ONE YEAR YOUNGER
I often joke about my age. The end of the year usually reminds me that ageing is an irreversible process and I will never be this age again. But instead of saying to myself 'I'll never be this young again', I say 'I'll never be this old again!' Coming back to the opening line – in the year 2007 whenever someone was inquisitive about my age, I replied that I was 42 years young. 'Only 42!' was the usual response. “Yes only 42; for after I reached 50 I started counting backwards – I'm getting younger every year.”
The article 'Middle aged at 136' which is featured under the column THINK ABOUT IT of this issue; and Dada Dial's statement in the article 'An Odyssey of his Own' also featured in this issue; about his having to retire in 1985 at the age of 58 were the triggers to this EDITORIAL.
Not so long ago, and I have witnessed this personally in the case of my own father; a sudden and dramatic change could be easily discerned in both the physical and mental attributes of persons immediately post retirement. The shoulders would stoop, the stance no longer erect, the walk no more sprightly, out of no where a walking stick would materialize, the face devoid of humor, the enthusiasm and drive no more visible, the appetite no more vibrant etc. etc. It was as if mentally a switch had been turned off and you were commanded into believing that you've become old, your physical ability curtailed, your memory weakened and your thought process slowed down. BUT IT WAS ONLY YOUR THINKING IT TO BE SO - WHICH MADE IT SO.
Today I'm 58 and I don't know the meaning of the word 'retire'. I don't think I've been more mentally alert in my life. I can't say that about me as far as physical shape goes, and I've promised to rectify that in 2008. But I see people in the 80's – take some of our own stalwarts – Ram Jethmalani, for instance, who could outpace many geeks of today. He still relishes his game of badminton in the mornings, doesn't have a moment to spare from his work all day and is still fresh to attend a social event thereafter till the wee wee hours. He travels between Delhi, Mumbai and Pune every week – yes every week; besides attending to engagements elsewhere in India and overseas. And I don't have to say anything about his mental capacity! Yet when you meet him, no matter what the hour, he greets you with a smile, ever alert and fresh.
I can cite several instances where the personality has evolved with age – after all matured wine is always preferred and when the saying 'the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak' is no longer valid – its time to say cheers to the joie de vivre.
So lets welcome 2008 with open arms and get younger by another year.