Is old-age a dreadful dream?
More than any of those fearsome diseases, dreadful nightmares, monstrous animals and equally dangerous humans that lurk around, what people fear most these days is their age, the innate fear of growing old and getting wrinkles all over their body. I have more than a handful reasons to say this, as I’ve witnessed many incidents where people speak of their age with immense agony and tremble that are often clearly visible. Their heart skips a beat when they are asked about their age, and that’s more than funny to watch. Does that sound a bit cruel? But, I do find it funny to see how people who frantically try their best to hide their age, or put up the mask of false youthfulness that would flake off any moment. But yet they cling on to those fragile masks and cover themselves, in their anxious effort to hide their real age. Be it man or woman, a person who crosses thirty finds it a bit hard to disclose their age, or to reveal that nature is slowly draining off the youthfulness and vigor from their body.
When looked upon carefully, I think men are equally, perhaps more scared of getting aged, and not only women, but men too equally lean-on to the costly artificialities, in order to fake youthfulness. When women fear of losing their looks, I keep wondering about the fears that men have, when wrinkles start showing up and when grey hairs heartlessly dominate the luscious black ones. I think they would have insecurities about their manliness, I mean by all means, as men would be more than scared about the loss of their libido and virility; rather than the flawless looks that adorned them during their youth. Sometimes I keep wondering whether they are scared of the fact that they are nearing death. But that’s just stupidity, as death has hardly anything to do with age. Death is inevitable, but can happen to anyone at any point of time, no matter whether that person is young or old. So it should not trigger a sense of fear or insecurity in one’s mind, and initiate the fear of getting aged. Like women, growing older may also make men worry about an uncertain future filled with endless list of ailments and bodily worries. Another factor that they would be scared about will be their financial stability. I would call this lack of planning and meticulousness in life. If a person lives fifty years in ultimate luxury and spend the rest of the life in pennilessness, I would call him a fool, as he had enough to save for his old age, but carelessly splurged it without any planning.
Is balding a nightmare that scares men from getting old? I don’t think hair loss would be a matter of fear these days, as more than a couple of our iconic male film stars , who are in their twenties and thirties, are almost bald, and yet have a huge fan following. Going grey or baldness should not scare one anymore, as both start showing up much early these days, perhaps due to the unhealthy lifestyle and food habits that we are forced to follow. To be frank, I find men with a little of grey hair attractive and seductive. Such men, although very rare in number, are the testimonies of the fact that cosmetic fears have hardly anything to do with personality.
The muscle sag, or pot belly in plain language, that visibly shows off its arrival, is not just the sign of old age, as I have seen many young men, especially those nerdy techies, with more than pot sized bellies. Pot belly is never inevitable, as long as one is ready to work out regularly and maintain a fit and healthy body, and for this reason belly size would never become the trademark of old age.
But not very man is bald, impotent, or penniless, which means if you life carefully planned, and look after yourself, while continuing to have fun, you can definitely age gracefully and not scarily.
Anti aging creams, scrubs, and other beauty products that guarantee to fight the natural aging process have almost monopolized the market these days, and both men and women are so crazily addicted to them, thus living under the false notion that they would hinder the natural process of growth and ageing. What are they really up to? Are they really foolish enough to believe the promises of the cosmetic companies, or are they trying to remain so, forcefully forgetting the fact that ageing can never be stopped, no matter whatever they try and do. Why do they do it? Is it just because of the fear that they would soon be deprived of the luminous youth that they’ve been proud of all these years? The thought of finding one selves with wrinkles, in grey hair, is very evident in such people, as they desperately lean on cosmetics, surgeries, and whatever possible to retain the luminosity of their skin.
Ageing is a natural process, and will keep happening, no matter however hard we try to avoid it. So why not age gracefully, rather than being frantic, depressed, and worried about it?Ageing also means clearing out all the mess and messy people and chiseling down to the very few that you really need in your life, that are important, that really matter.
Age is what you want it to be. It’s not just a number that should keep scaring you. It should be the satisfaction that you’ve lived every moment of life to the fullest, and are happy walking forward in life. The desperateness to walk backwards only shows the lack of courage and strength of will.
