One evening, I got a WhatsApp message from an unknown number, saying, “Hey Anusha! Puttu here. I am in Mumbai for a project. Let’s meet.”
And here was Puttu (Patanjali Bhati). Puttu and I were like peas in a pod during our childhood, and studied together from Classes 1 to 5 in Jodhpur between 1990 and 1995. Our world was alive with doll houses, chocolate puddings, pyjama parties and ‘my best friend’ cards. Then our fathers, who were in the army, got posted out. In our hearts, we both knew that it was goodbye for now. Facebook and chat applications, that could have helped us stay in touch, came into the world much later, when we had settled happily into careers and marriage.
As our laughter resonated and we remembered the joyous times that we had shared, I marvelled at the ease with which 20 years had simply melted away, faster than molten chocolate sauce was absorbed by the warm sponge cake on our plates. The diversity in our personalities and professions (she is a painter and filmmaker, while I am a writer and income tax lawyer) was inconsequential.
After this beautiful meeting with Puttu, I realized how easily a time span of 20 years can be reduced to insignificance On the face of it, 20 years is a very long time, and yet it is not. A lot depends on how we perceive time. We had two options before us – either we could nullify this period of 20 years and cherish beautiful memories, or we could allow this period of 20 years to weigh us down creating a rift that could never be bridged. We chose the former option, and made time powerless!
Time is a dimension we created to systemise our lives and bring some discipline into it. But time is not an asset when we constrict ourselves by encapsulating every experience into slots of 24 hours, six months, a year, or a decade etc. and then run against the clock. Then time enslaves us. Rather than using time as a tool to effectuate best results for our own betterment, we often use time as a tool of entrapment losing sight of the larger picture in life. For instance, a year can make us feel older. We wait for the seventh day of the week to take some time out for self. We get tied down to notions of time for the activities closest our hearts which might be opening a care centre for animals, taking that dream vacation to a distant land, planting tomatoes in a terrace garden, or looking for the right time to say ‘I love you.’ We keep waiting for ‘a time,’ while time never waits.
The truth is that the only constant in life is the ‘running time.’ The only time is now. The beauty is that we have the choice to treat time as a fluid dimension, to stretch and contract it, based on what we think is best. Then time will never be too short or too long. Allow it to flow like a playful river, meandering in the mountains, sometimes forming glorious waterfalls, and at others, joining the vast expanse of the sea merrily.
This article was published at Hindustan Times.