I wasn’t keeping well and had a very disturbed sleep last night. I woke up at about half past seven; my wife was already shouting from the Kitchen that I was late. As I rose from the bed, I saw that my little daughter was awake too and she immediately sprang on me. She was surprised to find me still in bed and was visibly happy. As she began to climb over my shoulders, I (who was already late) asked herto get down as I had to hurry up and left the room. When I was at the door, I just looked back to find her sitting on the bed with a look that I can never describe. I think I saw pain.
As I was driving to office, I was wondering – what the hell am I late for?
This instance haunted me the whole day and as I thought about it,the whole stupidity began to surface.
I think this is one of the most sinister traps we all have got in to- Chasing time. We are always late for some thing or the other. Late for office, late for meetings, late for lunch, late for leaving office, late to bed. This has become an obsession; time dictates our life.
Fundamentally the problem is not about respecting time, but I think the problem is about getting caught up with that. Say, I am doing something and it’s late at night. The great time keeper in the mind says – get to bed, you are late. Otherwise you don’t get enough sleep or you are going to wake up late. Which means either you are drowsy in the office or you are late. Which further means….enough. I stop and go to bed.
And the wonderful mind gives all the logical reasoning needed for this. What will happen when I leave late to office? There is going to be more traffic on the road, which means I will be more uncomfortable and probably take some extra time to reach. Very logical! So what happens, the moment I wake up and till I am actually in office, there is a persistent voice in the head that I am late.
Not only that we are in this trap, we use it against others whenever possible. The satisfaction it gives me when I say – I am late because you haven’t readied the breakfast on time, I have been waiting for you for 30 minutes, how can you waste by time?, get this presentation on my table in 1hr sharp, send me your quarterly objectives by the end of the day, I had to waste half a day because of a stupid mistake you did…
And what do we do with this time others have saved for us? We shamelessly waste it as we desire, without ever being even conscious about it.
And what we loose in this whole process of chasing time is those little joys that make up our life. They are left behind and it might not occur to us that those moments might never come again in our life. When they came, just for us, we were not there. We were chasing else which infact might be much less significant.
When I look back, at some point in my life, it wasn’t as bad as it is now. I did things as I liked, some times I did nothing for days. I ate what I wanted, slept when I wanted. But now I can see all that effort that I put in to make myself more productive, punctual and successful in life. It really has taken some good effort.
But now, it is really scary. Many things in my life are done not because there is a need, but just because it’s time to do it. I have been eating my lunch everyday at 12.30 and this ritual happens irrespective of whether I am hungry or not. I go to bed at 11.00PM; doesn’t matter if I am sleepy or not.
Who is ‘me’ to complain? The time is important. And only that’s important.
And it is so obvious why children are happy and creative. They are never late for anything. They are just there wherever they are needed to be at whatever time they are needed.
I think this is actually the case with each of too. But it’s just that the amount to mess that we built up in the mind to justify this stupid act of chasing time prevents us from seeing the truth. What’s the result? We are still not there where we are needed and when we are needed. In addition, we always carry this permanent disturbance of wanting to be somewhere else sometime later.
I took my daughter out in the evening, played with her and read her a story book. But I’m sure the look she gave me today will linger in my consciousness for a long time to come. And how many such golden moments have I lost simply because I wasn’t there?