All the wrist watches in the watch case, have run out of batteries. They have been like that for a couple of months now. I want to revive them back into life, wear them, and watch the time tick away. Yet, I have not done much for that to happen. Last evening, as I was getting ready for a party, I opened my wardrobe.
I found the beautiful silver box, inside which I have lined up my watches, jutting out from an over-crowded drawer. As I nudged it in and pushed back the drawer, I realised for the first time, that I don’t miss wearing a watch!
I had declared that I was ready to wear a wrist watch the day I learnt how to tell time. Of course, my parents thought otherwise. Naturally, whenever I got an opportunity, I would sneak up to the cupboard where mom kept her watch and try it on.
It was a small watch with a black strap and a round white dial. It was hard to hook up the strap. So, I would simply place it on my wrist, admire it for a few minutes by holding both ends of the strap and then, put it back.
When I was ten, a new girl came to my class. The girl, Anitha, wore beautiful dresses and carried a shoulder bag with pretty prints. Most of the things that she had amazed us — like the pencil pouch with magnets or the pencil with an eraser on the other end or even the full length scale.
I took care of the watch — wiping it with a neat cloth every now and then and making sure the dial had no scratches. I wore it, the first thing in the morning and took it off, last thing in the night
But, the best part was — she wore a watch to school! “Imagine knowing the time when we are at school”, we all whispered to each other. The watch she wore had us all enamoured. It was a small watch with a golden strap that had little chain dangling about.
“It is gold”, the other girls told me one evening. “It is bright and shiny alright”, I agreed. I imagined myself wearing one such watch and looking at it during school hours. I dreamt about wearing it on Sundays and other holidays. It felt good but I never gathered enough courage to ask my parents for one because, I knew in my heart, that, watches were expensive and were simply not bought for kids.
My parents probably read my mind, because, one day, when I was thirteen, my father decided to get me one. Although, it hardly resembled Anitha’s watch, it felt perfect. It had a brown dial with a bright yellow strap. I was thrilled.
I took care of the watch — wiping it with a neat cloth every now and then and making sure the dial had no scratches. I wore it, the first thing in the morning and took it off, last thing in the night. Some days, I even wore it to bed and took it off only when I had to shower.
I wore that watch, every single day, for the next decade.
Two years, after I got married, I wore that watch on a hiking trip. The path was rugged with many streams criss-crossing. It was a beautiful sight — lots of oxygen, fresh green trees and cool air. As I hiked pausing every now and then to take in the sight, I slipped and fell.
That was the last I saw of the watch. No amount of searching yielded any result. I sat on a nearby rock and mourned the loss.
Today, as I count, I have nearly eight watches. All of them beautiful, some of them from Swiss factories. Yet, I don’t really miss them. But, something about that watch allures me still.
I may have lost that watch in that hiking track but I have not lost the feel of that little dial on my skin. That watch lingers on in my heart and I will continue to miss it — till the end of time.
— Sudha Subramanian is an author and freelance writer based in Dubai. Twitter: @sudhasubraman