The race against time – Part 1

“How did it get so late so soon?”
–    Dr. Seuss (popular children’s author and poet of the twentieth century)
Sixty-nine year old Emile Ratelband is struggling to attract women. The dating apps aren’t helping this Dutchman, a motivational speaker, who realizes younger women don’t want an oldie. So, he figures out a smart solution: legally reduce the age to forty-nine!
Bingo! Easy, isn’t it?
The BBC shared this bizarre news on November 8th, 2018. “Doctors say I have a body of 45-year-old, I am a ‘young God,’ so I want to work, enjoy and date women while I can,” says Mr. Ratelband, as he initiated a case in a local court to change his age and improve his dating chances.
“If wishes were horses, beggars would ride,” wrote William Camden, an English historian of the sixteenth century. Five hundred years later, the panting and huffing man, desperate to turn back the wheel of Time, hopes against hope,  just as he’s been doing all the time in human history.
Time- an enigma?
Once, while flying from Mumbai to London, a passenger next to me adjusted his watch on our descent to Heathrow, and gleefully exclaimed, “We’ve gained five hours.” I smiled back and reflected on a contrary thought: our plane flew at around 700 miles an hour, but the fact that our planet hurries around the sun at 67,000 miles per hour (30 km/second), means we are always losing time, every second! My watch may stop one day, but time doesn’t rest even for a nanosecond. At each instant, we are speeding towards death, yet our inability to ponder over this phenomenon, leave alone come to terms with it, is pitiable. We’ll do well to remember what the Polish-born mathematician Jacob Bronowski said, “Time is not bought ready-made at the watchmaker’s.”
Let’s say the court ratifies Emilie’s lawsuit and makes him younger. Would his life change for the better? Another twenty years pass- his body is now ninety, but on paper, it’s seventy. If he again desires to change back his date of birth, would he turn to fifty?
What are Emile’s chances to turn younger with each passing day?
The cruel body clock cares nothing for our declarations and desires. As the world awaits the court’s decision, Emilie’s story exposes a painful reality of human psyche: an old man wishes the clock ticks slower, while in youth we want time to move fast- our passion drives us to seek our ambitions and desires. But time is impartial and ever steady; it’s a constant flow of grace, in perfect rhythm and harmony. A famous number, ‘In the End’ echoes this reality:
Time is most valuable of all things
Watch it fly as the pendulum swings
Watch it count down to the end of the day
The clock ticks life away
To be continued….

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