Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Time - The Master of Universe

I don’t know when my fascination for clocks and watches started. My earliest memory of a time keeping instrument is of my mother teaching me how to see time as a five- year-old. Other memories of childhood I remember are marriages in the family where the ‘mahurat’ was very important and invariably one heard somebody saying, “Jaldi karo time nikla jaraha hai”(Lets hurry as time is running out).

During the 1971 Indo-Pak war, my father, who was in IAF, was posted in Pathankot. I remember my mother waiting for my father’s call everyday and when it didn’t come she used to say: “Bhagwan kisi tarah yeh waqt sukh shanti se nikaal de”(Hey God, make these times pass safely and peacefully). In 1974, when my grandfather passed away, I remember my grandmother saying: “Beta time sab tohn balwan hunda hai, kadi duk dinda hai te pher aap hi marham vi landa hai” (Son, Time is the most powerful thing. It inflicts pain and then also applies balm). As I grew up I came to realise the importance of time — whether it was while playing hockey or while preparing for exams.

In 1975, my father was posted at the Air Force Academy near Hyderabad. We used to visit the Salarjang Museum where I was impressed the fabulous collection of clocks on display. I still remember pleading with my father to take me back to see the clock in which every hour, a few figures would come out and hammered the tong as many times as the ‘hour’ hand stuck. Clearly, my fascination for time was growing. The earliest brands I remember are Favre Leuba and HMT — the first, my fathers’ new watch and the second my fathers’ old watch, which later became my first watch. Every night, before going to bed, my father wound up the Seiko bedside clock and I wound my wrist watch. Sometimes while lying on the bed, I kept staring at the 3 hands. The famished looking ‘seconds’ hand worked the hardest. It had to rotate 3,600 times to make the ‘hour’ hand move one digit. I would innocently think, why doesn’t time ever stop even when the watch stops? Why do all the hands go down and come back to the same place after a defined time but why do they not go back after completing one cycle?

In 1987, when I went to Russia, I spent all my ‘gifting’ money on four hand-crafted Mockba timepieces, of which I still have two. The hand-crafted, gorgeous, Russian clock which is in the shape of a key and is hand-wound is quite symbolic for me. The first gift to my future wife was a Titan watch. In 1994, I bought a very expensive Seiko watch for myself, which I still wear sometimes. Next year, I picked up 10 clocks from Japan and Spain. Some of those Seiko and Twin Bird clocks still function perfectly.

As LG’s marketing & sales head, in my first presentation to my team, I added two Ps to Kotler’s four Ps. These two Ps were Passion and Pace. When I now look back, I realise both in their own ways relate to my fascination with time. Whatever little success I have achieved, it’s due to these two differentiators. In 1998, I bought my first Grandfather clock, which occupies a pride of place in our drawing room. Today, I have over 60 timepieces in various shapes and sizes. A few of them run faster and a few slow. Time, however, doesn’t alter its pace to match theirs. Over a period of time, I have realised that time moves only in one direction. No one can ever ‘turn back the clock’. So why waste this precious resource?

This was also published by Economic Times on last Sunday wth the heading 'In love with Time'.


Dev said...

Nice Post - one of the best so far ! Also nice to note that you are planning to increase frequeny of posting. You know what - you are inspring me to start my own blog !!

Rose said...

I did see this article on ET..

Reminded me of Mark Twain's essay title "MY WATCH AN INSTRUCTIVE TALE" wriiten in 1887.. It begins this way..

'MY beautiful new watch had run eighteen months without losing or gaining, and without breaking any part of its machinery or stopping. I had come to believe it infallible in its judgments about the time of day, and to consider its constitution and its anatomy imperishable. But at last, one night, I let it run down. I grieved about it as if it were a recognized messenger and forerunner of calamity. But by and by I cheered up, set the watch by guess, and commanded my bodings and superstitions to depart...'


Manish said...

You are right...time is very powerful...and there is always so little of it...

Sorry for cluttering your blog...but i thought the following song(Turn Turn Turn by The Byrds)

To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time for every purpose, under heaven

A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep

To everything (turn, turn, turn)....

A time to build up,a time to break down
A time to dance, a time to mourn
A time to cast away stones, a time to gather stones together

To everything (turn, turn, turn)....

A time of love, a time of hate
A time of war, a time of peace
A time you may embrace, a time to refrain from embracing

To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time for every purpose, under heaven

A time to gain, a time to lose
A time to rend, a time to sew
A time to love, a time to hate
A time for peace, I swear its not too late

dhammakaaya said...

I have had the privilege of being part of your team ,Mr.Karwal and can vouch for the fact that you are a stickler for time.So I fully understand the importance of phrase 'Time is the Master of the Universe' in your life and also your fascination for 'time'-pieces.I would definitely though like to spend more time being part of your team since time flies and work becomes a passion when you are around:-)If this is flattery ,so be it - Cheers,Nirmal

PESHWA said...

Time is indeed the most precious commodity ... nowadays as always .. one must have the head and heart to use it properly ... great article ....