A Septuagenarian's Outlook on Life



New Indian Express, May 2, 2013

A septuagenarian’s look at existence

02nd May 2013 07:59 AM
Exit from this world is certain for all, but while in your teens, the probability of having to call it quits and depart any time any day does not nag you significantly. However, once you cross the Biblical span of three score and ten, you suddenly feel you have to pack. Till fifty or even sixty, one dreams, hopes, plans and acts but into seventy, one undergoes a metamorphosis; one feels a reasonable certainty about the hour for the swansong that hitherto loomed only in the shadows. One gets a hunch one can almost count the hours — nay, minutes — left for the sands to run out.
Stoicism sets in.  Boredom takes over.  Neither hopes nor fears goad the mind that has passed through the best of times and the worst of times.  After all, what momentous event can be expected or feared in the next five years, three years, two years! Indifference reigns supreme in all your thoughts, words and deeds. In your younger days, you used to spend sleepless nights worrying why one of your casual acquaintances who always greeted you with a respectful smile was indifferent on a particular day. But now you have learnt to nonchalantly jettison all such non-events; in fact, in the other extreme, you even become apathetic  to the extent of ignoring men and matters, confident that such alienation would  “pass by you like an idle wind which you respect not’’.
Your “withdrawal symptoms’’ show in the way you start shunning social functions. Days when, on occasions like marriages, deaths and so on that see friends and relatives flocking together, you used to pick up the old threads with gusto and enjoy re-living the good old times, spiced with vociferous banter and back-slapping, are gone for ever, never to come back.
When the ebullient youngsters indulge in their pet pranks, fun and frolic in your presence, you inwardly sing with the bard, “Lord, what fools these mortals be!’’  In audible silence, you tell them: “Don’t be oversmart, kids. I have also passed through these stages and I know all this is just sound and fury signifying nothing.’’ May be because you are in your second childhood, you might develop an increased affinity and affection towards children.
You find yourself capable of vibing well with them, relating to them. Appetite wanes. Gluttons who, in the past, lived to eat, not ate to live, push away their plates untasted. The change is biological as well as psychological — mostly the latter. The horse that galloped unstoppable with virile sinews and an indefatigable spirit has gradually started gasping.
Limbs, as well as the mind, fall into the lap of lassitude. And, as Shakespeare put it, we remain “sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything’’. A rare few are granted the luxury of colourful dreams during the mid-day nap. “Recollections in tranquillity’’ afford me adequate compensation. And for this reason, I am a contented septuagenarian.

* C Divakaran is an exrbite based in Thiruvananthapuram


One of the best article from the author. The concluding remarks, “Recollections in tranquillity’’ afford me adequate compensation. And for this reason, I am a contented septuagenarian , is very apt and true. Narayanan
Silliest article. Drawing generalization on negative aspects of ageing, psychologically speaking, and offering them on a platter as a must have situation for all septuagenarians is wrong. See Fauza Singh, Khuswant Singh and many others. Both are above a hundred years of age. One is running a marathon and the other is still writing novels and is always at his funniest best. I know many octogenarians who are as positive and active as they were in their fifties.
Time to move away from dampening Shakespearean thoughts and proceed on to grasp, follow the thoughts of Swami Ramakrishna Paramhansaji, Adi Shankara, Swami Vivekananda, Ramana Maharishiji or any other great man of one's preference; one's batteries could be recharged anyday any time. Just a matter of situational perceptions apart from undergoing a Master Health Checkup in a corporate hospital and taking further treatments as advised by the senior physician there;Many hobbies, choices exist depending upon one's inclinations. Think of lesser privileged mortals. There are people in their eighties and nineties still enjoying their lives. This is the bonus period of the author's life; and he can enjoy, live this remainder bonus spell life the way he wants to live, after weighing afresh various options available to him. One hopes he keeps on writing and reminiscing on various varied happenings, incidents etc. Here is wishing him best of health, times for a decade or two more..
Yes it is packing time for me as I am going to touch eighties in another year. But that makes me only over active to give finishing touches to things to be completed, especially in the fields of reading, thinking,writing and sharing. Was waiting anxiously for my visa to heaven from my sixties, did an awful lot in all fields during this waiting time and I feel happy to continue doing the same to share what God has helped me to experience. Happy to go any time the call comes and happy to be up and doing my best till then.
That is the true spirit of a true man of art.
The article has served its purpose, if the purpose was to provoke thoughts. One need not worry too much about the one final thing that is death, as no one has left this planet alive so far. World outside is not as bad as the media pictures for you. There will be many kids waiting for your smile, even after you are toothless! There are many who would like to hold on to your hand even when your limbs are weak. Enjoy life.


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