Our host: Hey! Time. How you doin’ today?
Time: Amazing. Glad to be here.
Our host: Welcome to 18+ Maths. We are also very thrilled to have you here. It’s really nice that you could find some time to be here. Thank You.
Time: Ha. I see what you did there. You’re a funny guy. So, that’s why people watch you so much? What’s next, another joke or one of the questions’ that we decided earlier. Huh?
And after a few seconds, the silence was replaced by wooing and a big round of applause from the audience.
See, I can be funny too, but you don’t see me doing a Late night show.
Our host: Okay, moving on. Question it is then; tell us where you are from ‘Mr. Machine’?
Time: Please call me Time. Well, contrary to many popular beliefs, I am an abstract concept and I was developed in seven ninety-two thousand four hundred and fifty-eight X.D. and as you must be aware I was a very popular contender for ‘The 4th dimension’ a few days back.
Our Host: Yeah, it was a pretty big fuzz, have you talked to other dimensions about this? What do they have to say about this?
Time: Yeah (x,y,z) family has been very supportive. But, I must say, I am more than happy where I am. Why would I want to be with them? I already have more stuff written about me than literally anything else. Besides, who truly wants any added responsibility these days, right?
Our Host: Okay, pretty fair. We’ll see how it goes. I think only ‘time’ will tell.
(F.A.L.) Fake Audience Laugh
Now, before I forget, I have a confession. I’ve wanted to say something for as long as I can remember. Here it comes, ” I held quite a big vendetta against you, from as long as I can remember because I was born on 29th of fucking February. What that means is, I can exactly remember all the times I have celebrated my birthday.”
Time: I know man. I get more tweets about this than I get angry priest letters.
Our Host: Yeah? They’re still pissed about their unemployment. F.A.L. But coming back to my question, I wanna know why design such a thing a thing in the first place; I just know that it is somehow related to something called leap year which comes every four years or so. But who the hell thought that it would be a good idea to destroy so many birthday parties. I mean why is leap year such a great necessity? Couldn’t we be ‘normal’ just like all other Aliens?
Time: Firstly, leap year doesn’t come every four years, 1700, 1800, 1900 were not leap years and neither will 2100, 2200 and 2300 be. Secondly, let’s start from the beginning and just trust me when I say this that no one is ‘normal.’
Now, here’s a thought experiment to very easily understand all this. Let’s suppose your show gets laid off and you fail at everything else you try and then you decided to go away from all this, to Amazon, not the one available online. And let’s say after a few months your only watch breaks down in the middle of the forest and as you don’t have resources to make it working again and now you have to monitor time. How would you do it?
Our Host: First of all thank you for being so positive about my work; why would I go to Amazon?
Then a hologram appeared out of nowhere and a moment started to play.
Time: Let’s see how your Grand-Grand Father did it. See that’s how it all started. There he is, trying to explain to that girl, how some things in our Mother Nature repeats and are bound to amazing cycles. Like how that yellow thing glows for some time and then that white thing comes out, sometimes in different shapes every day and this cycle goes on and on and on and has always been since the beginning. You call these things the Sun and the Moon now-a-days.
But if you notice them long enough, you can, very easily, also predict how they move? From where they come and go? And how they come and go? …and…and…and let me add another thing, those little twinkling and shining stars that appear in the night: those bears, those fishes, the constellations you make out of them; they move too. Everything moves and that too in some patterns.
Our Host: Wow! I feel like, you should do me a grand favor or something on behalf of him.
Time: Hah! I don’t think you should think like it was some Nobel prize winning discovery because other people did not pay that much attention to this side of me, neither him at that time. But then here (hologram changes) on another place totally unrelated to you Grand-Grandfather, someone else discovered the same thing and this happened over and over again and again until some King took this idea seriously and if I keep granting those wishes, I’d be short of around a thousand wishes.
Our Host: Wow! So many intelligent people and we still haven’t figured out anything.
Time: Okay so people started noticing these patterns and what do you do when you see a pattern?
Our Host: Ahh….I am still not good with science.
Time: Nevermind, then lets’s do some Come Sense 101.
They saw those patterns and tried to measure them, so do you know of anything that measures how long does the sun take to revolve or rotate around the earth or so it was believed?
Our Host: I wanna say a year?
Time: That’s it, my friend, you have discovered time. It’s just a way of measuring patterns, and patterns emerge, always, even in chaos. Everything is actually random chaos, patterns just combine everything to make sense of it.
Our Host: Okay, we have got a day and a year, but, who the fuck thought months would be a good idea? Because I still haven’t found any culprit for my 75% of the birthdays.
Time: Don’t worry, we’re almost halfway there. It’s actually a bit long story. Are you sure you are up for it?
Time: You are discovering time for goodness sake. So buckle up.
