Time Elasticity

( I wrote this piece in 2014. I revisited, reviewed and made a few edits. The content seems to be valid even after ten years. Time challenges haunt me even today. Though time flows like a river, the unpredictability remains. Though the day looks beautiful, turbulence varies from person to person. I am sure my readers have their thoughts on time. Happy Reading!)

I have been making a serious effort to improve my blogging score beginning in 2012. I have realized in the last three months that time determines everything. Time can be a good friend and a great enemy, and there are good and bad times. Only time will tell.

Of late, I have been observing how many people spend their time. Though God has given all of us 24 hours a day, perceptions seem very different.

Let me start from the top. For an older person like my mother, time is painfully slow. Every day she prays that it will be her last day. She is waiting for the previous day in her life. Many senior citizens consider time to be prolonged.

Come to an age group like mine — every day is very inconsistent. Some days go faster, and some days go painfully slow. Even within the day, the morning is faster than the evening. Every day is different. Every morning I need to figure out what would fill the day. There are certain things in the day I love and many I hate. Sometimes it is interesting to have this pattern without specifically defined tasks in the day. In the end, I always end up with a lot of stress.

Working adults differ from person to person. In the majority of cases, work expands to fill the time. Have you seen an exciting inscription on Vidhana Soudha (Assembly and Secretariat ) in Bangalore? “ Government work is God’s work”. The interpretation of the quote changes with time.

Married adults have different perceptions. There need to be more than twenty-four hours — time flies. I recall a quote from my early school days on relativity: “ If you put a hand on a hot stove, it would be like an hour. But if you sit with a nice girl for an hour, it would appear as though it is a minute”. Any takers?

Workaholics. These guys love work. They want to review, review and review. Time and place do not come their way. This set of individuals wants more than 24 hours a day.

For students, the story is altogether different. On an examination day, the time goes slow. Maths class goes very slow. PT class goes super fast. On vacation days, it is very different. In the company of gizmos and friends, it is fantastic. No time, even for food.

Time perception changes with the personal situation as well. In a crisis, time flows very slowly, and on vacations, time flies past. In the case of emotional separations, the only healer is always time.

Babies and young children have a different perceptions. They want to grow up faster and do everything adults would do. Most of them seem unhappy with their situation.

If one looks at some of the above examples, no one seems happy with the time. Are 24 hours not enough? What happens if we cut this in half, say 12 hours?

Claudia Hammond beautifully sums up in her book — Time Warped: Unlocking the Mysteries of Time Perception.

“ We will never have total control over this extraordinary dimension. Time will warp, confuse, baffle, and entertain however much we learn about its capacities. But the more we learn, the more we can shape it to our will and destiny. We can slow it down or speed it up. We can hold on to the past more securely and predict the future more accurately. Mental time travel is one of the greatest gifts of the mind. It makes us human, and it makes us special.”


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