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Daniel Paul Singh



Daniel Paul Singh


The Man Who Lost His Time

The Man Who Lost His Time

11 mins 22.4K 11 mins 22.4K

June 6th , Friday :

I looked at my watch, it was 10:22 PM. The train would leave at 10.30 Pm. I was still in the bus en route Tambaram.“I wouldn’t miss the train… I wouldn’t miss the train” I kept telling myself. The bus stopped in East Tambaram at 10.26 Pm. I got down as soon as I could and rushed towards the station.

Tambaram bus stop was buzzing in action even at that odd hour. Friday nights !!

I crossed the signal, narrowly escaping from being hit by a speeding bike, and ran towards Platform 8. I had two bags, one on either hand and ran as fast as I could, trying to stay ahead in the crowded pathway, when one of my bags smacked an unsuspecting man.

“Oops… sorry, sorry, please excuse me” I apologized and continued my sprint.

My watch showed 10.30 Pm. I looked at the platform at a distance in desperation. I could see the waiting train starting to move slowly. I took a few giant leaps to reach the base of the over-bridge. Just few more quick steps and I could catch it.

Praying to Bolt God, I hurdled my way up the stairs, having my eyes on the moving train when I bumped into that old lady.

“Aarrrgh, I am so sorry ma” I turned and apologized to her and then turned back to continue my dash…. when I found the train missing. I turned back to see the lady, she was missing too. Clueless and confused, I gasped for breath and ran down the stairs hastily towards platform 8.

THE TRAIN WAS GONE FOR REAL leaving no trace behind.

I stood there stranded in the middle of the platform, not knowing what happened. The train was there in front of me all the while.. I had my eyes set on it and when I bumped on that lady, the train was gone. How could such a large train vanish in a second ?

Perplexed and puzzled, I reasoned hard hopelessly, when I heard that voice,

“Katharagiya andavar ungalai ratchiparaga”… some biblical verse being recited from the local church nearby… which was usually broadcast every hour… Every one hour. Wait !

I looked at my watch, it showed 11 PM. I looked at the large clock in the platform, it glared 11 pm.

I was baffled beyond despair and was on the verge of losing my sanity.

“Sir, whats the time?” I asked the guy who walked beside me.

He gave a mean look at me, then my watch, then the large clock and then at his watch and told, “11 Pm.”

“What the hell ?” how could it…. how the hell in the world did I just lose 30 minutes at the blink of an eye.

June 9th , Monday :

I was restless in front of the neurologist, Dr. Madhan, in Dr.Meenakshi hospital at Pallikaranai. He was young, had a thick moustache, wore a rimless spec and had a small scar near his left ear.

I couldn’t take my eyes of the clock on his wall, as I kept looking at the watch in my hand, besides monitoring the alarm clock on his table. I wanted to be sure that all of them showed the same exact time.

“Relax Mr. Senthil.. you don’t have to panic” the doctor tried to pacify me.

“How could I not doctor ? this is the third time it has happened in the last three days. I am losing half an hour every day.. half an hour…and I have no clue why its happening, how I am losing it… even the other doctor didn’t have a clue and has sent me to you. Whats happening to me ? Can this be cured ? Will I be able to live a normal life ? Should I consult some scientists  ? Has it happened to someone or anyone before?” I was anxious.

“Wait, wait… one by one..When all did you lose time in the last three days?” he questioned me.

“First, when I was about to catch a train, then when I was speeding to office to attend a meeting. Then while rushing home to watch a cricket match… and I have no clue how it happens..I would just blink my eye and uff 30 minutes will be a puff of dust.. I don’t get this doctor.. I am losing my sanity.. I haven’t even told my parents yet. In fact I haven’t told anyone yet.. If I say, they will brand me a mad man. Please.. please doctor, help me come out of this” I pleaded him.

“Have you had any medical conditions of late.. anything that affected your cranium ?”

“I had  a stroke two months ago and I was even operated in this very hospital. But I am completely cured now.. perfectly fine.. I am keeping my bp under control, taking my stress pills on time. I am not stressing myself at all.. wait.. I am stressing myself… Am I doctor ? “ I was behaving like a wild child.

“Calm down now Mr. Senthil, just don’t strain yourself. I think I know whats affecting you”

“How can I be calm Doctor, after this ? Tell me, what has happened to me ?” I fumed.

June 21st Saturday:

I woke up and looked all around my room and felt like being in the middle of a clock shop.  I looked at my watch in my hand, it showed 3 Pm. I looked at all the five clocks on the wall, they all showed 3 pm.

I entered the bathroom to take a leak and kept an eye on the clock there…. It was 3.01 Pm. I washed my face and came out.

I dialed the pizza delivery guy and ordered a regular Chicken Margarita with double cheese. He promised to deliver it in Half an hour, I couldn’t help but chuckle. Half an hour.

It had been two weeks since the therapy and the tablets, I wasn’t losing time. I had a pack of ice tied to the wrist of my right hand to cool myself. I had to place it on my head every half an hour.. Half an hour again.

The pressure gauge in my left hand kept a constant watch on the BP level. I felt like a walking zombie. I didn’t go to my home town in those fourteen days. My room-mates started to gaze at me like I was a weird creature. I stood in front of the mirror and saw my reflection. A weird creature indeed.

I took the stress pill the doctor had prescribed, then skimmed through the newspaper to find an ad for the movie, “Avengers part 13”. I was home bound for the last two weeks and was bored to death. Somewhere deep within, the desire to watch the movie overcame all the apprehensions I had about stepping out of my room.

