If you have a problem, fix it. But train yourself not to worry, worry fixes nothing. - Ernest Hemingway

Friday, 25 May 2012

Growing young

I’ve been feeling younger since I turned sixty. And this is not another glib sentence I’ve made up as an opening line for a work of fiction. It’s a bare, unadorned fact. But why do I feel young when I ought to feel oldish? I had been pondering over this riddle for some time, and this morning, the answer flashed before me while I was crossing the grey, utterly lonely no-man’s land between sleep and wakefulness.

Turning sixty means you have attained the socially accepted retirement age in our country. Once you have crossed the magic line, even if you don’t have a steady job like yours truly, your friends no longer gives you a miss because you are “unemployed”. No one looks down upon you because your picture never came on Page 3 of any newspaper. Rather, people think that somehow, you have earned your right to sit back and relax under the sun. In other words, the society writes you off as a stick-in-the-mud oldie and stops expecting anything from you. And that, Dear Reader, is the biggest advantage you gain after toiling hard for six decades. I reckon it makes you feel good!

The lack of societal expectancy is reflected in you too. You stop bothering about many things that you worried about earlier. You realise that you didn’t really have to please your boss, if you still had one. Or your spouse, for that matter. If you managed to reach this stage with your wife still being your wife, both of you would be so utterly inter-dependent that you would have realised there was no escape. And you had better accept the truth. Keep fighting, but make merry too, until the winter breeze starts blowing in.

Turning sixty also means you pay less on income tax and for boarding trains. But those are minor benefits. The real thing is that you are spared of the challenges of handling the latest fancy gadget that allows you to kiss someone on the other side of the planet. Even if you had a Facebook account, you wouldn’t really know what to do with it. And you wonder to what use you could put the information where Stefanie Graff or Sreetama Guha partied last night.

Being sixty means you still send those old-fashioned emails and drink your beer from a mug. And you don’t give a damn if it was politically incorrect! If this is not freedom, what is?
Monday, 30 April 2012 / Kolkata


  1. A lovely piece.Very inspiring .You are lucky that you feel this way. I have come across many people who feel completely lost at this stage of life or are too burdened with a failing body.I am talking about ordinary mortals not blessed with any special talents to keep them going

  2. Congratulations, Jethu, for the super-human-ish hard toiling you gave your six decades.
    Congrats, Jethu, for the freedom that you've ah-finally rightly earned.
    Congos, Jethu, also for the youth of the 20-somethings you're feeling in your bones at your 60-something. :)


  3. No, Indrani, nothing special .... If ever there was an ordinary mortal, it is me. And thanks, Sayantani. I have been singularly lucky .... That is about all.

  4. Belated birthday wishes. I so well understand how it feels. I feel so much better at 34(turned on May 7th)than i felt at 16 or 20. Now i dont want to be a rockstar, nor do i want my posters to don every billboard in every town in India. All i want is peace, spend the rest of my short life as happy as possible , and return to being part of the Universe, eternally. cant wait to be 60. I am sure life will be so much more enjoyable minus all that you mentioned. Take care.

  5. Hmm, did my comment just vanish into nowhere? I just wished you a belated birthday, and i am sure life is much more fun minus all that you mentioned( I have become quite lazy oflate). Warm greeting. Take care.

  6. Sorry for the delay in publishing your comments, Manoj. I didn't log on for a day. I am delighted that my little piece -- honestly, I thought it was rather inconsequential -- has touched a few chords. Welcome to the Club of People Who Don't Believe in Running Anymore ... Let's set aside some time to look at the sky above and wildflowers below.


I will be happy to read your views, approving or otherwise. Please feel free to speak your mind. Let me add that it might take a day or two for your comments to get published.