Wrngggggggggg …. A perfect cacophony startles you, as you rub your eyes, see the two pristine hands of the perfect circle hung in the wall, see four hands instead of two, due to oversleep and jump from the bed with dismay of being (as usual) late to kick start your day. Well, it happens to most of us, its banal and a mundane task of our life. The clock or any other, time device which helps us to keep track has reformed so much that we seldom think of it.
Gone are the days, when the Neanderthals and the era of Australopithecus relied on the wonderful avian ‘Hen’ not only for her precious eggs, but also for her punctilious cooing, early in the morning waking all the Flintstones around. It took some time when one of the brightest member in the Flintstones family realize that, the shadow caused by the mighty Sun could also help us know the time. Well Thanks to Christian Huygens, we got the Pendulum clock.
I remember the day when my cousin in her early thirties helping her 5 year old son to teach the hands of the clock. The humble lady with much apprehension had a tough time to make him comprehend the essence of 60 minutes, 3 hands and 12 gleaming digits which randomized our chores wisely. The kid, tired of equating 60 minute as 1 hr (Gosh, it makes me remember velocity, time and ugly Physics) finally freed himself from his mommy’s clutches and came back with his Daddy cool’s ‘smart’ Phone, pressed the bottom button hard and asked ‘what is the time now’. A female voice replied. ‘Its 10 30 AM ‘there you go’ was his reply with a childish smirk on his face. Perhaps my cousin realized her cyber kid was well apprised about the tech buzz and was fortunate enough to have a digital assistant at a young age.
Clocks and watches were replaced fast. Born in late eighties, the breeze of nostalgia makes me think of Grandfather clocks with a tenuous pendulum and a bob made of Invar recurrently moving to and fro to show us the time. Wonder how it got its name ‘Grandfather’ clock. Well, those are fond memories when we study how properties of Invar changed with weather and how Hook’s law discussed the principles of oscillation. (Don’t worry; I’m not reinstating the law here). We even had a rhyme about the Grandfather clock.
“The Grandfather clock was too tall for the shelf
So it stood ninety years on the floor”
Thus goes the rhyme. Maybe now the syllabus (syllables) changed and they might have rephrased it as
‘The Smart Phone had an app which was so fast and best
‘That we could touch it to see the time’
Hmm that clock is rarely seen in households now. Watches on the other hand revolutionized two fold. Talking and Recording watches were a matter of pride among us during my schooling days. After much alibis I too got one as a gift from my aunt. With such pomp and pride I strapped mine onto my wrist ‘showing off’ and with a great propensity jabbering the talking button habitually which announced the time with great vibrancy, that my bench mate couldn’t resist and gave a helping hand in the class and eventually, the watch landed up safely in the hands of the teacher, a grumpy old lady who fussed about fanciful items that kids coddled with.
Clock Towers are famous all over the world and gratified enough my city too embellished her priced possession like the Big Ben. We had a ‘Methan Mani’ near the Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple. The specialty of that clock was that it has two Ram (Sheep) and they banging into the cheeks of a bearded man when the clock strikes the hour. It was a design of great impeccability and it still works with great accuracy .
Years passed, and watches and clocks developed well. We also coped up with the new inventions. We had a clock which chimed the no of times the current time was. It helped me a lot to count and thus get the time correctly. My family then purchased a new clock when I finished counting, replacing the ‘Grandpa’ and welcoming ‘Mrs Hen’ to our home. She used to push her door majestically from the clock’s wooden creaking door at periodic intervals flapping her wings, and cooing her throat out. It was such fun to have her around. She was busy at work to make our schedule go neat. The pestering me would wake her up in odd hours by pushing her door open and giggle at her and then getting caught red handed by my grandma reprimanding me not to repeat it. But that clumsiness never stopped, until Mrs Hen stopped visiting us one day and we all knew she was ready for her burial. (Thank God, nobody suspected me of my culpability; well I didn’t know she was too fragile).
The transition from the Analog to the digital world was fast. Kids no longer took time to imbibe the hour minute and seconds hand. The neat 7 segment display displayed the time correctly making life simpler. Small watches which used to fit the wrist nicely were later supplanted by heavy ones, adding to more functionality and addling us more. Hmmm, the on-going revolution has indeed bought us some ‘cool’ inventions. Let’s hope that it’s still, 60 minute – 1 hour after 100 years.
After all, we just need to know the time. Needn’t know how we get it. Phew!