There is a disturbing ailment on the rise, stealthily catching people unawares. Many have fallen prey to this malady which, as of now, has no known cure. The affliction is known as chronic late-coming. Patients suffering from the disease are known as latecomers or even tidsoptimists. The patients describe a tidsoptimist as a person who is always late because they think they have more time than they do. The alarming disorder is prevalent in many diagnosed patients, though several live in denial. It might be anyone, your daily milkman. your kaamwali bai, your employee, your family, a friend or even you...

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The cons and cons of being with a tidsoptimist.

The disease is not known to be infectious but there are consequences of associating with latecomers. The patient might mean well, but will generally make you late as well without meaning to. Avoid latecomers at all costs on days which have exams, your own wedding and delivery emergencies.

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They lurk among us.

How do you know if they are among us? There are certain noticeable symptoms you can watch out for. The latecomer will always enter office an hour late, flustered, disheveled and looking considerably weather beaten. They will come up with stories like the auto-wallah deliberately took the congested road, my roommate fell down a flight of stairs, cab driver cannot understand GPS etc. As the malady worsens, the stories get increasingly unbelievable.

The art of coming up with the perfect excuse.

A doctor we contacted recounted the story of one particular patient (name cannot be disclosed due to confidentiality clause) who provided him with photographic evidence for turning up over an hour late for a session. The patient said that flying pigs had descended and blocked roads for a good half an hour. We have provided the evidence below:

(Photograph taken by habitual latecomer)

Latecomers have always shown tendencies of violence against alarm clocks. Hence, the clocks must be kept out of reach of patients and at a distance to force the patient to get up and turn it off.

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The unsung woes of the late lateef.

I suffered a mild case of the disease myself and it had some catastrophic consequences on my life. Getting to the workplace was an anxious affair. Friends abandon you once they recognise you as a latecomer. School buses leave you without showing any consideration for your condition and schools send you back home after informing your parents. I couldn't understand several movie plots as I reached late and missed the first 20 minutes of the movie but the silver lining to that is you never have to wait in a queue to get your popcorn.

How to deal tactfully with latecomers.

If you know a patient suffering from the malady, doctors advise that you be supportive and patient towards them. In case they have flights or trains to catch, push them out of the door hours before departure time. Hide alarm clocks in different locations everyday to wake them up, ignore the occasional spurts of violence like yelling, cuss words and smashing of clocks.

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In case you need to attend a movie with a latecomer, lie about the timing of the movie to make them accidentally arrive on time. In cases of parties, you can relax as the trend of arriving late at parties is now deemed as being 'fashionably late' (bah humbug). Bosses should appreciate their improvement (in case they are early by 5 or 10 minutes than their usual time) as opposed to criticising them for being 'an unprofessional ***** who needs to be fired'.

Scientists are hard at work looking for a cure but until then be understanding towards the patient. Stay safe, stay punctual.