Time is a continuous measurement of one’s existence. It gives us a past, a present and a future. Time is a common factor for every one, the animate and the inanimate, that repose on mother earth. The beginning, and the unavoidable end of one’s existence is measured by Time. “Nothing is permanent” said Lord Buddha. How true. But, as far as human beings are concerned, the short time between birth and death comprises, joy, dukha, anger, lust, greed, jealousy, hatred and also repentance, compassion and faith.
Our learned physicists have shown us the wonders of the solar system and the universe, and about their movements, The distance from our planet to these celestial bodies is measured by the time taken by light to reach earth, travelling at a speed of about 280,200 km/sec.
The rotation of the earth gives us night and day, while time shows us when the sun rises and sets. It differs from country to country, depending on the geographical location. The world decided to have a central point, and with this location as the place where the day begins, other countries related their time to this. An accurate clock at Greenwich in U.K. with its pendulum timed clock constructed underground at longitude O’, shows the Greenwich Mean Time or G.M.T. Midnight at Greenwich is 5.30 in the morning, in our country. Yes, we see the sun 5 ½ hours before GMT. GMT saves us from chaos. What would happen if the people of Kiribati, who first witnessed the birth of the 2nd millennium and the citizens of the U.S.A. or Chile used their own time at international gatherings? Actually, the start of time from the decimal point of a second to an hour, a day, a year, history has made man to learn and know how the world was, is and will be.
Time has been with us from the moment we are born, until the final beat of the heart. This is called pulse, which is related to time in the form of minutes. The physical condition of a living being is indicated by the beat of the pulse. Faster or slower than a minute. When the time comes to leave the world, the bereaved take no time to arrange the mala baththa, time of internment, and the 3-day, 3 month, and 1 year alms giving, and continue as memories for generations.
Time has many prefixes and suffixes. Sunrise today will be at 5.57 a.m. and sunset at 6.36 p.m. There is, overtime, time bomb, visiting times, time table. The Mahanuwara Express was held up between the Peradeniya Junction and Kadugannawa. A passenger had asked the guard, “Why have time tables, if trains get late like this”? The guard quipped “Sir, how would you know whether a train is early or late if there were no time tables. All appreciated his wit, including the questioner.
Age is the passage of time. There is a saying ‘Time and tide wait for no man’. Also, there are some beautiful films with time as the hero. Sridar’s, ‘Kaadalikka Neram Illai’ to love, there is no specific time. Also, twentieth century’s ‘A time to love and a time to die’. The former, a musical comedy, and the latter, a war film. In Greek mythology, a very brave warrior was before god Zeus. Being very proud, he was aghast and humiliated when god Zeus asked him to fight with an old woman. The warrior obliged with a sarcastic smile. They fought hard, but he lost. She could not be beaten. Then Zeus told him. “You fought with old age. You can never beat age.”
Next, the lovely proverbs. ‘A stitch in time, saves nine” “Procrastination is the thief of time”. Two proverbs that are timeless.
Finally, whether one is in the sub zero climes of the Arctic or the scorching sands of the Sahara, when the time comes, one has to leave this mortal world, leaving the loved ones and the wealth. Lord Jesus said, “Death comes as a thief in the night”, and is no respect of persons.
In life’s journey, we make time jubilant when we are punctual in all that we do. At times we get late and one day time overtakes you, it leaves you behind, makes you become the ‘late’ one.
Let our time spent on this lovely planet make all those around the ‘late’ call it, “an untimely death, our friend always found the time to visit us’. What wonderful times we used to have at school”. He now is one who belongs to the ages. Age is measured in time.