If Only I Could…

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If there were any immovable object that I have taken picture of the most number of times within that week, it was no other than the statue of a man on the clock, displayed on the wall of the Intercontinental Hotel where we were billeted for seven days.

The man is either trying to stop the movement of the clock’s hand, or putting it back. Either way, the message is the same: “If only I could turn back time…”

I got a shot of it at least four times. Why the frequency? I exactly didn’t know then the reason. Perhaps it’s because it is eye-catching. Yes, it is; so are the ancient buildings and monuments. Maybe it’s because it is unique. Yes, it is; so are the relics and artifacts in museums. Probably, it’s because it is funny and entertaining. Yes, it is; so are the humorous images and figures here and there.

So, there must be another reason for my action. I didn’t know then. Or, so I assumed then.

On board the aircraft en route to Dubai from Vienna, while consolidating the pictures I have taken and looking for the memory stick in which Tirmizy saved the photos he himself has captured, I was reflectively telling myself, thus:

If only I could turn back time, I would have more explicitly thanked the KAICIID team – from the Secretary General, to Anas, our all-time bearer of glad tidings, down to the utility personnel, security guards, and drivers – for the opportunity to learn as well as the experience to share in the field of interreligious and intercultural dialogue.

If only I could turn back time, I would have engaged more with the 2016 KAICIID International Fellows and made more acquaintances with the 2017 Fellows. They are indeed multiple colors of an impending Super Rainbow in the world.

If only I could turn back time, I would have posed for a photo shoot, as a simple gesture of gratitude, with the Filipinos I have met in the city – the fulltime and part-time Filipino personnel at the KAICIID, who would take care of our jackets and winter clothes while we were in sessions and who would most hospitably prepare our snacks, serve tea or blend our coffee during break; and the Filipino staff in the different sections of both the Intercontinental and Hilton hotels. One Filipina waitress whom I met at the hotel restaurant during breakfast told me that she has been working there for 12 years. A Filipino who was then assigned in the deposit section at the hotel lobby proudly shared to me that he has been an employee of the hotel for 15 years and that he has a permanent visa while his family members are already Austrian passport-holders.  

If only I could turn back time, I would have asked (or asked again) the names of many persons I met: the other KAICIID staff; the Filipinos I have mentioned; the elder brother of Soto, a co-owner of the Greek restaurant we frequented for dinner and a lunch; and the bus drivers who transported us from the hotel to KAICIID Dialogue Centre, and vice versa, throughout the duration of the fellowship training. 

If only I could turn back time, I would have snapped more photos of our photographers who have passionately captured significant moments of our training. Photographers – professional or not – are truly unsung heroes of events and occasions. They are gallant warriors whose formidable weapons are camera lenses and right angles. They are zealous missionaries whose lofty mission is to capture non-retractable moments and instances in our lives. They are ardent lovers who are infatuated with imagery, enamored by panorama, and enchanted by vista. Their favorite serenade is “Ready, one, two, click!”

As such, it finally dawned upon me that the man on the clock that I have captured at least four times is no other than myself.

It’s an act of looking at the mirror to see my own image.

Or, selfie time, you may say.

(Source: Mansoor Limba, LIGHT MOMENTS IN VIENNA)

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  1. Hasmina

    They all matter. It’s the small unnoticed encounters that would last a lifetime. Keep it up Dr. Limba??

  2. Girlie Sarah

    Salaam. Thank you for sharing this article. I am always hesitant to say a word or two when a learned and intelligent person like you, sir Limba would hear it. But since you have asked for the reaction, (and I supposed there is no right or wrong reaction, so, safe. ?) For me, your article is a great reminder to value each moments of life. That if we are given a chance to experience good opportunity, we should enjoy and be very grateful for every phase of it.

  3. More than the imagery, you gave a vivid description of events and moments you would have immortalized in photos. You were so creative to have enriched and given life to what would just be a straigjtforward diary. You inspire me a lot, brother Mansoor, with your writing style and value content. Keep it up. Baraqallaho feyk.

  4. Mansoor Limba

    Thank you, Kaka Maugan, for the encouragement. The likes of you and Kaka Nash Maulana who are men of both letters and numbers are always an inspiration.

  5. Time grow slowly into your dreams, infinity will fill you with peace.” “I’m the seeker through the darkness of time and space seeking the light of the universe.” “Time and space is where we chase things we pretend we don’t have.” “By allowing myself to just be, i give myself space to put in gratitude. As someone says ” Time & Tide wait for none” if you kill the time, Time will kill you also. Hence a man on the clock, displayed on the wall is trying to stop the movement of the clock , is simply the wish “If only I could turn back time” which is next to impossible.

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