In my mamabari (mother’s father’s house), there was a large burnished wooden clock with a round face and emphatic, clear numbers written on it. It also had a large pendulum which had an ongoing disagreement with the hands of the clock – a disagreement as to what time it really was.
At each half-hour, the large hand would point to six (as it should), and the pendulum would give a subdued chime (as if grudgingly agreeing). But whenever the large hand would point to twelve, the pendulum would vigorously disagree with the small hand regarding the time of the day (or night) and would chime away with a will of its own. If the hands showed seven o’ clock, the pendulum would disobediently sound eleven gongs; if it was, say, four o’ clock on the face of the clock, the pendulum would reprovingly strike only once.
There was no logic to the pendulum’s chimes, it was accurate for the half hours, but for each hour, it would swing any number of times. One may say that it suffered from mood swings.
This moody clock was called pagla ghari (mad clock) by us and it was hung on the wall behind my grandfather’s special easy-chair (wooden reclining chair) in the drawing room. The fact that the clock ticked away behind my grandfather when he was relaxing on the chair, coupled with the inaccurate pendulum, somehow robbed the clock of all the sense of hurry and urgency usually associated with clocks. Maybe, there was also the fact that we stayed at my mamabari during holidays, when there was no need to measure and frantically keep pace with time.
All this gave the eccentric clock a peculiar aura of timelessness and made the pursuit of time a guessing game (if one was lying in the bedrooms, where you could hear the pendulum chime but not see the clock-face), full of fun and surprise, and the accuracy of calculating the time ceased to matter all that much.
ARE THERE ANY CLOCKS FROZEN IN YOUR MEMORY?