Timeless existence

Twenty-four moons have waned since I last wore a watch and I would  feel distinctly inconvenienced if I put on one today. Now that’s a real turnabout. I know how distraught I was the day my old wristwatch (we had started our association in college) decided to take a break from its uninterrupted diurnal sweep, refusing despite any cajoling taps to activate the sweep-second hand.

I showed my watch to old watchmaker Rashid who sat in the quiet alley behind the raucous bazaar. Screwing on an eyeglass he examined the watch. Letting out a deep sigh, he pronounced the diagnosis and said that it needed replacement of a few parts. But suggested to put that aside and get a new one. So I laid my companion to rest.

Being without a watch could be fun, I realised. It certainly made for a more exciting working day. What was previously a straitjacketed aggregate of busy hours, predetermined by the appointments pad and monitored by my wristwatch was now an amorphous mix of issues.

The office had suddenly become an uncertain, slippery place where the mind had to be kept constantly honed and readied for action. I rolled with the tide, taking the jobs as they came. It was all along a heady combination of improvisation and control and a lapse meant getting a cold shoulder from the boss.

But more satisfying than my office roller coasting was the quieter, deeper strain of ‘timeless’ existence I had begun to uncover with every passing day.  The absence of a watch set me off on a search for the real pulse beats of the present.

From a speeding bus, I had once seen a great red orb sink below the world. The horizon rose and rose till only a fiery afterglow remained in the heavens. For the first time I perceived the steady and near imperceptible stages of the sun’s descent. I had gone beyond the calibrated seconds, minutes and hours to see the process in the raw.

I like to imagine that the hominid Lucy, moving through the scrubby African savannah some 3,000 millennia ago must have seen the same, followed the sun’s exit with a sharper eye, perhaps quickening her strides just that much so to arrive at her cavernous home with a little light still left over.

DH Newsletter Privacy Policy Get top news in your inbox daily
GET IT
Comments (+)