This is not a story of middle earth. It is a story from the middle kingdom.
Every town in China seems to have a bell tower and a drum tower. They were used to keep time: the bell tolled the beginning of the day, and the drum, its end. They would also ring at various other times to mark various important divisions of the day.
In Beijing, the plaza between the two towers is full of tourists during the day. We chanced on it some time after the gates of the towers had closed. When we arrived, dinner time was already over for most Chinese families, and this plaza had been turned into a playground for children from the surrounding hutongs. They were out doing all kinds of things, with parents and grandparents keeping watch as usual.
The Family says, and I agree, that finishing dinner early seems to give you time to do many things before you fall asleep. Why can’t we do this in India? We never seem to have time between getting back from work, having dinner, and falling asleep.