I have shared a poem below that I read on WhatsApp. The poet talks of when one should accept that a person has reached old age. The poem has many lines giving hints to know when one has become old. My counter lines against each line are written in Red.
*केंव्हा समजाव …..?*
*कि, आपल वय झालय*
का समजावं की वय झालयं!
★ सकाळी गजर होण्याआधी जाग आली की समजाव ….
झोप झाली आहे
★ सांगीतलेल्या गोष्टींचा काही तासात विसर पडला की. समजाव…
त्या महत्वाच्या नव्हत्या
★ आवाज, गोंगाट याचा त्रास व्हायला लागला की समजाव ……
ऐकण्याचा आजार नाही
★ घरातील व्यक्ती वेळेवर न आल्यावर तगमग झाली की समजाव …..
त्या व्यक्तीचा फोन खराब आहे
★ रस्त्यावरील वाहनांच्या horn चा त्रास व्हायला लागला की समजाव …..
लोक सुधारणार नाहीत
★ शेजारुन वाहन जोरात गेल्यावर त्याचा वेग आणि आवाज यामुळे भितीने कंपने निर्माण झाली की समजाव …..
की आपण मधुन चालत आहोत.
★ एकच गोष्ट परत परत सांगायला लागलो की समजाव …..
समोरचा लक्श देत नाही
★ दुपारी डोळा लागल्यावरही मी जागाच होतो असे वाटले की समजाव …..
की अजुन झोपायला हरकत नाही
★ रस्ता ओलांडताना पाय थोडे थबकायला लागले की समजाव …..
ट्राफ़िक जास्त आहे
★ ओळखीच्या चेहऱ्याचे नांव पटकन आठवले नाही की समजाव …..
ती व्यक्ती बर्याच दिवसात भेटली नाही
★ बाहेरच्या जेवणापेक्षा घरची पोळी भाजी आवडु लागली की समजाव …..
घरचं जेवण बाहेरच्या जेवणा इतकं चांगल असतं.
★ ऊठतांना,बसतांना हात गुडघ्यावर आणि तोंडात देवाचे नांव आले की समजाव …..
दारू जास्त झाली आहे
★ जेव्हा मुल म्हणतात बाबा तुम्ही थांबा,जरा शांत व्हा मी बघतो की समजावे …..
अखेर मुलगा कामाला लागला
★ बँकेत गेल्यावर कोणीतरी हळूच “काका जरा पेन देता का?” असे म्हणाले की समजाव की आपल वय झालय …..
मागे वळून म्हणा काही म्हणालात?
Since the poem is in Marathi, I have tried to explain my thinking in English, about some of those lines.
Above lines are from a poem being shared on various WhatsApp groups where I am a member. The group members are typically educated, and their age group is around 70! The gist of the poem is how one understands that one has become old. One is born, growing up, getting old, retiring and passing are the phases of one’s life. One needs to celebrate all the aspects or stages through which we pass. Happy and sad are events and not phases. But this poem talks about when someone can know that the person has become old, sadly.
It appears that generations before our generation lived a life which was quite different than today’s life. Most of the changes that have taken place have happened in the last ten to fifteen years. Our generation calls this golden period. Depending on finances available and the health condition, people do many things which they could not do during their working days. Along with this, technology has brought many old and long lost friends back to our fold. Those who embrace the new technology and newer way of life are happy during the golden phase of life.
When you have a happy phase in your life, should you be embracing the thought process of getting old by saying, “Oh, I am getting old”! Yes, biologically nothing has changed; people become old, at some stage, they fall sick, and in the end, they merge with the nature. As I have already said, the phase is never sad or unhappy, but the events can be sad or happy. I will share my thoughts on some of the lines of the poet. I have written my say on each of the point raised by the poet, in Marathi above.
The first line says, “When should I recognise I have become old”? My say is “why should we bother about what age we are?” That is precisely my point. How does it matter what age we have reached? Things change biologically, but there need not be changes in our rational thinking. Our mood changes with events in life but it happens in every phase of life! Mood changes should not be correlated with old age.
Another line says, if you forget things which you were told in a few hours, then you should recognise that you have become old. If it is humour, then my sense of humour is different. From my younger days, I tend not to remember things if they are not necessary! It is a practical way of ignoring unimportant things. Connecting the ignoring of small stuff to age is not correct.
A family member has not reached home on time, one’s anxiety indictaes old age. Well, I don’t agree here too! In today’s traffic, it can happen, the cell phone may be discharged. If someone’s nature is anxious, then that person would be worried at any age, young or old!
The poet says, “When one starts repeating things again and again! Consider that you have become old.” I know two people very close to me, who have been repeatings things again and again since their 30’s.
Most of the lines written by the poet are in a similar vein. If this happens, if that happens, consider you are old! This thought process has been the result of history when old age was a tough period of life. It was a period in olden times when there was not much to do! Sometimes when older people were seen enjoying life, others were surprised, they were alarmed. In today’s times, people make new friends, new friends of different sex too. Being friends of different sexes, even today is looked at as a surprise. But people at old age have realised that they need friends even at an older age. And why not? The old couples stay “alone” as families have become nuclear and are spread all over the world.
We see some couples getting married at “old age” when their respective spouses have passed. Is this taboo? At one stage widow marriage or marriages by divorcees was also not acceptable in the society. I think that was wrong. What is wrong in hoping to have companionship? Life’s basic needs of having friendship, fellowship do not change as one’s age increases. Is it something wrong if an “old man” loves to watch Tom & Jerry cartoons? Is it wrong if an “old lady” goes out with friends for ice cream?
Friends, I urge of all you to accept that biological age increases. But to hyphenate or connect old age with some minor changes in one’s faculties is wrong! You cannot call someone old because you see white hair; you may see someone with hearing slightly impaired. They are not old. Someone may call you “Kaka or Uncle” does not mean that you are old. It is the Indian way of respecting the people older than you. In India, a thirty year old or a twenty year will not call me Pramod. I will be called Pramod uncle. That has nothing to do with old age, it has to do with our culture!
Those who have flair for writing, should try and write about positive things in life! I have read comments from people on the poem above. Most liked the thought process and contents of the poem. My question to all is why not come out of the old ways of “enjoying” the sadness. Post independence there was a thought process in India. Rich were supposedly weak and poor were strong as they could withstand tough life. This was glorifying the poverty. Simliarly, I feel that such poems suggest to us to accept that things are going to become tough and sad as we grow old! Biologically becoming old should be accepted as a fact of life. But start touting the golden period of life, enjoy, have fun and never say, “Oh! I have become old”! Changes in body faculties be damned!