The Watch

Ashim felt pretty crappy today!

The weather was perfectly good. Sunny, with a hint of spring breeze. Glorious, even!

The problem was really that he lost his watch first thing in the morning.

The realization of losing something comes in various shapes and forms. It can be quite acute, when one forgets something on a train or bus, and watches it leave right in front of their eyes.

Ashim experienced a completely different instance of this horror. His eyes darted to specific corners of the tiny studio apartment that he inhabited.

By 30 minutes he was pretty sure he had lost the watch. By the time an hour had passed he had verified his own previous suspicions and upgraded them to certainty. But his eyes still kept looking. And hoping.

By the time he left for work he was practically drowning in the realization. But it still kept getting stronger.

He shouted at a beggar on the way to the bus stop. He shouted at the guy who he wrestled to get on the bus early enough to have a seat. He shouted at a coworker who had held up his project.

The watch had some history associated with it — it was his grandfather’s. His dad had used it for his entire adult life before passing it on to his son.

It was a cool quirky little thing too... there were no batteries. He had to wind it up daily to make it work. That was a ritual he performed every morning. Like most rituals do, it calmed him. The watch was pretty much tied to his identity at this point in life.

Ashim's next burst of anger happened when he met with his boss. It was the simple matter of denying him access on the new team that was being formed to tackle clients with more moolah.

He had been denied opportunities for a long time. He was used to it by now.

But not today! He shrieked and shoved and grabbed and shook.

He was in mourning. For his watch.

He tottered back home with a renewed sense of desperation. The desperation of a man who had realized that he was broken. All because of a watch.

Ashim knew that this was madness. A tiny little watch had gotten him fired from a job that didn’t suck after 12 years. He felt a thought jabbing at his brain — may be this was the point of time that he would look back to all his life and wish he had not spiralled into his worst self.

And he was powerless against himself.

As Ashim washed his face and looked into his reflection, a single vulnerable drop at the tip of his nose caught his eye. It threatened to fall into the anonymity of the film of water on the sink — but for the present, it retained it’s shape. Ashim felt a moment of unity with that drop. He was similar to that drop in so many ways, clutching for a sense of identity and meaning in a random, noisy world.

His eyes refocused on his wrist. The watch was there, glinting in the low light of the bathroom — a few drops of water spattered across the dial.

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