Who wants to get bloody old?


Last twenty years have changed this world so much that some of my contemporaries get overwhelmed. There are new technologies, new processes; different thinking is rapidly barging into our lives. On top of that, new buzzwords and new methods of communication are giving run for money to the older generation. Millennial is one word I often read these days. It means a person reaching young adulthood in the early 21st century. Such individuals have grown up with all new things. They are as comfortable with new ideas as we were with bullock carts, dial-up phones, using a notebook and pen for writing and yes, reading books too!


But to me, we the people in the 7th decade of life are also millennials of the new world. Don’t worry! I know what I am talking, and my grey cells are active. The golden period of our lives is the time in our lives when we have time on hand; we have enough money (everybody’s definition of enough is different!). The situation is the result of one’s children settling down, and you are now a free bird! The real millennials are comfortable with new things in life but we millennials are comfortable with life itself. We don’t understand some new things; we don’t care. We have no worry about anything in this world. Who is bothered about death when there are so many things to do?

The traditional writings are treaties that say that Vanaprastha means “one who gives up worldly life”. It is also a concept in Hindu traditions, representing the third of four ashramas of human life, the other three being Brahmacharya, Grihastha and Sannyasa. Vanaprastha is part of the Vedic ashram system, which starts when a person hands over household responsibilities to the next generation, takes an advisory role, and gradually withdraws from the world.

Till handling of responsibilities to the next generation is fine by me. But what is the need for Vanaprastha? In olden times, I am not sure how long people lived, on average. Plus, until as recently as late as fifty years back, there was nothing to do in the evening of one’s life; the real-life evening ended with the Sunset. Now our evening begins with the Sunset! Though the indication to take advisory role and withdrawal from life is suggested, to me it’s a crappy piece of advice. But now we the new millennials are too busy doing and planning different things. Who has time to get old?

Higher life expectancy, better health adds to the change in the thought process. We want to go and see Raigad and Pratap gad. We want to go and see Machu Picchu and go and watch Wimbledon finals. We want to take a tour to see the whales and then go and see the midnight Sun. The list is unending; the bucket list keeps on getting longer. It was no surprise to see Charulata Patel on TV, all of 87 years old, enjoying the India-Pakistan world-cup cricket match. A ninety-nine-year-old lady, who was a wheelchair user, was enjoying all alone when we took Alaska cruise. There are examples galore, and the new millennials get more and more encouraged to try and do new things. See new places, get into new hobbies. Some are learning to play the organ and others are enjoying painting. I have joined a creative writing online course conducted by Oxford University.

During student life, humans are busy getting educated and later they are busy working and raising a family. Everybody had hidden from us what joy is waiting for us in our golden period. Some of us are unfortunate and remain unwell; sometimes, they are bedridden. But this can happen at a young age too! There are no writings; there are no treaties written on how to enjoy the golden period, which in conventional language is called old age. Why has this happened? It is simple. The golden age concept hardly existed until recently.

All the fun from college days and professional times are relived by the oldies. Now we do it without feeling any guilt. I am sure that we will soon have books and article deluge on this subject. At 9 am, take your breakfast and suddenly decide that you want to go and see a movie starring Dev Anand, Nargis, Waheeda or whoever. Sit in your car or Riksha, call an Uber and go the multiplex and see the 9.30 am movie. In the meanwhile, send a WhatsApp message to a few more friends and check if they can join you for an Idli-Dosa or a thali. Why not brunch at the Marriot? You have not had that famous missal-pav for some time, have it. Oh, don’t forget to end with the latest craze of Yevale Chai!

Do I want to become old? Do I feel old? Do I have to grow old? The answer to all the questions is no! The simple reason is I don’t have time to become old in the sense of older thinking. That biologically we are growing older is a fact of life, but that does not mean that we must advertise it, we don’t have to show it. One important aspect we forget about the ladies. They are years past their menopause, and their life must be very comfortable. Handling “monthly issues” during work and travel was never a joke for the ladies. It is real freedom for them.

