Tag Archives: Gurgaon

Of Times Past

1 May

Every morning, I have a date at eight.

(And, no, this isn’t one of those rhyming couplet thingies.)

I wait at a traffic light near my house in Gurgaon like a roadside Romeo, with a Mac on my back and lunch in the bag, shooing away auto drivers, stray dogs and flies. I wait for Pooja to turn up in her Accent and pick me up en route work…eight is early for me but better than nine, which is when another colleague, Rohit, sets off.

This has been my routine for the last two months ever since my mouse-like driver – paradoxically named Ganesh – disappeared to get his sister married off in Nepal and hasn’t turned up since. After the marriage of his sibling, his father died, tragically. And then his mobile phone died, happily. And with it, died any hope I had of recovering the eight thousand rupees he owes me. So, I became dependent once again on kith, kin and colleagues to drive me around. Why I don’t drive is matter for another mindless post but, for now, let’s come back to where I started…

Pooja is punctual. She’s also a lady. And, for reasons that cannot be shared socially, she’s usually hyper (unlike Rohit who is the most relaxed human being I have seen). All of which means that I cannot keep her waiting. So I have to reach the pick-up point at least two minutes before she does. It takes me four minutes to walk from the gate of the building to the signal. But the wait for the elevator in the building can take 30 seconds or three minutes – and, if there’s a power cut halfway down the four floors, add another two minutes. So I need to set out by 7:52 to make it in time. What’s life without a little precision, I say?

And no matter how fast one shaves and showers, breakfast must be gobbled, vitamin swallowed, watch, wallet and pen grabbed, wife waved goodbye…all of which will take precious minutes. Something in this routine will be forgotten occasionally.

That’s how I forgot the watch yesterday. For, perhaps only the second time in 34 years since I was gifted an Anglo-Swiss by my father. I’ve been a keeper of Time ever since though, sometimes, I think Time kept me. I’ve slept with a watch around my frail wrist; even perched it on a narrow ledge next to me so that I could see the time whenever I awoke at night (not that I kept any record of the wakeful moments all those years). Somehow, one felt naked minus a watch.

And so, over time, the watch became more than a teller of time, it was something to be worn – not as an accessory which is what it is for most people but as a teller of tales. Every watch I own (and there are seven) has a story behind it. Be it the Titan Moonphase that Shovon and I won during an Ad Club Quiz in Calcutta despite Derek trying very hard to ensure we wouldn’t win it for the second consecutive year. Those days, Derek was at his prime, non-political quizzing days whereas today he’s the one being quizzed by news channels. Or the HMT (yes, good old HMT) that was created during Contract’s 10th anniversary in 1996…it still tocks, sorry ticks! Or the commemorative Tintin Swatch I gifted myself in Paris on a lonely birthday in 2008 2006…its strap may be frayed but the character remains.

I don’t look at a watch to see the present; I see the past.

Most people, however, wear a watch as a pure fashion accessory and glance at the mobile phone to see the time: did Nokia kill HMT? And that’s a pity because no matter how smart your phone may be, it’s unlikely to have any deep, meaningful associations of people, places and events from another life.  It’s cold, plasticky and detached; quite unlike the blend of soft, worn, warm leather and cold metal around the wrist. Somehow, a changing digit on a phone doesn’t quite mark the passage of time like the revolving hands on a watch.

But then, I’m probably in a dying breed of watch-watchers caught in a time warp while a very mobile world flits back and forth into a fickle future.

Time to go, I think.

Second Law of Gurgaon

8 Sep

Mohitoz’ Law #65

In any market, a liquor shop will be the first to open – and the last to shut – every day.