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The Meaning of Time

I find all my old friends on Facebook, getting back to the community with great vigor (myself included) as we all approach our forties, which marked old age in the times of yore, and I am reminded of Virginia Wolf who said "One of the signs of passing youth is birth of a sense of fellowship with other human beings as we take our place among them". I remember, when we knew each other long time ago, death was a possibility which was not even looked at as a possibility. There were two people in the college, that I knew personally well and lost to freak accidents, and that was the closest to death that I had ever been, one of them having his last words, before loosing sense of all words around. But still, death seemed to be a far fetched idea, it was something that can happen to people, yes, people, not to me. Never could I comprehend the fear when we would engage into acts endangering life, Ah, so sure we were of life, then. We would get angry with people and will not step forwards to make up, never did it ever dawn on us that this could be only opportunity to know a human being in the ways, which paucity of time could render impossible in the days to come. Although, I do confess, not all people were worth giving time of the day to, still, some still deserved more out of my days, which I could not give, always thinking tomorrow I will make it up.
So the life passed by, I suppose the speed with which it sped past me, was the same as it is now, however, perhaps from relativity principle of Einstein, since in our youth, we, ourselves are moving with such great vigor and speed, like a young rivulet coming down from the mountains with unhindered exuberance, with finding and changing employment, falling in and out of love, and dreaming of what we can be and such things; life, like what we see from the aircraft window, seemed to move comparatively slowly. Surprised as we were when those older than us would advise us that the moment which one fades into eternity, never comes back, it only gets replaced by a new moment in the string of beads which Life keeps counting. As an Urdu poet (Farhat Shazad) has wonderfully put it in a couplet "Socha kiya main waqt ki dehleez pe baitha, Sadiyon mein utar jaata hai, Lamhon ka safar kyun" loosely translated to English which means, "I sit thinking on the doorstep of time, Why the journey of seconds gets merged into centuries." only when we slow down with age, we realize how quickly life is passing us by. Life which till now was a loving companion, matching every step with us, suddenly seems like a train with thunderous chug chasing us, as we keep running on the track with every breath, dropping from our heart like molten lead falling on the footprints we are leaving behind, each drop heavier than the earlier one and each step slower than the earlier one. Every moment, every day, we think of someone, pretty fondly, but rather then taking time to call them, or catch them for a coffee, we hold it off till another day, when we will make it up to them, then another day, then another, till none is left. As Seneca had put so aptly in his letters, when he said," Nothing, Lucilius, is ours, except time. We were entrusted by nature with the ownership of this single thing, so fleeting and slippery that anyone who will can oust us from possession."
Thoreau said "As if you could kill time without injuring eternity.", I trust he wrote about the feeling of uselessness and helplessness we feel on the day when the profound truth hits as a hammer on our pounding heart that we are left with nothing but some broken breaths and a sheer helplessness, extending unto eternity, as we find our kids suddenly grown up and our life suddenly passed by, without any happiness. You always knew you had a song in you, when your school teacher asked you to keep quiet in the class; You always knew you had a nice painting in you, when your parent asked you not to ruin the drawing room walls, and you promised to yourself, someday you will learn how to sing well, learn how to paint, and thinking it somewhere in the back of your mind you went about life, with a head held high with empty arrogance, as kids kept on growing and your hairs kept on collecting silver through the years, till one day, you feel as a failure, with everything that means life lost out on the way. A nice word of advice comes from Carl Sandberg, which I ponder upon as I pull my paunch in, cursing between the lips another day passing by without exercising, miss my daughter's head without kissing, when he says,"Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you." Man is a rational animal, which helps it survive through the failures of life, but at times we know the rationales that we put forward to explain our own slippages as we live our lives, turning blind eyes to all what we could have become but for our lethargy ( not necessarily a great painter or writer or singer, a good father or mother or son or daughter could well be an achievement, if that is what the life force which lives in your person, whispers into your ears that you are supposed and capable to become, every night before you sleep, and before you put it to sleep with a loud voice which no one can hear, like an arrogant kid) and procrastination, are nothing better than eloquence of thought which we use to explain ourselves to ourselves, with no grain of truth in them. The most common excuse we make is because we had no choice, which is not the truth. Only thing I have learnt in life, which I have written in some of my other blogs is that we always have several choices, with each one having a price associated with it. Sometime the price associated with the choice most consistent with our being is the one which is the priciest one, and we assume it to be not an option. But, we can not wish it away, the option lives and stands their, surviving our annoyance and ignore, staring at us, constantly pleading to the kind and noble in our heart to extend the arms and take it into our laps and love as our own.
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