Sunday, September 28, 2008

Relativity Of Time ...

I am not sure what I am writing about … the only thing I am sure about is what I am thinking. And this is always the way it is, right? Don’t we say … we can always say more than we can write, and we can always think more than we can say. Well … my thoughts on KM aside, this one is not about work … not that the last few have been, actually.

I am reading a book these days titled In the Shadow of the Great Game … a book about the untold story behind India’s partition. Ok, so if you are going to be politically correct, you might want to refer to this as the partition of the sub-continent. But this event was too big, the impact so catastrophic, and the lessons to be learnt so massive, that I would much rather not delve into politics on this issue. This apart from the fact that this is so close to my heart …

But this is not what I am writing about. While reading this book, there is a part which talks about conjecture about the shape of global politics in 1960, as seen in 1945. And the timeline got me thinking … I have heard a lot of stories about India … especially pre-Independence India … about Lahore, Amritsar, Delhi, Calcutta, Bombay, Madras, Karachi, Peshawar, Srinagar … a picture which almost seems alien in today’s geo-political situation in the world. My grandfather used to tell me stories … stories about a time which seems so far away.

Coming to the point, the stories he used to tell about the time in India between the two world-wars (this, incidentally, was the time he grew up in Lahore) relate the instances of life … a life less ordinary, and yet ordinary in its extraordinariness for someone from that slice of time, from that part of history, and of geography.

But that’s again not the point I am trying to make. The point I am trying to make is this … those approximately 40 years of the last century seem to be a small interval in time, while, if I were to think about the next forty years, those would seem far longer. And this makes me think … something I had heard quite some time back … about past perfect, present tense, future imperfect! Not really true, but this is something that keeps cropping up in the minds of people. But the fact is, the past seems to have flown by so quickly, while the future doesn’t seem as if it would oblige the same way. And this is where the relative nature of time comes in.

Though, of course, when it comes to memories, the past can sustain … the past lingers, forever and ever, in our memories, in our thoughts … the past, in its fleeting moment of presence seems to have engendered eternities.


Nykemartyn said...

Newton's laws put an end to the idea of absolute motion. Two people playing ping pong on a moving train would measure the distance the ball bounces on the table (between consequecutive bounce) as lesser than a person standing along the track watching the ball bounce. Both measurements are equally valid since there is no absolute standard of rest.

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Atul said...

thanks, Nykemartyn. and yes ... its all about perception!