Wearing the "time" on the wrist was a fascination for me from childhood days. The origin of that was certainly by observing the elders wearing the wrist watches with pride, looking at the dial with the jerk of the hand and declaring the time. " It's quarter past two....it's nine o clock"....etc . Sometimes they allowed me to draw their wrists close to my ear lobes for me to enjoy the tick tock sound....!
But during the younger days, I used to be delighted to wear a green watch made by my elder brother with a coconut leaf. I too wore it on my left wrist and "declared" the time declaring some number without knowing the difference between zero and one! But during the local temple festival, my mother bought me the plastic version of it with paper dial and moving hands! The real wrist watch was worn by me for the first time when I appeared for the SSLC examination. That was with a special sanction from my dad after application moved through proper channel (I mean through my mother). That too was a spare watch which was discarded by my elder brother when he bought a new automatic one.
The promise made by dad to buy a new watch for me was fulfilled, as I passed my school final examination with a high first class. That was one with a round steel case and metallic strap. Every morning after brushing my teeth, I wound it by rotating the key. I still remember to have covered my wrist with a hand kerchief for a few days to prevent the watch getting scratches while traveling in the bus to the college.....!
During my college days and later during the early years of employment, my watch became a fashion statement. The size and shape of the watches changed with the newer versions introduced in films.
The ladies watches were more of an ornament than a utility. The dials and the hands were so tiny to be seen and read with naked eyes! They were generally made attractive with gold and precious stones to make them gorgeous and unique so that the onlookers' jaws drop down with awe and their faces become green with envy and jealousy...!
With the introduction of quartz mechanism, the watches were available for very low prices. It was an antithesis to the costly Swiss made watches. For a patriotic Indian, wearing an HMT watch was a matter of pride for over four decades from the 1960s. But if one has got the craving for showing off a costly branded watch like Omega, Cartier, Rolex or Hublot, one need only go to one of the oxymoron shops selling "genuine fakes”. I have found many of them in Hong Kong, Bali, and many other places.
Over the years, I would have used different kinds and brands of watches. But I have never ventured owning costly chronometers or pure gold and diamond watches which became status symbols for many. Throughout my stay in Bihar, I used only the cheap rubber strapped digital quartz watches purchased from the foot path vendors of Bombay Fort area. This was because of the constant threat of being looted at gun point while on travel.
With the invasion of cell phones, wearing a watch has ceased to be a necessity. But as a habit I wear it, though not asregularly as I used to. With the new technological advancements, the watch has not remained a gadget to know the time alone. The latest digital watches do many functions. They look like the normal watches dipped in black paint. The Apple watch which my daughter got me from the USA is empowered with haptic perception or haptischem, in other words ability to grasp things by exploring of surfaces. It reads quite a lot of data about the functions of the body and movements made by the person who wears it. It reads the rhythms of the body including the pulse rate. It has almost all functions of a cell phone plus electrical heart sensor with haptic feedback on various functions of the body. And like the bottom line of the old Tata steel company advertisement," it also shows the time "...when asked for!
Times have changed, so too the way in which it is read, told or measured....From sun dials, pendulum clocks, time pieces, pocket watches, wrist watches to quartz movements.....and now the smart watches.....
In short, the present day watch which looks like one, but is no more a watch, it's a watch dog!
So now, instead of asking " what's the time now ? " , one can be asked " what is your pulse rate now ? " . And the watch can even tell me whether I should walk more or less today to keep my B P or sugar level normal.....!