What stupid things you will have to bear with other than some chronic diseases? Maybe you may have to wear some thick glasses, but with current developments in eye surgeries, you may get back the 20/20 eyesight. The world again looks brighter, and you can look at the lovely ladies without staring at them! You can let the time pass by, the way you want! You can wear some stupid clothes or hats and get away with it. People will just murmur, he has become old! I forgot one thing, buy yourself a fancy walking stick!

Would you want to go to a bar where there is loud music? You usually would avoid but now who cares? Don’t take your hearing aid with you! Live the life you want to live! Don’t bother about wasting your time; you have enough time on hand!

All the literature, all the wisdom always did not talk about the benefits of old age! It is because such things never were known to people, and many things did not even exist. The best sign of ageing, though, is that you are still you and people will accept you as you are! If they don’t, who cares?

Old or New? What’s your view?

This is the video of the Marathi song “Ghei Chand Makarand”, sung by Rahul Deshpande and Shankar Mahadevan.

This is the same song, sung by Mahesh Kale in fusion format. Mahesh is a US based Marathi singer who likes to experiment. This video has shown problem sometimes while displaying, maybe due to copyrights issue, so please bear with me. If you want, I can mail to you the link for private viewing. Or you may try this link


It all started with my forwarding the video by Mahesh Kale, singing a famous Natya Geet, “Ghei Chand Makarand” in a new fusion format on a Whats App group. Friends on the group are my classmates, all around 70! The original song was sung by Veteran Singer Late Vasantrao Deshpande. He had a fantastic style and his repertoire was full of many variations, he could switch to a new variation at will! He was incomparable. When someone else sang this song, it was always compared with the Master. When the Mahesh Kale video of this song was forwarded by me, people pounced on me and various comments were made starting from how this can be compared with Vasantrao, to people who are proud of their lack of knowledge of the language Marathi are bound to make such a mess! In between, my friends forgot that there are various ways of doing same  things including singing and composing of songs.

The comparison of old and new has always been there and old school folks, no pun intended, are always critical of new ways. There are two songs from Hindi movies. The wordings of the two songs are different but mean almost the same. One song is sung  sensuously, while the other one sung in a raunchy fashion.

First song “Ankhon mein kya ji”, a song from film “Nau Do Gyara”, a 1957 movie.

What do I visualize in the eyes 

Oh! I see a silver cloud 

What do you see in the cloud 

Oh! I can visualize a flying stole in those eyes 

I see sensuous flurry under the flying stole!  

Second song is “Choli ke piche kya hai”, a song from film “Khalnayak”, a 1993 movie.

What is that I observe underneath your blouse 

What is that I view underneath your stole 

Oh! I have my heart beating below my blouse 

I have heart underneath my stole! 

In the first song the lyricist has mentioned flurry of what? Probably he is discretely mentioning about the flurry due movement of the breasts! This is written in a beautiful poetical way. In the second song the lyricist talks about the heart which is hiding behind the blouse and the stole! If we take the literal meaning of the of the song plus the way the songs are sung, first song hints at physical attributes whereas in the second song he is talking the ultimate symbol of love, the heart! But raunchy style of the second song makes it more matter of fact whereas in the first song it becomes lyrical poetry!  36 years had made the difference in expressing things differently, though it is about fluttering heart.

Both songs apparently suit the situation in the movie and though they mean the same thing, these songs should be looked at, independently. My friends from the Whats App group, would not like what I write or talk in this argument. How unpolite it is, to even discuss a raunchy song? How can you compare it with the sensuous song?

What is right and what is wrong? Should people stick to their “during our time argument” or should people be mature enough to enjoy whatever is good irrespective of the time line of that song or a story, movie or a drama. Should we say that “Gone with the Wind” was better than “Godfather”? These are movies of two different genres and time frames. The story telling methods, filming techniques, music and such attributes were different in those time periods. But these both were independently very good movies!  “Gone with the Wind” was a period drama from 100 years before in Civil War times and released in 1940; “Godfather” was released in 1972 and is story about Mafia wars of the decade of 1940.

