Saturday, April 28, 2007

Where the road ends...

Evening time, especially on those days when it gets cloudy for no reason at all, seems ideal to allow melancholy to set. And when you let your thoughts loose in such quaint, lonely moments, you are often astonished at the expanse of subjects your mind can brood on...

On many a silent evenings like described above, I pass by frail old men and women and my thoughts find themselves wandering about in many hither-to untreaded terrains...

Some grandpas and grandmas are bent horizontaly from the level of their waist, almost parallel to the street they are advancing on... And then there are old gentlemen who religiously go about their evening strolls irrespective of the unruly traffic and the general self-engrossed buzz of life around them...

On one walk back home, an old man walking in front of me simply fell head straight on the road. He started his efforts to get back to his feet as soon as his nose bit the dust. With some difficutly and a little (politely refused) help, he was standing up again, although a somewhat sheepish, helpless emotion now covered his face.



What was he thinking when he resumed his walk again, I wonder... What does it feel to get old? To know that you are at the end of your existence and to be remined of the fact time and again by such incidences when your faculties start failing you?


It was late one night when we were leaving a restaurant. While we were looking for a rickshaw on the deserted road, we saw this strange figure totally leaning on a bicycle, shakily covering small distances in patches- with small breaks to catch his breathe. He pulled his body and the bicycle in a slow, effortsome manner... When we asked if he was sick and needed some help, he happily started explaining that he was perfectly alright and he was returning from a friend's place after watching his favourite film. He then he described his love for cinema and proceeded to tell us where his residence was. The distance he was to travel to reach home was another three kilometers at the least...

Gloom was definitely not on the mind of this old man, his spirits were livelier and his passion more passionate than even many of my age. His enthusiasm more than made up for his failing body...

My superstitious mind could not help assigning a deeper meaning to this chance meeting with a zealous old man in the middle of night, whose spirit far outweighed the decline of his health. It was one of the best lessons of enthusiasm and independence that I have ever learnt.

The thought of age, rather, the thought process of the aged always leaves me intrigued. Old people walking on busy streets, lonely men and women gathered in parks, or those unfortunate aged who's family seems to have completely forgotten their existence- how do they feel about the prospect of approaching death...

It's a very sensitive topic, but then, don't many old people whom we communicate with have that characterisitic emotion of resignation equalling to something like 'dont discuss the future with me, I may not be there'. They may be the strongest and most talented bunch of people, yet something about their attitude is way too realistic and philosophical to ignore. Actually, it's scarry...

When my aaji laments how her memory has begun to fail her, a painful shudder passes my heart. On the rare moments when that strong lady talks about the future with a sign of resignation and uncertainty, the helplessness we mortals associate with death stares in my face...

Old age is a very sensitive mixture of emotions... An old person should be regarded as a treasure for any household. The experience which comes with years is beyond evaluation. Their health may be failing them and also be a matter of concern for others, but give attention to their thoughts and attitude and you may learn a few important tips to sail the business of living for your entire life. Such is their wisdom.

I only hope all homes which are blessed to have the company of the old realise the significance of what they have- and what through they may soon lose- the wisdom of age...

GauriGC

3 comments:

Chitra said...

Amazing work, Gauri. Keep it up! I really liked this one. The first paragraph, especially, is...so true!

Priyanka said...

extremely commendable, and so true! You need to feel it all to write so sensitively, and realistically!

Indeed a thought-provoking article, with a great message passed across..

Vikas said...

really nice writing....awesum..keep it up...