Growing Old and even Older
Growing old is a funny thing. When you are young, all that you could think of is how soon you can grow up. Once you do, all you think of is, how much you want to stop aging, and even regressing.
I always thought that life peaks when you are 25. Not only that it is such a nice number, but all the books I read lead me to believe that it was the age. Everything seems to happen at the same time.
If you are a mathematician, you are supposed to do your best work in your 20’s. You pretty have to figure out where you are ending up — a doctor, a lawyer, an engineer, a bungee jumping instructor — by that age. You are worried about your future; you are worried about making the right choices. Amidst all that, you find it is easy to fall in love — as easy as leaves falling in fall season. Of course, you fall and fall again.
Once you trade your youth for more stability, a mortgage, couple of kids, cars (or perhaps even that van) in the garage, you still cling to youth. You think you can go back and see it better next time. May be this time, you live better. Make all the right choices. Smile at the right people. Take courage to say hello across the aisles. Read that book before the exams, not after it. The personalized redemption is vaguely back of your mind …
Until one day, you go to a party. You are urbane. You are witty. You are suave. You look dashing. You are life-of-the-party in the mixed company. Of course, inevitably, a pretty young thing calls you “uncle”.
You start noticing these things immediately. You are no longer dangerous. Your “harmless” flirtations are really harmless. You are really a lovable uncle, for God’s sake.
You still do not want to concede. You hang out with young people. You think you are connecting with them, talking about Missamma. But, then they are talking about the one with Bhoomika. You still think SPB is a recent upstart. For them, he is a has-been.
Eventually, people start respecting you. They say that they have to learn things from you. That pretty much means your time is up. You hang up those boots and get back home. Sit on a porch and watch the sunrises and sunsets. Spin your yarns to little children, that start with “in my days”.
The zig is up, mister! You are not merely growing old — you are old!
* * *
I grow old, I grow old,
I wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.
* * *
The biggest fear of losing youth is growing old. What happens to us as we grow old? Will it be like as vEdula said “dinammulu paraspara pratidhwanammulu kaaga” (దినమ్ములు పరస్పర ప్రతిధ్వనమ్ములు కాగ)? Do we spend time thinking of the past glories? Does each fading memory gets replaced with a fantasy memory? Perhaps each remembered glance becomes a full-fledged love story, unredeemed, unrequited, and eternally re-lived.
When I get there, I will tell you.
PS: The only place perhaps I will feel younger is in the company of older people. That is why I am hanging out on RB!
This article is originally sent here. One response it got is by Lyla:
Rama Rama! Heaven forbid!
Ramarao can be singular,
peculiar: he can be pedantic
semantic and romantic
eccentric, ecelectic and electric
poetic and at times lunatic
But, Ramarao Avuncular
Is not in the vernacular!
With regards, to Ramarao Kanneganti,