One of my most treasured possessions happens to be my Baba’s watch. It was a wedding band of sorts. My mum’s family gifted him this Seiko at the time of their wedding. And it’s the only watch he ever had (barring one he got from his colleagues at his farewell, which never left its box).
Back in those days, a watch was a watch. It wasn’t a fashion statement. Nor was it expected to beep and glow to remind you of special occasions/events. It did not buzz when you have been inactive for more than 30 mins. And no, it did not give you your heart rate or sleep data. But surprisingly, most people still managed to keep active, sleep better and remember special dates. And a watch was just a watch. It gave you the time and date. And nothing more.
Yet, my Baba, like many of his generation, was more loyal to his watch than I ever was to mine. For how could I, when I had more than half a dozen of them at any given time? Baba had just one. For life. When it stopped, its batteries were replaced. When its glass cracked on being dropped, it was repaired. When Baba lost weight, its band was adjusted. It accompanied him to work, social events, holidays and even to the hospital when he had his heart attack. There wasn’t a different one for every occasion. There was only one.
To me, this watch is a symbol of loyalty and simplicity. It’s a reflection of those days when relationships and things were valued and looked after. It’s a reminder of the times when people were happy and grateful for what they had. Every time I hold it, I think of Baba. Of how he wore it on this right wrist. Of how he kept it on his little bedside table, next to his glasses. Of how he never considered changing it or having another one. Of how it grew old with Baba.
Turns out, the watch was more than a watch after all.