“Why are you holed up at home all the time?” my friend asked me with a derisive smile. I knew he tires himself with all unimportant tasks, neglects health and family issues. He keeps himself busy with a world of time doing all sorts that keeps him from what he really should do–his profession, his responsibilities.

I replied with a sharp look, chose not to respond, and held a silent answer for myself. Because I never forget that I’m on a mission – to protect my time, conserve it in a way that ever looks for “what is good for me.”  I wouldn’t allow any bribes to pull me away from my firm belief, my claim – I enjoy my life because I love my prized time.

Coming back to my friend, it surprises me how much time he allots to waste time. He seems to have no qualms.

Even though I would strive to drill the value of time with my grown-up children, they mockingly brush my advice aside whenever I bring up the topic, as if I have asked them to recite a nursery rhyme. I care to make them realize that if you undervalue the worth of time in youth; you have to dance to the tune of misery as adults. I wish them to understand that we don’t waste our time, but it’s our days that go wasted.

I have gained early in my life the insight the value of time as a resource and wealth revealed itself in stacks of minutes. I married in my early thirties and was just about to assume my family profession: teaching and managing the family-run school when I read and listened about the piousness of hours and minutes that had silently spoke about the valuableness they carried on within them.

A few books on time management have played before me in no uncertain tones the curse of laziness and the purposeful power of “the sense of urgency.” That every minute holds itself a helpful fount to invoke what seemed best for “me and only me.” Which I believed betters in anyone the self-assertiveness to last.

A realization emerged in me. I win a pious package of time every morning. It’s for me to encash the sum of minutes that pile before me day after day.

When I look past the five decades of how I had led myself to chase my dreams and demons, I heartily assert today that I’m what I’m because of the creative sum of all the minutes that I have reaped with devotion. Since then, I have loved what I did and laid out what’s good for my family and me.

I have gained many advantages by having a tight grip over my time: it kept me sane, silent, and satisfied. Moreover, after I retired, it has helped prioritize my passions: reading, listening to music, photography, and, notably, my meditation. On days when I seemed keenly engrossed in some of these hobbies, I just wished I had more parcels of time on my hand.

For eighteen months, the Covid pandemic had confined me in home and left me with books and music as available, unwavering soul mates. But my Sunday photography jaunts got shelved, fearing the aggressive temperament of the omnipresent Covid virus. Then, at last, I hit the road after things seemed to re-enter normalcy. I found the festival beats back on the bazaars.

Welcoming the days of sanity and normality, I walked along the fishing shores of river Krishna, a beautiful gift my city has given me, and I always get a feeling I never have enough of it. The fishers, their boats, the flooding waters, the early morning swimming enthusiasts, these images never disappoint me; the tide sweeps with new music to relax whenever I pitch my camera.