Main Zindagi ka saath nibhata chala gaya is a famous song from Hindi movie Hum Dono, picturised on evergreen hero Devanand. The first lines of the song are
I playfully went along in my life
But I always blew my worries up in smoke
These lines are significant in the Golden phase of life of humans, for that matter any phase. The song suggests that you don’t bother about worries! (Ok don’t smoke like Devanand as shown in the song!)
During the last month, three of our batch mates “suddenly” expired. Why have I written suddenly in quotes? Was it so sudden? The meaning of sudden is, occurring or done quickly and unexpectedly or without warning. We are a group of engineers who passed out in 1971 from COEP. On the WhatsApp group, there are 140 of us. We came in touch with each other after 45 years. Thanks to modern technologies like WA and FB. Even after being on the group, most have interacted with about 15 % of friends on the group. Admins are in touch with more friends than others. Those who were known during college days and continued to interact even later, know each other very well. But most others are colleagues who “meet” on WA group. These friends also meet during breakfast lunch/dinner meetings.
After these deaths, the discussion on WA group was uneasy, and the mood was melancholy. The questions in the mind would be why these sudden deaths? Who is next? When is my time getting over? A document was shared by a friend “When I should die!” It is a comprehensive document and explains and convinces you that the author’s theory is right! But what is the hurry?
Birth is an event which takes place where the person born has no control. Similarly, humans don’t have control over death. People say that one can commit suicide hence could have control over death. But someone does not wake up and commit suicide. The situation builds up; the person is giving the signals that there is something wrong. The person may talk to a friend about the wish to die. Friends may try and convince the person against such thoughts. It indicates that humans do not have control over death. On the subject of suicide, you owe a responsibility to others, like family anf friends!
Longevity plays an important in this discussion. Life expectancy in India is growing by leaps and bounds. In one or two generations it is observed that on an average, people in certain strata of society, live to an average age of 70 plus. But compared to the national average, all of us in the group are living bonus life! Is it surprising that people around the age of 70 are dying? Out of three friends who expired two had not been keeping well for some time. Third one died of a stroke. We all are aware that strokes can sometimes be fatal. When one looks at these events, except the third one, there were NO surprises. Since we were not in touch with friends regularly, we did not know about their health conditions daily. Hence, we had assumed that these were sudden deaths.
Is the reaction to study and find out what the right time is to die, a solution? These days on the internet, you have information about everything under the Sun. That does not mean we should bother about every new theory. In various hypothesis, there has been a description that humans live to the age of 100. It is a false hypothesis. A tiny percentage of people cross the century, world over. But on average the life expectancy is between 50 to 80 years globally. Ladies live a few years longer.
People who are fatalistic about life and generally have negative thinking may start thinking about death even at the age of 40! But what is the point? What is the point in thinking about something on which we don’t have any control? So instead, a good idea will be to think about enjoying life, in our golden period. At our age, for most of us, the family responsibilities are over. At this stage, we should be doing things that we could not do while we were busy in our careers.
Money, health and positive thinking are things that are most important, not necessarily in the same order. I am not discussing money because at this stage we know about our financial status. We must spend within our means, which anyway would be the right thing to do. Staying positive is very important because with negative thinking one would be looking to discuss and think more about death. Is it going to help? Someone might argue that it is practical to think about the future. But if you think that 75 is the right age to die, then are you going to commit suicide on 75th birthday? No, you are not. So, don’t bother about such milestones.
Since we do not know about our final day on the terra firma, the best course available is to try and maintain good health. There was some discussion on the group that if one becomes dependent or bed-ridden, then it is not worth living at all. Though I may tend to agree, I knew of someone who could not stand up or sit. He used to run a business. He had got his vehicle modified and would go to major customers like Tata Motors in his car. The officers would come downstairs and hold meetings in his vehicle; he had altered his car for lying down. To me, it’s about will power. In the golden age period, there may not be something to look forward to if you are bed-ridden so maybe …
How to maintain your health? Take exercise daily and go for walks in green areas. The greenness of trees uplifts your mood. Meet a few friends, get to know new people. After your walks, don’t go and have fried stuff like bhajiyas (but occasionally that too is ok!) If your health allows lifting weights, go ahead and do it, under the guidance of doctors.
There is plenty of evidence that weight training can help us age well. By our early 40s, most of us start losing muscle mass, at a rate of about 5 per cent a decade, with the decline often precipitating a long slide toward frailty and dependence. Older people who lift weights can slow or reverse that descent. In many experiments, older people who start to lift weights typically gain muscle mass and strength, as well as better mobility, mental sharpness and metabolic health. With this noticeable gain, there will be an improvement in mental health too! I do both walks and lift weights, and I can vouch for the same.
Then there are many other things which one can do. Besides the obvious suggestions like photography, reading, travel there could be many things that can be attempted. I had never thought that I would blog seriously; my initial attempts were amateurish and quite infrequent. The passion of blogging gives me real pleasure. Besides the joy of writing and publishing, friends call me and share their views with me; this sometimes leads to intellectual discussion and simulation.
Friends, worrying about future and death is of no use. We don’t have any control over death, blow your worries to smithereens. Sing and Dance, have fun. If you are lucky you may die “suddenly”. Yes, let us use English correctly. Very few deaths are sudden because we are unaware that someone is unwell! The slide below tells us about the advantages of not so sudden deaths!