“Guide” was a Hindi movie from 60’s of last century, “Kabhi Alvida Na Kehana” was a movie from current century. Both movies had issue of marital discord handled differently. Both films had good story, actors, songs, presentation. In Guide shortfall of Devanand’s acting was more than made up by Waheeda’s acting and dancing. Kabhi Alvida Na Kehana was a modern movie set in New york. There was good acting, songs and stories with excellent presentation. What is the point in saying oh, I can’t see the other movie. Someone will say it is too modern, too bold; other will say oh, its old style of acting and story-telling. These differences will be there but in their own way these were good movies, liked by audiences of those times.

When Mahesh Kale’s song was being discussed, people went to the extent of talking about Goddess Saraswati. Hindu Goddess of knowledge, music. To me song is a song is a song. And the same thing is about movies, literature, short stories, dramas and other art forms. These have developed over a period and humans create these art forms to enjoy life. A person who is not trained about certain type of classical singing, and may not have depth of knowledge that scholars have. That does not mean that the person can not experiment. Quality of everything improves only when different things are tried.

Chefs make superb food by trying new ways of doing things. They make our experience more enjoyable by trying out different spices, mixing different condiments, making some dish hot or sweet. Some dish may be sour, another maybe pungent. A few years back we stayed in a tree resort in Australia. We went out for a vegetarian dinner. We were very much in interior of Australian east coast. The Italian joint served us a dish made of mashed sweet potatoes, some beans, some fruit and condiments which were unknown to us. The end result was simply amazing. If we had not tried this, we may have ended up eating a burger.

I always feel that as we grow older, we are actually better off. We have the advantage having seen so many different things, compared to younger generation. Our generation has seen bullock carts, to 5G internet. Why not talk of bullock carts? It had its own charm but why not enjoy the 5 G internet. Please compare old and new stuff. You can always say that compared to walking, traveling by bullock cart was like 2G or 3G. Have fun and enjoy what is better; don’t say this new thing is bad. New thing is superb for young folks. Old things were superb for us. Our parents also used talk of Sehgal songs while we discussed Kishor Kumar! I honestly tell you, I used to enjoy Sehgal songs every day at 8 am on radio Ceylon!

Happiness Mantra!

The world is full of good things and bad things. Happy things and sad things. To me happiness and sadness are the two sides of the same coin, our life. If there were only one status in life, we would not have known the difference. Change of status is what shifts our mood from sadness to happiness. Sad or Happy status is a state of mind. There are some absolute things when anybody can be sad or some events make everybody happy. Death in family makes you sad and birth in a family makes you happy. Just change the lens through which you look at the world and you will find this state changes. World over, we have terrorist situation. But terrorist for you is a martyr to someone else. One group will be elated due to death of a terrorist and the other will be saddened due to death of a martyr. Two sides of the coin?

To me easiest way to remain happy is to switch mentally to the age group in which you are surrounded. Be a child around children, be a young man when with young people, understand tough life of hot shot busy executives who lead a hectic life. At my age we have been there and done that! We are enjoying our golden period of life. But that does not mean that we meet people our age all the time. When with younger people try to understand their way of life; probably in our times life was not that hectic, it was not so much connected. Enjoy  the different ways these people do things today. 

Young kids have their own way of understanding and imagining things. When I am with my granddaughter, I am transformed mentally to her age. She likes to listen to a new story every time. It can be about a ceiling fan, it can be about her imaginary younger sister, it can be about my childhood. I twist the stories in any which way, there can be pink snake or demon with blue T shirt, that’s me. The other day, I had some meeting in Tata Motors and I was getting ready to go. For the first time, she had seen me wearing a suit and a Tie. She was continuously asking me about the same and whatever I told her, she was not happy. Just as I was about to leave she said, “Grandpa, I know why you are wearing these clothes! You are taking part in a fancy dress competition!” When she was told that someone’s dog had to be treated for illness she asked,” Was the doctor also a doggy?” You get what I mean? Behave like kids when you are with them, you will be really happy. Enjoy their imagination, have fun with their thought process. That’s a path to happiness.  

