The day that I lost ‘time’..

“Don’t count every hour in the day, make every hour in the day count.”

- Father to me every time I stole glances at the clock as I did my homework.

That was the time when I was still a young kid often terribly frustrated by the complex arithmetic or sometimes intriguing, sometimes tedious science problems (or often a combination of both!). My only solace while dealing with them was the grandfather clock in my room, which on striking 8:30 pm, gave me a one hour free pass to television with absolutely no interruptions! Like every other thing, TV was also a thing that had its own fixed time in my house. Food, school, playtime, everything ran on the clock, military school style!! Now some of you would consider such a slavery of time being too harsh. But even as a kid, I completely lapped up the strict routine. In fact, when my mother replaced my cartoon-character themed electronic watches and gifted me my first ‘big guy’ wristwatch, I was on seventh heaven!! As it was waterproof, I even wore it for bath and did not remove it off my hand for almost a whole year (before you label me as freak, I was just 8 then!!). Even after my parents relaxed the restrictions as I grew up, I continued to follow the same schedule myself till my late teens. Of course there were some cons with this watertight scheduling. I just got one hour of TV so that meant just an hour of any movie that I wanted to watch. By the time I was old enough, I had watched loads of movies whose ending I had no knowledge of!! So it was the freedom of college that made me finally find out what happened to Darth Vader in the end, how the game in Jumanji ended or did John Connor manage to save the world!! So if time had so much value in one’s life, imagine the horror of finding out one fine morning that ‘time’ has disappeared!!!!

The past few weeks for me had been occupied in almost endless incessant work. But Thursday had been a big relief as I was finally able to finish up a manuscript that I had been working over the entire summer. Fit enough cause for some drinks and celebrations which made me wake up with a slight hangover the next morning. Even with the hangover, I realized I was missing my very able companion- my wristwatch! The very importance of this device in my life arises out of the unique way my brain perceives daily work. The checklist for the day are not of ‘x’ number of jobs but in fact ‘x’ number of minutes. For e.g. from the moment I stepped out of bath, my itinerary to a normal person would read as: two pieces of bagel with cream and cheese, a slice of watermelon, biking to the bus stop and taking bus to the college. To me, it read as 5.5, 2, 14 and 15 minutes. Without my wristwatch, I feel as lost as Susan Boyle in a rap concert!

I tried to hurriedly look around for a replacement. Two of my favorite ones were still packed deep inside my carry bag from a conference that I had returned from recently. The two lying outside were metal strapped ones which I hate wearing on hot summer days and the battery on the only other leather strapped one was dead. With no more time to waste, I finally decided to take the plunge and walk out without one! The entire day, the simple act of keeping track of time became nearly impossible. Every time I looked down at my wrist, a vacant spot stared back at me. I used my phone or computer sometimes and found myself way off the expected time. I missed the lunch hour, I worked an hour overtime, became overly productive and finished up work that I had reserved for next week!! Considering the way I was brought up, you will think of me as a person who likes finishing up things before time but on the contrary I am a big procrastinator. But I am also a unique kind of procrastinator, because I know how long exactly I need to procrastinate to get the job done right on time!! That’s why completing work in advance actually made me feel totally miserable!! Sad smile

Ironically, on returning back I watched two movies which had time integrated deeply into their themes- one whose script necessitated split-second timing (Inception) and another that dealt with power to turn back time (Prince of Persia). But even with themes of time spinning around me, weekends are time to relax and I was spared of the sinking feeling that I had all day on Friday. But now with the workday beginning tomorrow, I desperately needed to get order back from chaos. Thankfully, my wristwatch appeared out from beneath my couch that I slump into everyday. Perhaps, it missed me as much as I missed it! Tomorrow as we begin our happy journey once again, I realize its importance in my life and its immense contribution in shaping me the way I am: a procrastinator who always finishes his work on time! Open-mouthed smile