I am not much sure about the number of people who can relate themselves to this bizarre habit of mine, but I am sure there will be at least a handful of likeminded people who can relate to me and my habit of seeking those few minutes of entertainment during meal times, be it on T.V or on those random YouTube videos. In the absence of T.V in my hostel room, the only the option that I can lean on to is my laptop, so that I can pick one of those mindless YouTube videos to compensate for the lack of television. There is absolutely no coherence in choosing programmes or videos, and I don’t really watch them all completely. What I choose most of the times will be the previous episodes of some of my favourite crime shows or those less than ten minutes long Tom and Jerry cartoons, as I need it only for just less than twenty minutes till I finish munching on my meal. So if you ask me the logic behind watching the same episodes over and over again, I have nothing to say, other than the fact that I need a meal time entertainment, no matter whether I’ve seen it once, twice, thrice, or more than a dozen of times. I don’t watch it entirely, but shut it off the moment I finish my food.
Once dad was so pissed off with this obscure addiction of mine and forcefully made me stop watching television and YouTube videos while having food. More than his fear of seeing me glued to them, it was his concern about my health that made him take a stubborn decision of taking away perhaps the most delicious ‘dish’ that cherished during my entire meal time. I was more than sad to hear his sudden serious decision, and pleaded many times to reconsider it. But dad was so serious like never before and he gave deaf years to my almost tearful words. It was hard, but I had to do it.
I started becoming g unusually quiet during meal times, and my entire family knew what the reason is. However they wanted me to get rid of something that was a part of my life since childhood, and hence paid no attention to the outpour of melancholy that visibly reflected on my face.
But I saw dad becoming a little lenient after a few days, and granted me the permission to watch T.V. during mealtime, but only in his presence, and made sure that I switch the T.V off and get up immediately after having food. Yes, my dad can never see me walking around with that sad face! I was overjoyed to know that my parents are ready to give me access to the ‘tastiest curry’ that makes my mealtime extra special.
Now that I am in hostel most of the time, I can easily make use of mealtimes and enjoy watching random videos on YouTube and enjoy my food. Even though I always make sure to stop them right the very next moment I finish my meals, I am yet to try and get rid of this addition of watching something or the other while having food. Dad keeps reminding me about the possible chances of over eating, but I don’t think I eat more than what my stomach can contain. So the possibility of overeating hardly scares me as much as it scares him.
More than this weird habit of mine, what may perhaps surprise him and others who know me will be uncompromised willingness to eat whatever I am provide with, if have the TV or laptop switched on and kept right next to me. It makes me “obedient”, “passive”, and “non complaining”, and I easily accept whatever I am given to eat. Both my mind and my taste buds are more than happy with having something to watch, and this may perhaps be the reason why I get distracted from the not so likable food that I am served.
Should I keep a curb on this habit of mine? I am not sure whether I should, as it doesn’t in any way harm my health or well being. I don’t indulge in mindless eating, paying zero attention to what I am putting in to my mount. But, taking my dad’s advice a bit more seriously than before, now a days I am trying my best to avoid the habit of watching and eating or choose healthy and portioned meals.
But if someone tells me that TV programs or commercials would encourage me to eat more, I would just laugh it off.
It’s Friday and I am more than excited for Fridays from now on, as I am now blessed with 48 hours long weekends, a miracle that I had always wished for. Since moving in to this city and joining for work, I never had the kind of worth mentioning excitements and anticipations about weekends, as it was often as short as less than 24 hours of relief from work and tensions. The only luxury that I had was those very rarely happening Second Saturdays, those much anticipated days of the month. But after compensating for the weekdays that were lost due to those unanticipated hartals and strikes, what’s left would be less than 24 hours, and a long list of things to do, plus up and down travel to my home town. Time used to fly like a jet plane and in no time I would be back in office with piles of tasks to do.
But now that my weekends have become more than longer, happiness have grown manifolds, much more than what words can describe. The hours of silence that I craved for, the moments of calmness that I looked for, those relaxed afternoons that I wished for, those beautiful evenings when I wanted to take a stroll towards the park; finally they are all happening, though a little late in my life.
