It can be said with certainty that mankind lapsed into terminal decline at the precise second when watches and clocks stopped being tools of simple utility, but began to be deemed as symbols of style that hardly anybody else other than the owner/wearer cared to notice.
A normal human being, if he or she is in control of his or her usual senses, would be required to know the time, say, for just 5 or 6 times, in a day. By definition, a person, if she or he has plenty of things to focus his or her attention on, will be the one with the least necessity for the services of a watch.
The natural corollary to this is: If an individual has to keep glancing at the watch or clock for more times, it means only one thing: He or she has way too much of free time, and is exactly the sort of person to whom it doesn’t matter whether it’s daybreak or dusk as they are merely passing time by watching the passage of time, if you get my drift. But make no mistake, such persons can be unfailingly counted upon to act busy even when the only worthwhile work for them in the day is their periodical visits to the loo, which no doubt will be necessitated by the fact that during extended periods of inactivity human beings tend to drink more quantities of water or beer.
‘When overcome by boredom, check the time,’ is a credo that human beings have been swearing by for time immemorial. Cricket umpires do this all the time. But they have a pressing need: Cricket, especially Test cricket, has the same throbbing pulsation of the ketchup emerging out of a neck-constricted container. And naturally umpires, as the custodians of the game, are mandated to infuse dynamism into the field of play, if not to keep the interests of the audiences alive, then at least to prevent themselves from falling on the stumps asleep. Umpires ensure this by ordering, on the dot of every hour, drinks, the consuming of which usually is the sole thrilling high point in a day’s play of a Test match.
At any given moment, as can be proved by the unerring scientific formula of convenient guessing, a typical household boasts of roughly 60 clocks, out of which 59 are in a state of terminal non-function, and the only earthy use of them being in the fact they provide a cosy nook for the ceaseless cockroaches or the aimless spider to set up convenient base. Time waits for none, except zealous creatures from the insect kingdom.
Humankind is actually sitting on a ticking time bomb in the form of non-ticking clocks, and if they don’t wake up to the dangers surrounding them, soon they would be inevitably crammed out of their own households by the rapidly multiplying numbers of ‘unworking’ timepieces.
A clock, as is evident, is more difficult to maintain than a Rolls Royce. But a household comes to become a warehouse for clocks simply because they are the default choices for gifting on any occasion. ‘When in doubt, gift a clock,’ is another inviolable dictum of the earthly beings ever since the gift culture became a rampant pandemic.
These days not a week passes without an individual finding himself in a situation formal and solemn enough to offer a gift. And also, in general, a person gives a present much on the lines he or she receives. The simple formula to understand the gift equation is: If a household has 60 clocks at any given time, then at the same given time the members of the same household would have passed off 60 clocks as a present to different people on different occasions. It is based on this principle that Einstein may have cracked the idea that time is a relative concept.
At least clocks, with several walls to hang on, have a reason in the profusion of their numbers. But watches? A human being, unless he or she happens to be the clone of Ravana, can technically wear only two watches —- one each for the two arms. But that would obviously be a case of one two many, if you get my drift.
But the beauty of modern world is that people are unsparingly spoilt for choice when it comes to things for which there is actually little need. Watches, mobiles, shoes are in multitudes, but women to men ratio is coming down. Times, as I am saying, is alarming.
Watches as a style statement or a tool to establish one’s social superiority makes as much sense as having a puncture shop exclusively for road-rollers. I can’t imagine a woman that I may run into at a party developing carnal desires for me aroused by the Rolex on my wrist.
In fact, it is a moot point whether the Rolex on the wrist would be visible to anyone else other than the wearer. It is because of this technical difficulty of positioning that most Rolex-wearers tend to be shameless showboats. They desperately thread into the conversation the fact that they are sporting designer watches, the price of which is determined by the unpronounceability of their French/Swiss names. ‘I was doing nothing except the fact that I was wearing this Rolex watch,’ is one of the favourite lines of those part of the expensive watch-wearers club.
When not verbally straining to point out the detail that they are having on their person a Rolex or a Breitling or a Cartier, these indefatigable men and women would actually get down to pointedly drawing your attention to their wrists. So if their shoelaces are undone, they will not bend down and tie them as practicality would demand: They will lift their arms, and possibly frantically wave all around not unlike a politician at his constituency, and then slowly kneel down and attend to their shoe, all the while drawing whatever attention possible to their wrists. Parties and social dos naturally involve a lot of dancing, which is nothing but a ruse to lift the arms and announce to the world the brand of watch on the wearer’s hand.
Rolex and such watches, as can be seen, are only for those stylish and respectable people who would not let embarrassment come in the way of projecting themselves silly and stupid.
With all this copiousness of watches and clocks, you would expect human kind to be punctilious in keeping time. This piece was actually conceived for last week. But all these days i was busy doing pretty much nothing.
Of course, I was wearing my Aviator Series watch.