Okay, some people saw that sun took this much time to move through our sky once and so first concept people came out with was a “Day”. And then many more started noticing patterns in patterns like our moon would be in the same position after some specific days…And that’s exactly how the calendars were managed for a long-long time; observation of new moon meant starting of a new month. And also the shape of the moon can point you towards the day of the week. Combining these two, you could get the day of the week and month of the year. And this method which you now call Lunar Calendar was actively used in many places on Earth, not too far back, just a few centuries ago.
But then, when people started making tools for their convenience, some of them got really creative and created hour glasses, hence divided a day in 24 parts and again divided those into 60 parts and again divided those 60 more parts and that my friend is exactly the 9192631770 periods of a certain frequency of radiation from the caesium atom: a so-called atomic second. Period.
Our Host: Wow! but I think you skipped something called leap year just like the 29th of a specific month.
Time: For that, let’s go to Amazon again and now it’s been a few years over there, so you have settled somewhere in a hut on some riverside. Now you have to keep count of the years you’ve been there because even after leaving rest of the world you’re still pretty obsessed with celebrating your birthday.
Now your genuine approach here would be to count the total number of days and calculate accordingly how many years have passed. For that, you need to know how many days come in a single year. And before you say 365, I wanna say you are wrong. Here’s why.
Let’s start with a day. Now try to think of the day as the most beautiful thing you have ever heard. The thing people don’t quite pay attention is that the most basic unit of time is the same thing that was also defined the first, ‘A Day.’ Rest all, like seconds, minutes are too small to be observed by a naked man and things like year and months are too big to keep track of. So that’s a day and you don’t appreciate it that much, do you?
Now comes the year. In those times the way a year was defined was the time it took for all the constellations to come back to their original place. By the way, just this one statement throws your astrology out of the window. Yeah! That was how people originally defined a year and that is what your one birthday actually is. Just Another Revolution.
But you see people couldn’t take the fact that earth takes a fractional number of days to revolve around the sun, and they kept going with the popular opinion of 365 days. What the actual result was that seasons also started to come in patterns…like summer would shift 6 hours every year and eventually after a few centuries or so, summer and winter were in completely different positions.
Our Host: Wouldn’t that be cool huh!
Time: Yeah, but instead of that, what people did was that they took that away from you along with your 75% of the birthdays because it created a lot of problems for farmers as sowing and harvesting in the correct season was very important for them, and this time we are talking about, was when agriculture was booming. A few billion farmers owe it to you, ‘February 29 people’.
So, this is where people introduced a leap year.
There are three hundred sixty-five and around a quarter days. A little less actually from the quarter. But that wouldn’t be a good day, right, at least for the practical purposes? Which ended in just six hours. So what some intelligent people did was that they thought that we should save these six hours of consecutive four years and if you count how many hours we have saved, it would be almost equal to one day. A little more actually. So if we do that twenty-five times and twenty-five times four is equal to a century but just as before it wouldn’t be a good day that started at 0000 and ended in just a few minutes. So, no February 30. And what people thought of was that we should add these days and whenever it becomes equal to a day we will delete it and that happens exactly every century. So that’s why 1700, 1800 and 1900 were not leap years but this can go on and on. But since 16th century we have agreed according to the now everywhere accepted ‘Gregorian calendar’ is that if we introduce 97 leap years in 400 years, it would almost match The Pattern, of course with a certain percentage of error.
That’s it. Do you feel okay about your leap birthdays now?
Our Host: Yeah, but you are scaring me, I thought time was something like an ‘absolute’ truth, but you are having even worse identity-crisis than me. How many people do we have keeping track of all these things, these leap years, leap days, leap seconds? And why was I never informed of all these things? Shouldn’t I have a say in all of this?
Time: I didn’t say that this system was flawless.
Our Host: You mean, if I had to calculate the exact days there have been since Christ’s birth, I had to follow this Gregorian Calendar till 1600, then some Christian Calendar and then some Lunar laws of Moon Calendar. No wonder people who study history are getting extinct.
Time: That is absolutely correct. But did you knew that your calendars had to skip 11 days from 3rd of September to 14th of September in the year 1752? So, you’d had to subtract 11 days while switching from Gregorian calendar to Julian calendar. Also making some other adjustments along the way.
Our Host: This is getting out of hand. Okay last question, and if I don’t ask this, I might really have to move to Amazon or Sahara. Are you still friends with Miss Space?
Time: Yeah, it’s like we were made for each other. Space and Time, Time and Space.
Our Host: Thank you so much for being here. Ladies and GentleMen, a big round of applause for Mr. Time, who is dating not Miss Universe but almighty Miss Space herself. Bring her too next time you are over here. I have a confession for her too.
Time: Yeah! sure but I don’t think she’d even fit here. I don’t know what’s wrong with her, she’s always expanding, but I love her.
Awwwing from the audience
Our Host: That’s really sweet. I think I am also gonna start calling my wife, ‘ever-expanding’ instead of just ‘fat’.
Time: By the way what’s the title of this gonna be, “Space-Time: oldest couple alive”?
Our Host: Nah! I think I am just gonna go with just ‘An Interview with Time.’
Time: Thank you.
Our Host: No, Thank You, Sir.