I’ve all these wonderful noisy girl pals in the hostel who go out together and make the whole city know that they’re out for fun and excitement. Whereas there would be this very calm and silent me who loves walks alone most of the times, enjoys watching people around, savour those much loved chaats and vada pavs from the close by eatery, find myself a calm and quit restaurant to sit and relax sipping a cup of filter coffee watching the massive downpour outside, curl up on my bed reading a good novel, spend some time in the library looking for worth reading book, sit on those wooden park benches and watch children playing in the park, enjoy the beauty of those reddish sunsets and cosy nights.
With no more addition for social networking, I am off the phase of being an internet junkie, and have started taking weekend time for many other worth doing things. So this week just want to rush home and be there for two days. It’s been two weeks since i haven’t been to my native place, and now, every nerve of my body is craving for the home ambience and comfortless that I haven’t had since the last two weeks. My home; a blissful house amid the busting town, a sanctified ambience with a temple, a church and a mosque on all the three sides, presence of my parents, the most wonderful human beings on earth – what more do I need to have a great weekend? The only person whom I keep missing is my sister who busy shaping her career in the garden city.
So if you ask me my plans for the weekend, after reaching home, I have nothing much to excite you, as I am mostly an indoor animal at home, and hardly goes out to sunlight. But this week I have an interesting book to read. A quick visit to the library yesterday and I managed to grab Shalimar The Clown by Salman Rushdie. Being an average reader, I was not sure how palatable the book is going to be, but after reading a few initial pages, I had to change my opinion, as it has completely gripped me with the great narration. So I may prefer staying indoors reading the book, with no one to interrupt, but for the smell of luscious cuisines from the kitchen. All the chit chats happen breakfast and lunch, and as usual I would be watched for being an avid foodie, as I’ve put on oodles of weight in the last two years.
Evenings are meant to indulge in my passion for crime serials, which has ‘matured’ itself from a habit to an addiction. Thanks to C.I.D and Sony T.V, which I’ve been watching since school time! The very stern A.C.P and his team has almost become the part and parcel of my life now, and so is Adalat and Ronit K.D.Pathak Roy, the clever lawyer protagonist. Then came Arjun, the super cop on Star Plus, and my joy knew no bounds. So I have more than a handful for the evening time. A plate full of hot Maggie noodles and I will be off to watch those crime stories unfold, along with munching lip-smacking Maggie noodles.
After pondering my thoughts over this weird question that has been loitering around my mind for years together, and still keep lingering somewhere in the back of my heart, I am trying to put it down for the first time on my blog, just hoping to find a sensible answer to those years of back to back thoughts on this more than bizzare phenomenon. To be frank, it sometimes makes me wonder, sometimes gives me more than a few moments of nonstop laughter , and at times makes me sympathize, but all these don’t give me the satisfying answer that I’ve been looking since last couple of years. I know what you all are thinking about right now, and so let me tell you straight away what my confusion is! Why are there a lot of people, married men and women to put it specifically, failing to find solace and happiness in their partners whom they know for years, and run towards those ‘just recently met’ ‘friends’, looking for understanding, consolation, contentment, and peace of mind?
At times I keep drawing this weird conclusion that such people would be prone to some kind of physical attraction which makes them gel themselves to the less known strangers, drifting themselves apart from their long-term, faithful partners who had always been with them, in thick and thin, without any complaints and qualms. But at times I think there is something more than a mere physical attraction that makes them get attracted to the unknown, after forcefully separating themselves from the known, and finally ending up nowhere. After having witnessed one such couple recently, this thought has been pestering my mind almost every day, making me wonder about the strength and stability of relationships, no matter whether it’s between lovers or friends. There is this guy and a girl I know, both married to two wonderful people, yet shares more than an intimate relationship with each other; I mean by all means. Call it a healthy friendship and I beg to differ, as friends don’t get this physically intimate and show PDAs like these two. Jump in to a conclusion that they may be in love each other, and I will come up with a counter question –what they hell did they find in each other, which they couldn’t find in their respective partners?
I am not trying draw a prejudiced conclusion that all relationships can be fragile and ill healthy, but nowadays there are more than a major share of men and women, who find happiness in such new-found ‘nameless’ relationships, lingering on to them crazily, in whatever ways possible, assuring their mind and people around that they are living in their happiest space. If you ask me, I wouldn’t even take a second to say that they are living in fool’s paradise.
