Marking the hours amid a social exile
– Sarosh Mody
“To expect the unexpected” as Oscar Wilde once said, “shows a thoroughly modern intellect”. The 20th year of the 21st century, should have been earmarked for the quote, a little heads-up for the same would have been nice, Oscar! Though it’s not even been a week since we crossed over from the 20th into the 21st year, looking back, I on one hand, can only be grateful. Easy to say, but I not sure I feel the same; back in April 2020, as the world went into a lockdown and mere Indian husbands, such as myself; were up every morning and battling household chores. Scheduling into washing dishes, sweeping the floors and counting my blessings that my wife was around to cook, yes; I so shamelessly confess that I cannot cook to save my life.
Come May’20, the monotony of the ‘new normal’ had become a routine. With time on hand, literally speaking and not just wearing my watches around the house, metamorphosed my sedentary ‘Netflix’ overdosed brain into a retrospective mode. I started making a list of things which I did not or normally wouldn’t get the time to do, prior to the mandatory slowdown, of the life as we knew it. In the euphoria of my newly substantiated enthusiasm of ‘self-improvement’, I started out to learning French online. Found a lovely teacher, very soon to enlighten myself with the realisation of my poor aptitude to foreign languages. While that struggle was on, I happened to connect with Karishma (@kari_watch), a long-time industry peer and a fellow horological nut, to check if she had any pointers for a ‘digitally handicapped’ gentleman; as myself. What started as my very first Insta-Live session with her, escalated into a working relationship, in the months to come.
Don’t get me wrong, I am well versed into the use of devices like the cell phone, laptops, tablets etc. that form our digital ecosystem, but to put it into perspective, I was like a gentleman from the Victorian age; to whom the virtue of sporting a jacket for dinner was the acceptable etiquette, the only difference being, I can’t wear a jacket while I’m going to be ‘Swiggy’-ing my meal, with a cell phone in hand. What I needed was a digital download; straight into my brain, just like Neo aboard the Nebuchadnezzar, plugged right into the training program. Wishes aside, practical choice was to un-learn and re-learn aspects, which would add to my digital proficiency. I haven’t broken the Matrix, yet but I’m navigating smoothly.
Fascinating as I’m finding navigating through the digital world, I wouldn’t have met as many people physically as I have managed to meet digitally, in the past 10 months of the year gone by. I am camera shy. Yes, I am. The best reference to context to my condition would be for me to refer the episode of F.R.I.E.N.D.S, where Monica and Chandler go to click pictures for their wedding announcement and Chandler’s face contorts into a constipated grin, every time the photographer asks him to smile. A battle well fought, because yours truly did 6 webinars, countless instalive’s and even online talks to watch-enthusiast clubs which are now the flavour of the season. Seems I stumbled upon passionately deranged men and women, like myself, who live and breathe watches. I was not alone, anymore. Soul searching doesn’t require you to delve into yourself, anymore, all you need is WhatsApp. I proudly am, now; a part of national ‘WhatsApp’ factions of horological nutcases, where we drool, troll and lust watches and some more watches. Revelation! They were there all this while but if it had not been for this lockdown, I doubt that I would have made new friends.
The experience has been about lessons in humility, in learning, in strangers becoming friends; even though I still haven’t had the opportunity to meet them, physically. It was time, for after the digital-bootcamp, it was time to run the digital-marathon. With countless coffees and long man-hours, Kari and myself were able to conceptualise “The Hour Markers”. The digital baby took a good 4 months and several diaper changes later, we went live in December 2020. Being vehement for fine-watchmaking and quest for all things alluring, through the domain we share the love and knowledge with the unbounded individuals; for whom a timepiece transcends beyond an inanimate object.
Time has its own pace, linear in progression. 2 hands over a dial; it’s simple, unless Max Busser conjures up another ‘machine’ with his friends. Time will not change its flow for you, best we change with it. I for one, am glad to embrace and who better to welcome the change with; than my newfound brotherhood of ‘watch-nuts’, to change with.