Does it ever occur to you how merciless time is?
We all have some unforgettable moments in life. If only that amazing weekend could last a little longer. If only they could perform one more song. If only I could look into her eyes and get blissfully lost for another second, minute, hour – just give me something, damn it!
And you know how many times the Clock gives a shit? That’s right. Zero.
It just keeps plundering on.
I remember the time when MS Dhoni hit the world cup winning six in 2011, and before we could see the Indian team celebrate, the broadcasters put on advertisements. They just don’t care. Time is no different.
But this doesn’t bother me much. All beauty is fleeting.
I think I take time for granted, despite its inherent ruthlessness. If time could be stored in a vault, I’m under a strange delusion that there are heaps of millions of golden hours in my vault.
I’ll tell you how I know this.
There is an endless list of things I just plan to do. All sorts of things. It can be as small as making a phone call to a friend. It can be learning to play the piano. Watching Manchester United live. Reading Gone with the Wind. Writing more stories about Europe. Getting posters printed for my room. Going to a karaoke bar. I could go on, and so could you.
Someone recently asked me, “So what happened to your dream of writing a book?” I typed ‘lol’ in reply, and gave some bullshit rationalization for an answer. But deep down, that question really hurt. It made me realize the inordinate amount of time I’ve spent talking and thinking about the things I want to do. What have I actually done? Zilch. Nothing.
Sure, every time you read about some unfortunate accident causing casualties, or when someone you know gets really sick – you tell yourself life is short. Five seconds later there you are, scrolling on to the next picture. And you go on living exactly the same way, with the comfortable assumption of having enough time.
An empty wallet tells us we need more money. A hungry stomach tells us to get more food. Hell, thanks to technology we know the exact number of calories we are consuming and burning. But for all that the human species has achieved, there is no notification for time that is lost.
“Dear Kishore, it has been 8 years since you first dreamt of writing a book. Your progress hasn’t moved from 7% for the last 3 years.”
“Dear Kishore, we’d like to remind you that you promised to call your friend ‘V’ seven times in the last eight months. He’s not going to be there forever.”
“Dear Kishore, that was the 17th person you told about wanting to play the piano. Your dream will die soon, unless you start next month.”
Notifications like that would’ve made us chase what we want with a renewed vigor.
In seventh grade, I remember my favorite teacher being the invigilator for an exam. I was staring blankly at the question paper, with my pen lying still. She came up to me and asked, “Why aren’t you writing?”
“Ma’am, I’m thinking.”
“There are no marks for thinking. Write.”
That is the message I want to leave you with. You can decorate your mind with whatever thoughts and ideas you want. But only actions matter.
You can tell your friend a hundred times that you are thinking of them, that you want to talk to them. It doesn’t mean anything. Give work and WhatsApp a break and make the damn call. You’ll feel terrific, I promise you. That is our natural response to doing things we really want to do. And these little wishes can be little, they don’t have to be grandiose dreams.
Your friends have heard enough about the things you’ve always wanted to do. Maybe some of those dreams were just superficial, but the rest of them are waiting. They are like little kids waiting for their fathers in the playground, standing by the swing alone. They’re tired of hearing ‘you’ll come sometime soon’. While you’re uttering those empty words to yourself or someone else, they’re quietly crying. Sooner or later, they’ll vanish into thin air.
Time cannot take a break, but you can.
It’s not who you are underneath, but what you do, that defines you.
– Christopher Nolan