Einstein said that time, like space, is relative; time isn’t always the same time, all the time. We don’t have to be Einsteins to discover the relativity of time for ourselves, as I’ve done, and I’m sure you have as well.When I was five years old – a long, long time ago, whatever that means – time crawled. Or so it seemed to me. I couldn’t wait to stop being five and become six, and becoming six was ages away.
Why did I want to be six? Because when you became six, you stopped going to kindergarten and were eligible to go to ‘big school’. You were in the process of becoming a ‘big boy’, a highly coveted status all little boys aspire to.
Trouble was time appeared to have gone on strike, or pushed off on chhuti, and stopped working altogether, with the result that my attaining the ripe old age of six seemed a prospect impossible of attainment.
I did eventually become six. And then time went into hibernation again. I couldn’t wait to become seven, eight, nine, and ten, when my school would officially allow me to discard short pants for long trousers, the prized uniform of maturity.
But each week was as long as a year, a year as long as a decade. And so it went, with painful slowness. When I became 16, and in long pants, I couldn’t wait to be 21, or at least look 21, so I wouldn’t suffer the humiliation of being chucked out of ‘A’ certificate movies.
After aeons, I did eventually become 21, and could with impunity go to ‘A’ movies. But something strange happened. From being in a state of virtual coma, time shook itself awake, broke into a brisk walk, which soon turned into a canter, and then a full-fledged gallop.
I’d got a job, and the working week passed in a blur of high-speed motion, the weekends even faster. Before I knew it, I was 30, 40, 50.
And like a boulder rolling downhill time is accelerating even faster now. One birthday is barely past when the next one turns up, like an unexpected and unwelcome visitor.
As we grow older, time passes faster. It’s time’s way of telling us that our time’s almost up.
The writer is a former associate editor of the Times of India. [Courtesy – ToI]