If you go are in the group of young adults, their discussions and thoughts will be about new devices, selfies, RAM and what not. (Yes, they talk about girls too!) Try to be update with these things. Then you can have fun in this group too! Take some selfies with them! Maybe make crooked faces like these guys do! Be part of them! You may not like it initially but let me assure you, once you get to know their ways, there can only be fun. Once they are comfortable with you, they will ask you about old stuff. There are many things they don’t know anything about! Share with them. Be young at heart, be happy!  

You may have memories, you may have future plans which are known fashionably as bucket list! They will give you some happiness. But why bother about these things when you have so many things in front of you, in the PRESENT! Forget the past, don’t bother about future, enjoy the present. You are sitting with your friends, you are enjoying a book, you are enjoying a movie, your all-time favorite, Guide! Guide will bring your heart throb of college days, Waheeda in front of you. Enjoy it. There are trees, there are rivers, there is a lecture series going on, attend it. There is a rose show, don’t miss it. Once in a while go out and binge on your favorite Gulab Jamun, though you are not supposed to eat them due to diabetes! Become a child, cheat on food once in a while!  

There are many things which you must do or learn to ignore. Simply don’t bother about who thinks what about you. Happy people don’t let negativity of other people affect them. Oh, come on! Always be friendly and grateful, remove that frown! Keeping a smile on your face does not cost you money and say thank you to everyone who helps you a bit! Don’t take people for granted and thank people genuinely from the bottom of your heart! You let the infectious disease of smile to spread where ever you can, people will love you for that! Smile is something that can achieved in a group of people as our moods depend on people around us, with whom we spend most of our time. Be a part of smiling gang.

Every situation has two sides! Be blind to negative aspect of it! Stay positive in every situation. If there are more negatives, don’t lose heart! God has created that negative experience for you to remain a student, all through your life! Learn from it. Don’t become compulsive or obsessive personality. In life nothing is perfect. Even the beautiful Moon has its dark spots! You will find happiness easily when you learn to let go! Happy people know how to control their yearning for perfection. They are proud of what they have achieved. Not all can be Sachin Tendular, you can be a Dravid or a Ganguly too! For that matter you can be Amol Muzumdar or Paddy Shivalkar too! One of the very high ranking players who never played a test match for India!

Contribute to the world, at least to your surroundings. Try and help some needy people. Smile at some strangers. If a car stops to let you go, make thumbs up signal and smile! Keep on learning things, learn to use new gadgets! I know of an eighty-year lady, who learnt to use online banking! Taking interest in new things gives you energy and more meaning in life! 

Do social work, share your life’s experiences and knowledge with needy people! I have only written about trying to be happy with your own behavior, your approach to life! I am not even discussing many things you can do, for which you never got time while working! Don’t ever feel that you have become old. I learnt this in last few years. When we went for the Alaska cruise sometime back, there was a 99-year-old lady who was traveling alone! Then last year during our tour round the Alps, there was an 85-year-old person, traveling alone. There was a person who needed to carry his oxygen generation system with him all the time, was also on the cruise. He took local excursions too. Disability, age are a state of mind! These people made it look like their physical limitations did not exist.  

Friends be happy, be cheerful, keep smiling. It is easy to crib, it is easy rue lost opportunities. To be happy in life, needs to have positivity in you. I have seen people with financial difficulties, all their life, selling through, happily. Money helps but it’s not the only thing.  Happiness is infectious, spread it; the happiness disease always starts in a small way, but it can become bigger and bigger, if you allow it to spread. Start small but never stop being happy!