I wanna die at 40 – you hear this from young people a lot. I asked myself – do I? Usually when you look at old people their lives seem full of sickness and god. But all of us have that one cool pair of relatives who are old yet super cool. This vacation, I accompanied one such relative of mine to a tour to near-by temples with their ‘senior citizen group’. And it was nothing what I expected it to be! At the end of the trip, I got my answer. I wanna grow old and be awesome.
Sun can at times be so beautiful. I look at my naked stretched legs, my skin glowing; me highlighting my veins with my red painted nails. I could hear my heart beat and my head burn in the hot sun. Sometimes, going out with a bunch of people who are not your best friends can also be this mentally rewarding. Sometimes; other times it’s just boring. Just like visiting the same temple every week is.
The neurologist asked me, “Do you exercise daily?” I replied, ”Yes” and he laughed at me. Keep your schedule at school – he advised. Expanding the horizon of your mind does not always come from following the things that you believe in. I despise Swaminarayan. Yet I visit those temples. Reasoning is learning – one main lesson my life taught me. I never mind embarrassing myself while I answer in the class, education will feed your mind, not your ego.
I observed them silently. They had their iPods plugged into ears, the ‘bhajans’ playing. They cheered when someone sponsored the next tea break. They spent their money without counting, without anyone else claiming their right on that hard-earned money. They bathed in every river we passed and every waterfall, no matter the magnitude. They were mischeveous, went and ate the ‘dabeli’ in shadows and pretended to like the ‘khichadi’ in front of everyone. Fifteen minutes to Aarti and they were fighting over whose phone has the best picture quality. Trying to understand the features of the overly-smart device in their palms. Oh! All those years of practicing ‘bhakti’, remembering god’s name, knowing not what to believe. Wanting to live more, waiting for life, death will come, oh come it may they say. Happiness – you create it for yourself. So did they for themselves; with a session of romantic and naughty shaayris. They hit on their wives, shamelessly flirted, I couldn’t believe my eyes and ears. I guess, after all, they are more “experienced” then us. In their eyes you could see: only one wish – youth, life, freedom and love.
“Thought I lost my fight
Couldn’t find my way back home
And I found daylight stepping out of me
I was bound, and tired
Waiting for daylight
Oh, oh, oh
Bang my head against the wall
Oh, oh, oh
Instead I rose above it all”
- – David Guetta & Sia
What’s surprising is that these are the same old people we find in everyone’s home. Sitting on one fixed sofa, eating dull meals, not talking a lot, giving advice to everyone but when they are all together they have so much fun. They say they feel bound in their children’s home. A lot of grandparents these days, including my own, prefer to stay in their separate home and only come to visit their children’s home. Old people are not necessarily boring. They do carry their own swag but they shy from the younger ones because we expect them to change with us. They have already spent a whole lot of money behind us and now you want them to sell their old home so that you can get that money? Are you crazy? I don’t want kids because I can’t bear spending my money on anyone else other than me.
When you feel that the old man living at your home is not fitting in, you send him to an Elderly Care home. Have you ever been to an elderly care home? It’s duller than a hospital. Don’t do that. Buy them magazines in their native language, give them sweets and chocolate, make them join a senior citizen club or a ‘bhajan madal’. Grandparents want more freedom and want to do some tasks on their own too. They can’t because they either can’t or are not allowed to by their children. Give them some freedom. Dying is not easy. Inability is death; money is ability; but your power, is always in the hands of society. You may wonder, what shit am I talking about? Ability, money, power, society, all these affect you adversely if you let it. Old age affects you adversely if you let it. You might never find God if you search, but I can bet that you will find awesomeness in any stage of your life if you look for it.
So, grow old and as they say ‘Jeevan no anand mano’ – relish the pleasures of life.3 comments