As a child I had a keen sense of melody but I always ignored time. Time was just something percussive in the background that I took for granted. When the radio played a favorite song the lyricist and the composer got credit. No one talked about the drummer. If the song was in a faster tempo the words were closer together, if not then you stretched them out. That was all I understood of music and of life itself.

There was a sense of the seasons changing. My birthday fell in the hot summer months. Mangoes were consumed by the bucket and we slept on the roof, counting stars and listening to the stories grandma told. Exams were always at a certain time of the year and how the heart felt before and after the exams was tied to a season as well. The spring months made it difficult for me to breathe and autumn brought with it a certain lightness of being. Winter clothes looked better and peanut brittle tasted divine while basking in the sun.

That was how the year was divided into stretched out segments of pain or pleasure. The allergy season went on forever, the wait for the summer months seemed endless. The groans were long and loud at train stations or movie intermissions when an adult said the wait was thirty minutes to an hour. An hour felt like an eternity. Nothing was over in a blink of an eye except play time.

I spent some time learning music at a later age. It was no longer possible to take rhythm for granted in the tutelage of enlightened musicians. Melodies were never meant to be unchained, I learnt. They had to lock step with the rhythm. There was a structure and an architecture that needed to be understood and followed. There were pillars and foundations that one had to acknowledge, these bare essentials demanded respect.

I spent some time learning about life at a later age as well. Summer vacations, pleasant winters, work deadlines, commutes, eating, sleeping, showering , paying bills and buying groceries divided up each day, each month and each year into discrete pockets of time that got consumed at the pace of junk food during a movie; equally mindlessly.

As a child I moved with time although it never made its presence felt. I breathed the air all around me without telling myself I needed to inhale or exhale. Now I stand still while time moves all around me in swirls and eddies and I consider exercises in mindfulness of each breath.

I stood right here wishing everyone a happy new year, I blinked, and I find myself wishing everyone a happy new year all over again. The past, the present and the future are all standing hand in hand chanting:

Ring Around O’ Roses…

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