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Posted at: Mar 20, 2017, 12:42 AM; last updated: Mar 20, 2017, 12:42 AM (IST)

Forever young

Ruchi Sharma
I READ somewhere that ‘age is a number, young is a feeling’. How apt it is! I remember when the Principal of the school, where I served, retired, staff members were feeling nostalgic as he had put in 30 years of dedicated service. The highlight of the farewell party was a short poem in Hindi that had been composed into a song. The wordings went something like this: ‘This is not the end, rather it is the beginning’. Everyone was moved by the optimistic tenor of the song. 

Ageing is a state of mind. If you have the verve and zest for life, you will always remain young. I recall my mother’s doctor telling her not to get bogged down by her various ailments. He quoted the example of a Lieutenant General whom he meets every Sunday at the Gymkhana Club. He has indomitable spirit despite being 97-year-old. He daily swims two-three laps and has a peg or two every day. His laughter is infectious, he is the life of every party and brushes aside any questions about his age.

When my father retired from the Air Force, the transition took some time. From a very hectic lifestyle, he then had too much time to spare. All those serving years he did not have a minute to call his own. Spending time was a worrisome issue. He took to gardening with gusto. The patch around our house had been neglected for years. He would spend time sowing, weeding and pruning plants. He was happy and content. He said he had always been a farmer at heart. He was, after all, a son of the soil. He nurtured each plant like his own child. He handled each seedling tenderly. As the saplings grew, he would tie stalks to them for support. When the buds blossomed into flowers he displayed paternal pride. Seeing the profusion of flowers, our neighbours marvelled at the spectacle. They sought his advice. He started giving valuable suggestions to budding gardeners.

Other than gardening, he would also burrow his head into the newspaper every day, and became an avid viewer of news channels. He kept himself constructively occupied. As one who was averse to Bollywood movies, he started watching ‘Hinglish’ films in cineplexes with me. He began to appreciate the new-age films, as against the run-of-the-mill films of the past.On being asked how old he is, he says, ‘Ask me how young I am.’ 

A myth has thus been busted. Old does not rust. Old age, in fact, has its own charm.


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