with wood in furniture design and creation. When asked why he doesn’t do it for a living his reason is that he wouldn’t enjoy as much if he was doing for a living.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Anand says:

        Your brother is absolutely right…and this is one of my reasons too – the other being the fact that it’s easier to earn your bread by being a programmer.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Anand says:

      Oh…about the buttoning of the shirt, the cabbie noticed it. The socks went un-noticed, and I forgot to comb my hair – but the presentation went fine. It may all work out, after all.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I am relieved that after all that, that your presentation went well! Fate is a stinker!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. oneta hayes says:

    I’m glad you had us, your blogging friends to tell the story to. I’m sure we all agree that you were meticulously careful. (Applause here)

    Liked by 2 people

  5. You’re talking to the Queen of planning here and I found out the hard way that the best plans can be laid to naught. Entertaining read as always 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Anand says:

      Hah! Same story everywhere. How it gladdens my heart to learn that others have trodden the same path before me. (Trodden? I hope you aren’t a poet – or you’d want to strangulate me!)


  6. WaHahaHA! Oh, I am sorry to laugh, but that was hilarious! All of that careful planning for any eventuality and yet it still goes pear shaped! The fact that your hair was uncombed and your shirt buttoned up all wrong made me almost choke on me tea! OH what a fun start to my (very early) Sunday morning! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Barbara CT says:

    I saw it coming by the end of “The Careful Scheduling” and couldn’t help but shake my head and giggle as I read on to the end. Two things I know for sure are that 1) Fate is a fickle mistress and 2) she is having an affair with Murphy. You have heard of Murphy’s Law? The first tenet is that when things can go wrong, they will – and at the worst possible moment. Here’s some more insight:

    I was going to have the Murphy’s law translated into your language just for kicks, but then I realized that I had no idea of which dialect you speak in your region. You are rapidly becoming my favorite blogger because you lift my spirits. I did get the first issue of QSM and it is just as refreshing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Anand says:

      Hi Barbara, welcome here. I’m glad you enjoyed reading it. Of course, I know about Mr. Murphy’s insightful Laws – and you couldn’t have found a better match for Ms. Fate.
      Honestly, English is more my language than Hindi or even Punjabi (I hardly ever speak Punjabi.)
      The second issue of QSM is on the assembly line and will be ready to roll off in a couple of days…if you’ve subscribed, you’ll get it in your inbox. I hope you enjoy it too.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. My friend slept in and missed a flight. We were to meet in Mexico for a vacation. I spent the first two days alone while she re-scheduled and finally arrived.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. honestme363 says:

    Anand, you are so comical. Thanks for the laughs today. I wonder how many alarms you will set the next time?

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Jackie says:

    Oh my. Reminds me of years ago – I had a 7am flight from Newark Airport for Chicago, to do some training. It’s a 30 minute drive. Alarm never went off, woke up at 5 minutes to 6 – made the flight! Spent an hour at 10 pm that night looking for where I parked the car! Ugh!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Tim Gatewood says:

    Yes, good planning foiled by a bad battery or some other equipment malfunction. As I read this, I kept waiting for the “other shoe to drop.” Well-written, Anand, as usual. I’m happy to hear that the presentation went well. I trust you got a new clock or a new battery for the old one on the way home?

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Alok Singhal says:

    Hahaha, you did not care for extra alarms. Don’t blame PM techniques for that!

    I was on vacation for a month in India and Australia and was in Delhi for US Embassy interview on Oct 14. I had it at 8AM, and even though i was staying just few minutes away from Embassy in Hotel Samrat, i put on the Alarm for 5:30 and also asked my mother (my parents are in Ambala) to ring me at the Hotel at the same time. Luckily, for me, both worked 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Anand says:

      Thank you Alok. You’ve opened my eyes and made me realize that my Mom might be the most effective alarm-clock! You are right – all those Project Management techniques come to a nought when Lady Fate pirouettes in. I think my error lay in not identifying the risks correctly…

      Liked by 1 person

  13. litadoolan says:

    Lovely blog post, thank you for making me smile! The best laid plans can go awry for sure 😉 Happy Sunday.

    Liked by 1 person

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