If people start driving themselves away from years long-term commitments, under the false and unjustifiable notion that their partners have failed to understand them even after years of togetherness, I don’t think such people have any right to expect anything from the new-found relationships, which they think can bring them the happiness and peacefulness that they think they haven’t received for years. There is no one, not even one person, in this world, who is blessed with the magical power to understand someone within days or weeks after meeting. So I think it would be the most foolish decision in life decision if a man or a woman does that to their long-term partner, after justifying themselves as desperate souls in search of understanding, contentment and comfort.
Or aren’t such decisions a kind of escapism? I sometimes think it is, and the justifications that they keep ranting about are just to get themselves a safer mask to escape from the realities that they fear about in life, or may be like I said before, some weird moments of enticing physical attraction that draws them to the ‘so called’ ‘significant other’, the kind of illegitimate relation that they want to cover-up with some legitimate-looking excuses.
But the sad part is that there is someone in all these cases who is left alone to suffer and cry, who keeps lamenting for not being able to ‘understand’ the partner, who keeps cursing themselves for not being able to meet their duties in the relation that they are/were in to. It’s here that the sadness likes, and it’s here that the unanswered part lies!
So what really goes wrong with people? When years long partner becomes less important, taking the backseat, and when the ‘not so known’ ‘friend’ takes charge, many people get doomed in the momentary happiness but often fail to hear the alarm of the forthcoming loneliness and pain that they would endure. Do you know why? The hurt that they knowingly or unknowingly create in their years long relationship, the sorrow that they give to the person who trusted them the most, they all would bounce back one day, bounce back to them so badly that they won’t even have even the faintest chances to get back in to the safer hands of the loved ones, those people who had loved them endlessly and unconditionally throughout their life.
It doesn’t happen all the time, but yes, there are times when I just don’t feel like talking to anyone, when I want to remain silent and completely detached from all the people and things around me. Some people mistake my silence for arrogance, but those who know me closely are well aware of this alter-ego of mine, which keeps appearing in between, making me feel desperate to remain silent and unconnected for sometime.
Sometimes I badly need those silent moments; those detached times when I can be within myself and spend some time in solitary confinement. By solitary confinement I don’t mean those melancholic and retrospective moments that are powerful enough to thwart even the highest level of positivism. It’s about those moments of disconnection that can help me clean my mind and take some deep breaths before coming back to the hustle and bustle of life. It’s not a mental illness, like how most of the people out there feel, but just a method of cleansing my mind.
Be it in mine or someone else’s case, people are often prejudiced about the reason for quietness of a person. They do have this very bad notion that all the quiet people are alike, and have more or less the same reasons for being quiet. So people who don’t know me much always come up with their own ridiculous assumptions my quietness and I remain stubbornly tight-lipped and ignore their “What’s wrong?”s and “Are you Ok?”s because I hate giving replies and justifications about why I am silent, although I am grateful for all those ‘kind hearts’ for being visibly concerned about my abrupt silence.
I keep wondering why people just make this wrong note of my need and likeness for solitude. I am not an introvert, but not an extrovert either, and speak just the average amount of words that I would need to survive. But there are certain moments when I am totally blank, when all that I want is a few moments of soothing silence, and I just go on a compulsory silence and come back to ‘normalcy’ in perhaps a few hours. But those few hours are very important for me to bring my mind back on track and take time to figure out things that might have run messy and out of order. So even if I don’t have anything to brood or fret about, I do take a few hours of detachment from the world and go on sitting silently for a couple of hours as it gives a completely fresh aura to come back and start things with more energy and enthusiasm. I am not quite sure about the number of people who can relate themselves to this, to the desperate need to cut off themselves from the world and live a few hours in silence.
This obscure ‘fetishness’ for enforced silence has been with me since childhood. No matter how long a person keeps tempting me to start talking or share some of my slightly above average jokes I will keep my mouth shut like a stubborn little girl. Thankfully some of my friends know that I go on such hibernations on and off, the reason why they hardly bother to call me or text me during those moments of self imposed silence.