June 9th , Monday :

The doctor continued.

“All this is because of stress.. the adrenalin rush… the rush of blood that goes to your head. You are not losing time Mr.Senthil , you are just creating that impression for yourself. You are over stressed” Dr. Madhan explained.

“You mean?”

“This whole losing time thing is a myth your mind is creating. No one can ever lose time. Think of this now, has it ever happened when you are with your friends ? Has it ever happened when you are happy ?  No, right?  The impression of you losing time happens only when you are alone and stressed. It’s a mirage, a bogus, a preconception, a lie that your mind wants you to believe, a shadow your stress is casting on you” The doctor made sense. How could someone ever lose time. I should have been imagining it all the while.

“Are you.. you mean.. should I consult a psychiatrist?” I asked putting up a sad face.

“No no.. absolutely not necessary. Take these stress pills, it will keep your blood pressure under check. Have these ice bags with you and place it on your head every half an hour. Do Yoga or meditation… hmmm even prayer will help…Basically, don’t get stressed. You will be alright soon. Take your tablets on time” he comforted me.

I believed him. I would have believed him even if he had told that I didn’t exist and was just an illusion.

June 21st Saturday:

The drive in my Bajaj Crux through the vacant roads of OMR on that Saturday evening was pure bliss.I was heading to the Cosmopolis mall at Thoraipakkam. From Thiruvanmayur it was just a 15 minutes ride.

I started well ahead of time at 6.15 Pm for the 7 pm show. I was not ready to risk the first half an hour of the movie. No, not for Avengers.

I was riding only in the 40s as per the doctor’s advice. I saw the signal changing  red at the Kandanchavadi signal and slowed down my bike to park it behind a Volkswagen. 30 seconds wait.

The signal turned green, but the vehicle in front of me , didn’t move. I honked my horn, but he wouldn’t budge. I pressed my horn as hard as I could. There was no response from him. I started to lose my cool. I was too close to him and couldn’t move my bike either side. I looked at my watch, it was 6.20 Pm. 40 more minutes for the movie.

I honked and honked and honked again… the car slowly moved… I lost my patience and yelled an expletive at him.

I then raced past the vehicles, crossed the toll gate and reached the mall. I parked my bike at the basement in a hurry and rushed towards the lift, which closed in slow motion just before I could barge in. I pressed the second lift’s button as hard as I could and waited. However it was still moving up, with no intention to come down. I decided to take the escalator and ran towards it. I took giant steps in the escalator and reached the fourth floor in five minutes.

I searched for Screen 9, found it and showed my tickets to enter in. 6.30 it should be or at the max 7, I thought.

I was startled to see the movie having started already. Bemused, I looked at my watch. The dial smiled back at me showing, 7.30 Pm.

My God !! have I just lost one hour ?

July 3rd , Thursday :

I was lying in the hospital bed with the tubes protruding from my body being connected to several machines. My ECG was running normal. I still hadn’t updated my family of the debacle. I checked my watch for the date, it was the 3rd of July, my mom’s birthday.

I had always been the first one to wish her on all her birth days and nothing was going to change that. I wanted to wish her immediately. I asked the nurse who was standing nearby, for my phone and she obliged.

I called to my mom and wished her a prosperous year and a great time ahead. I couldn’t speak properly to her and she constantly kept asking if I was alright, if anything was bothering me and if everything was fine.

How could I tell you mom ?

How could I tell you that I am losing my life.. losing my time, inch by inch, frame by frame, hour by hour.

I somehow convinced my mom that everything was fine and cut the call.

I looked all around me and felt sick. I wanted to scream, I wanted to run away, I was normal human, I was no mad man.

I slowly got up from my bed and sat.

“Don’t strain yourself.. just rest and relax” the nurse intervened.

“Rest, I will” I nodded.

I looked at the sole clock in the corner. It showed 11 am.

A sudden surge of thoughts occupied my mind. It all started with the train, from losing half an hour, I started losing one hour, missed deadlines, met with accidents, almost lost my job, lost sleep, lost peace of mind and lost myself. The doctors couldn’t even comprehend my problem, there was no such case in history. I was a lost case for them, just being used for experimental purpose.How could they?

All of a sudden, it pained. It felt like a migraine attack. I couldn’t bear it any longer. I held my head within my hand and shrieked. I screamed aloud like hell and let out all my frustration, all of it… for one last time… for one last time.

I closed my face with my hands and sat silently on the bed. I didn’t want to look at the clock.

The nurse tried to console me.

I slowly removed my hand from the face and with a grip of fear saw the clock. It was 11.05 Am. Just five minutes had passed on. Just five minutes.

I couldn’t believe my eyes. My happiness knew no bound. I hugged the nurse, then removed the tubes that were stuck to my body and jumped from the bed. The nurse tried to stop me in vain.

I ran happily, like a mad man towards the doctors’ room. Dr. Madhan was busy in a call and didn’t notice me. I stood outside excitedly for the call to be over. I had finally recovered, Relieved of all my stress. That one final let out of frustration helped.

I am no more the man who would lose his time.I thought, when I overheard the doctor’s words.

“Yes chief..the experiment is a success.. The time travel pills we gave as stress control pills are working perfectly fine for him.. but he is able to only travel forward in time… we are still experimenting on..” the doctor continued to talk.

Shocked, surprised and engulfed in a reign of terror, I stood frozen, when I inadvertently looked at the daily calendar in the doctor’s room, which read.

July 4th, Friday.

Realizing that I had just lost one day……….. or time travelled, in the words of the doctor.


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