Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Corpus clock at Cambridge - #AtoZChallenge

It is very rare when you can point to a particular day, time or place and say "This is when/where my life changed for good!" We are fortunate to be able to say so. Standing in front of the Corpus clock and listening to what it means was the life-changing moment for both of us. After a tiring day of roaming around the Cambridge University (most of the exhaustion coming from heavy pouring and efforts to stay as dry and warm as possible for the first half of the day), we were taking a break just to sit and enjoy watching people when my eyes fell on a group of people standing at a corner on Trumpington Street. Curiosity got better of me and I walked to the group. A lady was explaining to the crowd while pointing to the glass case and she referred to it as a clock. I looked at it carefully, but it looked nothing like a clock.

P.C. http://www.cambstimes.co.uk
To start with it had no hands, but three rings, outer ring representing seconds, moving to denote every passing second, the middle ring for minutes and the innermost one for hours. The lady explained that the LEDs glow on the middle and the inner rings to denote the time. But what intrigued me most was the large insect sitting on top of it, which appeared to be eating every passing second. To add to the eeriness, every hour was marked by a sound of a chain clanking into a small wooden coffin hidden in the back of the clock. I shuddered at that sound. I have never seen a grimmer clock than that one ever.

The clock reminds people of the inevitability of the passing time and ultimately death. No matter what we do (or don't do) the insect is eating every precious second of our time anyway, and with every bite it takes, we are nearing our death, one step at a time. The thought is frightening and at the same time liberating. It made me wonder how much time we waste every day on pitiable things such as arguing over trivial matters, demeaning others to prove ourselves right, pampering our ego, worrying, fearing, fighting, hating, doubting, envying and what not. As these thoughts crossed my mind, the insect blinked, as if with satisfaction. I jumped thinking that I may have imagined it, but others had noticed it too. The lady explained that it does so occasionally, and added that the clock is accurate only once every five minutes, denoting irregularity of life.

This clock left us in a trance. We recollected how many times we had told ourselves that we will do 'something' next time or some other day and how that 'someday' never came in our life. How many opportunities we had missed, fearing the failure or even worse, apprehension about the hard work involved in achieving it. So many dreams, so many wishes! Not all of them were large ones, some as tiny as watching a sunset together or visiting a place which blooms only once a year or simply taking a day off to spend it leisurely to wander off without any agenda. We keep wishing for small things and then keep depriving ourselves even for those tiny pleasures of life.

Ever since that day, that insect has never left my back, every time I deny a small pleasure to myself I feel its presence on my neck, every time I am afraid to take risk in life I hear the clanking chain in the coffin. Since that day we discovered a new mantra to live - "Right here right now". Whenever we feel like doing something which wouldn't cause any harm to ourselves or others, we do it without any delay. Rather than maintaining a list of 'To do before I die' all our lives and then starting to tick it off feebly when we realise it's too late, we add and tick off from our list every day. In short, we try to live every day, every moment, make most out of what we have and stare back that insect in the eye with satisfaction!

Download this and other posts published as part of the #AtoZChallenge  - https://www.theblogchatter.com/download/off-beats-by-gayatri/


  1. I didn't know about the Corpus Clock and indeed it carries a poignant message. The insect is a wonderful representation of how we allow our "time" to be frittered away on pointless things. Visiting from A-Z Challenge. :) Linda

  2. Awesome clock! Thanks for sharing this story :-) Happy A-to-Z-ing.

  3. That's an intriguing clock. Never seen anything like that before. Right now right here is a great mantra to live by.
    From A to Z
    Cherry Blossoms

  4. I love that clock. Its so weird and such an amazing piece of sculpture.

    Confusion or Clarity #Lexicon of Leaving

  5. Wow! I had never heard of this. This is one unique clock for sure. Thanks for sharing about it.


  6. Your thoughts about "living every moment" are so true. We usually keep a to-do-before-I-die list but fail to realise that we hardly have any check marks on it. Another superb article!!!!

  7. I was always fascinated about Cambridge. Thanks for this. :)

  8. I loved the way you wrote about that experience - felt like I was there with you, wondering about the details, jumping at the blink. Then you mentioned the bug on your back - have you ever watched Doctor Who? It has a double episode about a time bug like that.

    Today on my Journey To Courageous Living C is for cliques: a spoken word poem to my online friends. Hope you'll check it out.

  9. Enjoyed your post very much. Cambridge is high on my to-see list.

  10. I love this story. Thanks for sharing. http://bit.ly/2nypeoT

  11. I remember seeing this clock in the movie "Paa" but it never struck with me then. Now after reading your post, I must say this is quite an interpreation of time keeping and yes " Right now, Right here" is the imminent message. I really enjoyed reading this - thanks for sharing.

    Theme: Peregrination Chronicles (travel)
    D is for Dolphin Delight in Goa #atozchallenge