It was only a couple of months ago that I thought of writing a small piece on time – more so on the frustrating lack of it. I was struggling to manage my time well. I could not just stay numb and watch it rip my life apart. So, I thought it would be a good idea to somehow avenge it with my words, and maybe even uncover a way out in doing so. I made a leisurely start, gathered some thoughts, jotted down the first few lines and even decided on a heading for it – "Time – the modern famine."
It began like this…
Life somehow has become horribly busy for me – juggling between work, family and a social life. I am trying to strike a reasonable balance to it all. My world started to become too fast to keep up with and too bold to challenge.
The nature of my business requires frequent travel and work with three time zones. The little time left goes into managing the local factory and office. Additionally, of course, there are the frequent family and friend get-togethers. I also tend to spend a good chunk of my time playing snooker, whenever I can. Add on top of all this Dhaka's terrible traffic, and time can easily become very precious.
Back in the 90's, most of us had plenty of time to spare. A luxury which allowed us to weave the most intricate bonds of our lives. Today however, we have got way more to do in our hands than we really should have – and that too, with no added time as compensation. It appears that time remains a merciless, immutable and eternal constant.
That's as far as I got with the article. Soon, procrastination started taking over, and all it gathered was dust. The article was lost somewhere in my terribly busy life.
Funnily enough, fast forward a couple of months, and here we are with abundant free time, locked down in our homes, thanks to Covid-19. It may sound like a fantasy fairy tale, but it is very real. It seems, the One who looks after us from above, has finally answered our prayers and blessed us with a brief respite from our relentless time miseries.
It may not be much of a respite for many, being a poor nation, where people depend on daily earnings to make a living. However, they say humanity is tested during such tough times. Covid-19 seems to bring the best out of humanity, as the affluent society is stepping up in such times of need – and we hope this continues.
Covid-19 is currently causing major havoc all over the world, leaving behind a scary trail of death and destruction. It is tearing our health systems apart and sinking our economies into very deep recessions. Covid-19 appears to be a lot like the devil himself, straight out of hell, unleashed for Armageddon. Well that's one side of Covid-19 – its Thanos side.
However, it can also have a very different face, a rather pleasant one, if we can imagine it. I see Covid-19 as an evil with compassion and which may even have a conscience. Tough to catch at first, but once we grasp it, it is clearly there. Let me explain how.
Covid-19 has caused the perfect storm, triggering a brand new sense of unity and of mass cooperation in our world. We now connect with our global families – sharing our personal stories with the hope of easing some of this pain.
See, all this devastation that Covid-19 is inflicting, could be sending it into an overdose of moral guilt. So much so that it now wants to make amends by giving us back a unique gift - "The gift of time." A gift with which it hopes to repair some collateral damage.
Gone are the days of the mad morning rush, marathon meetings and long working hours. Also gone with it are feelings of helplessness from our struggle with time. Time can now be literally anything and everything we want it to be. The trouble is, we have never had so much of it, and frankly we do not know what to do with it.
What a time in history we are witnessing!
I reckon we are in it for the long haul, before returning to any sort of normality. While it lasts, why not try and make the best out of the worst. After all, such divine gifts are rare, and come only once every hundred years.
My first couple of weeks in lockdown, went by fairly quickly and also little haphazardly. Late nights, Netflix binges, fridge food hijackings, browsing the internet and social media – to mention some of the random highlights. Passing my days by, killing time, connecting with friends and relatives. And, oh yes, spending quality time with the wife and kids – the only thing that made any sense and the thing that mattered most. A fantasy life I always dreamt of.
Past this initial phase, I began to realise, it would not be wise to prolong this random way of life for much longer. I pulled myself together and managed to restore some of my lost order and discipline. A fairly regular daily routine, they say, is key to our overall physical and psychological well-being. A strength of great use, especially during these troubled times.
I have two daughters, the eldest is six years old and the youngest is only three. My wife and I frequently told each other we wished we could lock-in their tender ages. The Almighty seems to have done exactly that. The never ending "whys?" of my eldest, and the adorable tantrums of my youngest are pure bliss.
And just like this, in the blink of an eye, this dream-like reality will soon be over.
These are truly special times!
On the one hand, these are testing times, in which we face death, chronic hunger, and grave uncertainties. On the other, these are also times to make life plans. To seek answers to the true meaning of life and what matters to us most. A time to make our strongest bonds and our fondest memories.
A rare window, to peek back in time, to rewind, reflect and realise the beauty of life. At the end – where there are no winners and no losers – all that remains are stories of our individual journeys. What may matter is whether these stories are awe-inspiring.
As a Millennial, I have already lived through so much of variety and newness in my life, and I am yet to hit 40. With an average world life expectancy of 70 years, I still have roughly 30 more years of pure magic to unfold. And this makes life every bit worth living.
Oh and finally, just a quick update on Covid-19. A full-fledged outbreak is probably imminent. You can of course roam around anywhere in the realm of your wildest imaginations – but please don't take any chances in the real world. Jokes apart, stay indoors, keep yourself and others safe, and most importantly, stay alive to witness the post Covid-19 world.
Let's shake on it.
The author is CEO of Majumder Group. He can be reached at: [email protected]