My Watch

It had a shining face, clear as a crystal, when I first saw it. It had two hands working systematically and rhythmically like a heartbeat. The watch my dad bought me after my third standard examination was a wonderful creation. I didn’t know which brand it was or how costly it was but it was everything to me. Like how a fruit would protect its seed, I looked after it as if it was as delicate as a petal. Its dial, white as the snow would dazzle my eyes when I looked at it in the bright sunlight. My mom taught me how to read time for the first time from that watch. I realized from that watch, like enlightenment, how Time could run and also the tactic to chase it. Yes, I learned all that from my dear little watch. I couldn’t live a moment without it and I even went to sleep with it, tied around my wrist. Then I would go proudly to school, showing off my new watch to all my friends. I loved to keep the small dial to my ears and hear the soft sound of the hands ticking away. One day, while I was going home from school, I looked at my watch and I felt that my heart had stopped beating. The poor little thing on my hand had stopped working. I could no longer hear the sound of the hands. I went home wailing about how my watch had passed away. It was no less than a friend to me but my dad laughed at my pitiful state and consoled me that he could it bring back to life within 10 minutes. He claimed that he had a magic potion which when poured on top of the watch could make it go tick-tick again. I pleaded with him to bring my dear watch back to life. He went into his bedroom and within 10 minutes, lo behold, the watch was working as before, strong like a bull. It was only years later that I understood that all you needed was a button cell to keep a watch working. As the years passed by, my bond with the watch only grew stronger. My father even said that he would buy a new watch for me but I resisted and turned down his offer. I believed that no watch was as perfect and accurate as mine. When my friends changed watches almost every 6 months I held on to my watch. As years passed by and when I reached high school, many of my friends stopped using watches. They relied on mobile phones and other such gadgets. Even if they had a watch they would keep it inside their pockets as they found it very unfashionable to walk around wearing such lowly things. But I never parted with my watch. During examinations I would constantly glance at it, in doctors’ waiting rooms I would look at repeatedly and impatiently, during boring classes I would look at it with the hope that the class would last only 5 minutes, during picnics and parties I would pray that its hands would never move and looked at it for every important moment and event in my life. With the passage of time, it lost it glitz and it had scratches all over its face. I remember one incident very vividly. I was on one of my treacherous bus rides. It was really crowded and I could not even breathe. In a frantic attempt to get down at the correct stop I called out to the conductor, and asked him to stop the bus and I hurriedly jumped off the bus. In the process my hand hit the bus door and my watch suffered terribly. That scratch is still there, clear on its face, the shape of a sickle. My watch was in a very battered state but I could not replace it. I felt that replacing it would erase my past life. But eventually I had to stop using it. It stopped working forever and no magic potion could bring it back to life. I took it to a watch repairer with the hope that he could somehow retrieve it from its death bed.

“Oh miss, this is really old.”

I realized that it was just a euphemism for the fact that it was dead and beyond repair. I kept it inside its box and locked it up in my cupboard along with my certificates and valuables. I walked about without a watch for almost a month, but I could not manage without one so I bought a new one. I felt it uncomfortable on my wrist but had to get used to it. Sometimes when I get time, I take out my truthful friend and its tiny little dial I could see an excited little third grader.