It’s always 11:26

I remember the first time I really understood the length of a year. I was six; as old as Chotto-ma is now. And I remember thinking how impossibly long one year was, and how it shouldn’t be called ‘one’ anything. It was trickery. A way of misleading children into thinking that it would pass as quickly as something with a ‘one’ before it should. But this wasn’t like the one that came after zero. One year had three hundred and sixty five days hidden in it. Oh, just a year, grown-ups always say. But when you’re six, it’s three hundred and sixty five whole days. That’s 525,600 minutes. Have you ever asked a child how long a minute is? It’s very long.

And there I was yesterday, thinking like the grown-ups I didn’t understand when I was six. I was thinking how fast this year has passed. And it made me think of how formless, how unquantifiable time is. How it shrinks with age, and stretches with youth. How the quantity of time depends on its quality – a good year rushes by, a difficult year drags without end.

It’s a wily thing, a personal thing – time. The length of your minute is different from mine. Your hour, your year is only as long as you perceive it to be, not me, nor the clock or the calender. Have I told you about the clock in our house that doesn’t tell time? It’s on the wall next to our dining table. It’s large, round. In fact, it’s the main clock in our living room. It’s always 11:26 on this clock; could be am or pm. I don’t remember when it stopped, it’s been a couple of years. It inadvertently tells the right time twice a day. I could pop a couple of batteries in, and the hands would tick to order. But I don’t. I like it this way. I like that in this little corner, time doesn’t exist.

Happy 2015, everyone. No matter what the length of our new year, I hope it has 525,600 good minutes. Minutes that live, breathe and count.

Much love.

26 thoughts on “It’s always 11:26

  1. Happy new year to you and yours, L!
    I love your notes, and I'm so glad you're here to read what I write. Thank you for that xx

  2. Thanks, Mathangi,
    Wishing you a little corner where time stands still for a bit and lets you do everything you want to πŸ™‚ Happy new year xx

  3. “Lose track of time when I read your blog” – that's the nicest thing to start my year with. Thank you, AD. Big hugs and much love to you and Ayesha! Have a full-to-the-brim 2015. Happy, healthy and kooky πŸ™‚

  4. Time is a personal thing. But when I ask my child to do something she likes, she doesn't care about the time but when I ask her to do her home work, she is quick to respond “It will take forever” That is how simple time is to children. As grown ups, we time everything – the things we enjoy and the things we don't.
    Lovely post as usual Pia.

    Happy New year!

  5. Such a lovely way to talk about time Piya, and so true…time has different definitions for everyone, in fact even for the same person depending on the situation…but just like you, I hope that every little bit of time in the year ahead is filled with much laughter, joy, health and contentment for each one of us…that we get to value our time here all the more :-)…happy new year !!!

  6. I can see Mimi's little face when she says 'FOREVER' πŸ™‚ From memory, homework does take forever! She has all my sympathies!
    I've always run away from routine and schedules; my way of making time good.
    I hope you have the nicest year, Anita! Happy new year to the three of you from the three of us xx

  7. Tandra, you used a word I hold more dear than any other: contentment. An underestimated word, but for me, larger than happiness. It's a word that guides me in the way I live my life, and the decisions I make.
    Thank you for the loveliest wish. A very happy new year to you and your family. Much love and well-being xx

  8. This is such a new thought for me Pia. Thanks a lot for sharing this, I would have never thought of freezing time this way! Lovely!!

    Happy New Year to you and your family and a special wish for dear Chotto-ma πŸ™‚

  9. Love the thought: both of the timeless timepiece and of the relative length of time. I often catch myself acting 'grown-up' in ways my child-version swore she never would. Every time I remonstrate with my 8 year old to clean his plate, quit wool gathering or return things to their rightful place, I hear echoes of my Maa from my own childhood…and recall the bitter fog in my little mind cast from the disharmony of it all. What does it matter in the long run anyway?Thanks for this very timely reminder. One of my least hearty resolutions for this year was to spend more time looking through the eyes of my son…'least' hearty because I'm guilty of lolling around too much in his head already. But just listing the banshee banter I subject him to for you here, is a sobering reminder that I've a long way to go!

    So here's to letting time languish a bit more this year and to make those seconds count.

    (PS: when you're next in India, be sure to buy both Himanjali Sankar's children books about 'The Stupendous time telling dog' wherein time stops and a Golden Retriever and 2 kids save the world! A lovely read for the kids and a warming introduction to India through skilfull writing)

  10. I was just discussing time with my husband yesterday evening and I believe we would both agree with you, time is a wily and personal thing. I'm working on using mine well. Pausing and making space more often is my basic strategy.

    Your corner where time does not exist… Wonderful. What a nice idea.

  11. “What does it matter in the long run anyway?” – You said it perfectly. And those are often my words to myself when I get overly concerned with the nitty-gritties.
    I love the book from your description alone, because Chotto-ma's longest-standing wish is to get a Golden Retriever some day. I'll ask Ma to get the book when she comes over this summer. Thanks for the tip, Chandreyee! πŸ™‚

  12. One only has to see your photos and read your lovely blog, both full of the small pleasures, to know that you use your time well, Denise x

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