catching up with time
Sometimes, life feels like a constant ceaseless chase after time. It’s stressful and traumatic, quite like 12th standard was.
I would wake up after 23 or so alarm beeps and kukarekus (Mine is a Russian rooster – an attempt to rupture my bond with what is known as Indian time) and look around. It would dawn on me that time had gotten ahead, again. I’d chase the hand that’s the median – neither the tortoise nor the sprinter. I can picture myself, phone in one hand, backpack weighing me down, phone hand up in the air jostling the falling backpack back to its place, eyes ahead, running a funny run inside the grandfather’s clock in the living room – faintly resembling a cordless phone, one with an antenna, one that’s stuck in a clock. I dread being chased, cause the worst hit is the one you know is coming but you are completely unaware of when precisely and cause of my restricted only-forward vision. The most painful part is the wait before a punch – you want to be done with it but it just doesn’t come, and just then as you relax a moment and loosen yourself, it lands on your face like a thunderous thud. The anxiety is agonizing. In this case, it’s the longest hand I’m afraid of and the looming strike on my unsuspecting back. It would always get the better of me, it’s quite an athlete. With its unbeatable momentum, it’d knock me down even before I accelerate enough to reach my best. Just when I manage to gather myself up and mobilize myself again, it’d strike me. Again. Then Again. Again.
Staggering, feeling the angst, I would try to scuttle – one long hurried step at a time. I’d turn around to check, I’d bend down at every real and
imagined sound, mostly the latter. To complete as many steps I can, before the bang and the tumble. This would go on, a to-do list in my mind, time
dashing in ease, following and over-taking- and following, unassumingly somehow, yet assiduously. Like that was all it had to do, run – the same unvarying, humdrum pace, strike some anticipating, other unwary but all harmless men. A synchronous run – three runners: the athlete, the median and another one: the small tortoise, dissimilar distances, yet same time period – that goes on forever. A race to get ahead of everyone.
I, still at home, writing hurriedly and groping for words, in pyjamas. Time, already at work.
At work, with nerve wrecking code, time’s at the code review.
Still at work, with the same code, Time’s jogging back home.
I get home, loads to do, time’s done, now it’s just running for fun.
I’d decide to start earlier the next day, before time could get where I was. I’d have the unfair advantage, only it‘s quite fair – time is battery run, so. I’d wake up to the 8th kukareku. I’d pat my own back, good start. I’d begin there. I’d think about how I’d kick time’s buttocks, it’s time for retribution. Bang, a hit – I’d stumble and roll. I’d get on my feet and dart ahead, angry as ever. I’d master the pattern, I’d lie flat every fifty nine steps, letting the longest hand pass, realizing that as much as it’s fast, it’s dim-witted. I’d rise and run again, always staying ahead of the median – the second hand, this time I’d stay ahead of time – the merciless trio that’s pointlessly running in circles, a run to the future, without living today.
Once I sprinted so fast, got much ahead and took a nap. I woke up to realize I was still ahead. The nap feels good only when you’re ahead, otherwise it only adds to the guilt. This wicked group of ruthless athletes can never be slowed down, can be beaten though.
Now, life seems easy and in control and certainly less painful – now that I‘ve learnt to evade the butt-thumps.