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10 things we would outsource if we could

Grunting, moisturising, Madhur Bhandarkar and more. The Lounge team on chores we wish we could outsource to save time and emotional labour

In ‘Blade Runner 2049’, Ryan Gosling plays a replicant created to hunt down rogue replicants—to leave human hands free.
In ‘Blade Runner 2049’, Ryan Gosling plays a replicant created to hunt down rogue replicants—to leave human hands free.

In the minutes immediately following the successful completion of a visa application, I’m always convinced that it is the single most unnecessary chore I have done that week. And no matter what kind of assistance I have, it is me who has to go get photographed and fingerprinted. I cannot outsource this for more pleasurable activities.

To keep me company, and in the spirit of this piece, I crowdsourced this list by asking the Lounge team for one irritating chore they would outsource if they could. We rejected things that can actually be outsourced (but probably shouldn’t be), such as transcribing interviews and applying for a PhD programme. The filter was that it has to be a task that requires your physical, intellectual or emotional presence.

(It goes without saying that with the time and emotional labour saved, we could produce an even better issue of Lounge.)

1. “I would like to outsource the entire job of housekeeping to a 21st century cross between Richie Rich’s robot maid Irona and Tony Stark’s omniscient J.A.R.V.I.S. But as the possibilities are somewhat limited in suburban Mumbai, I could settle for a service that would do a daily tally of ingredients missing or past expiry date in my pantry and trash or replenish them. The service should also be able to come up with a diverse weekly menu with the aforementioned ingredients, complete with recipes and ingenious ways to repurpose leftovers."

2. “As a week-in, week-out film critic, I would love to outsource the business of dealing with the barrage of questions about whatever I’ve seen that come at me before I start writing my review. I usually grunt and make a non-committal gesture, but it would be great if someone else could do this for me."

3. “The nightly self-care routine! It’s such a bore. I would rather read or just fall straight asleep. Instead, I have to moisturize face, feet, hands...boring! Half the nights in a week, I forget in any case."

4. “Visits to the doctor. Even on the most regular visits, the anticipation, the fear of things that might be wrong and the prospect of spending another couple of days getting various tests done, is too much to bear."

5. “I wish I could outsource the difficult bits, the hard work, in being in a relationship; keep the good times for myself. With powers like Loki (from the Norse mythology and Marvel universe), I could put forward the front that would be a relationship-saver in the long term, the sensitive, accommodating one. The real me could be as self-absorbed as I please."

6. “Ah, how I would love to outsource the viewing of a Madhur Bhandarkar film."

7. “About four months ago, I had a knee surgery. I went to a physiotherapist who taught me exercises I needed to do every day for at least 45 minutes to rehabilitate. Today, I want another kind of physiotherapist. One who will do the exercises for me after I get home from work, will stare endlessly at the ceiling fan as he rotates and stretches the body at awkward angles, or do sit-ups while standing against the wall. All this while I hang out with friends or come home sloshed, just like normal young people do."

8. “Overthinking is the mother of all disasters. It leads to stress and stress leads to hasty decisions. I would like to outsource my ability to overthink. Let someone else overthink for me and give me perspective. All I will then need to do is take the right step."

9. “Having to answer the question, ‘Was this the best?’, after sex."

10. “Filling the last point in a round-figure list that needs the last point to make the round figure.

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