"Oh, my gosh!! It's seven already. I'm going to be late today!" He screamed. Panicking, he started to stuff his cleats and jersey into his football bag. My son had a tournament and obviously, he didn't want to be late. "Don't worry, that clock is 10 minutes fast. Daddy keeps it 10 minutes ahead so he can leave for the office in time. No need to rush; take your time." I said assuringly. With a sigh of relief, he muttered, "Thank God! The one in the hall says it's 6:45, so I still have time." "No! Do not look at that one; it is 5 minutes slow; it needs to be repaired." "Good Lord!! Every room has a clock and not one that tells you the correct time." Smirking, he said, "Fantastic clocks but just to decorate the walls of the rooms— none that serves the purpose it's meant for. What a waste! I think I'll just go check my phone or maybe my laptop for the exact time." He was angry, and rightly so. The one thing I never understood was— how does keeping your clock 10 minutes ahead help you get ready well before time when you already know that it's fast by 10 minutes? Unless, each time you forget that the clock is fast. Or maybe you're trying to trick your brain by doing so. I have often seen people do this, and I just don't get it. Somebody in my family once said, "Time is the most over-rated thing in the world." Apparently, that person doesn't wear a watch, and there is no clock in his room. Whenever he feels hungry, he eats; and when he feels sleepy, he sleeps. There's nothing like "Lunch Time" or "Dinner Time" for him. He just goes by his biological clock. It ticks to tell him he's hungry, and it also tells him, it's time for some shut-eye. Somehow, earlier, I never agreed with him; but now, I do. For years I found myself running around the clock with "5 o'clock alarms" waking me up every day. Agree or not, alarms just annoy you, and most of us set early alarms because we know well that we will be snoozing them at least twice. So alarm set at 5 means getting out of bed at 5:20 a.m. From the morning chores, making breakfast, and leaving for the office was a daily, mundane routine. 8:15 a.m. was the morning deadline to leave the house, lest I would be late for the office. Consequences stood right behind the door next to my cubicle, in case I didn't make it in time. The evening rush to reach home in the traffic was equally maddening. On reaching home, first dinner and then, time to hit the sack for my precious 5-hour snooze, the only respite after the long office hours. I call it snooze, as a good night's sleep requires at least 7 hours to qualify as "sleep." I never had any time for parties; I actually longed to talk to friends and chit-chatting, considering my garrulous nature. Time killed it all. I wish it was a 48 hour day to fit in things that I actually wanted to do. Years went by, yelling at my kids in the name of discipline – "It's time for school, It's time to do your homework," and then, "It's time to sleep." In every sentence, it was time which was of paramount importance. My kids were sick of my customary recitation. It was Time that got in the way of every activity they enjoyed. "Get up; it's time for school," interrupted their sound sleep. In my experience, sleep quality is best toward the wee hours of the morning. Alas! There is no choice, but to wear your MUM's hat and do the needful, and be ready to listen to the day's first compliment. "Mum you're heartless,"– was the usual. I don't know about the heart, but my mind just said, "IGNORE." "It's time to do your homework," cut into their playtime, and I was made to see their frowning faces and reluctant gait. "It's time to sleep" just meant that school is ahead, so no more bedtime stories. This "Time" earned me my "MOM the disciplinarian" reputation at home. The kids hated me, and who was responsible? Time, of course. Life is a race against time – We've all heard this several times, but can we ever beat Time? You bet, not, or maybe never. I am chalking out a plan, for my future; at least I do have the liberty to do that much. When I am retired, I'll probably go to a small place, where the seeping sunrays and the chirping of the birds tell me it's morning; when the dusky sunset glow tells me, it's time to head home, and I surely do not want my stomach to be dictated by Time. I want my eyes to close on their own, telling me that I need rest, falling into a sweet slumber of happy dreams. To finish this colloquial Time-piece, or let's say, a Timed piece, I would just say, "Enjoy your 'NOW'– the moment - as that is the only time you have control of, and it's fast slipping away. So make the best of it."
Scribbled a few lines for my dear girl on Daughter’s Day.
Living in apartments is interesting, but peace at home depends on a lot of factors around you. If you’re trying to work or decide to record for your YouTube Channel, here’s my suggestion; do it at the crack of dawn, cutting a wee bit into your sleep time. You never know when your neighbour’s kid might want to play with his drum set, trying to display his innate skills. You never know when some teenager decides to have a musical night with his amigos. The jarring sounds might just creep into your home like unwelcomed guests disrupting all peace, and sadly, you can’t always shut them out. In short, you have to be careful with the timing; what work can be done at what time.
It was Saturday, and we all had our plans that had been waiting for a whole week. Saturdays are always booked with movie plans, some family time, some cooking, sharing weekly blues and lots of catching up to do.
But it so happened that…
We were trying to watch TV, but we couldn’t. Daddy was trying to listen to some music, but suddenly, his good headphones betrayed him. The little one was trying to make out the dialogues of his animated film, but he simply couldn’t. So, he got a small stool and sat right next to the TV, ignoring my big eyes looking at his unacceptable proximity to the loud box.
I was calling from the kitchen, asking the rest to be seated for lunch, but nobody heard me. Finally, everyone shut down their devices and sat down quietly, thinking that we can probably enjoy each other’s company at the dining table. But it was not to be. We couldn’t even hear each other talking. The constant drrrrrrrrrrrrrr of the drill machine was the only thing that kept our ears occupied. The unrelenting sound hammered into our heads.
As the drill machine took a two-minute break, the ears were thrilled with some relief, but the mind scoffed at the ears as the shrill noise boomeranged right back into the still hopeful ears.
“A whole Saturday is being wasted; God knows how many holes they are going to drill,” I said. This unwelcomed thought somehow triggered my daughter. Pushing her chair, she stood up and banged her novel at the table and walked off to her room rather briskly. She switched on her radio and put on the channel where she found the noisiest metal song ever to either block or compete with the whirring sound; I can’t say. Little did she know that she was just adding to the din.
The incessant and annoying cacophony of the two variants was too much for us. We had no control over the external element, but we controlled what we could.
“What are you up to? Stop this loud music right now,” I said indignantly.
The music stopped immediately. Now, this was something different. Usually, teenagers wouldn’t even acknowledge the request when asked the first time. Calling them three to four times for anything is standard.
The young lady stepped out from her room and, without a word, whisked past me and headed straight for the balcony. Pouring her lungs out, she looked up and bellowed, “HEY THERE! IT’S A SATURDAY! ARE YOU GUYS TRYING TO MAKE SWISS CHEESE OUT OF YOUR WALLS? DO YOU NEED ANY HELP WITH IT?”
Believe it or not, the drill machine stopped. An apology was also round the corner; the neighbours came forward to say sorry and politely asked if we could give them fifteen minutes the next day.
The neighbours learnt a new lesson – weekends are precious to everyone.
We, too, learnt another lesson – “Love thy neighbour,” but let thy neighbours know that it is a mutual feeling.