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Battling old age blues

Vector illustration of an elderly woman vaccinated by a doctor and a queue of people waiting. Isolated on background  

While endowing senior citizens with a silvered halo of respectability, the ageing process inevitably renders them forgetful, absent-minded and myopic — frailties that hound them, often leaving them exasperated and at their wits’ end.

Helping to clear the dining table after breakfast recently, I dutifully picked up the table mats and the butter dish, depositing the former in the fridge and the latter on the shelf. My wife’s composure melted faster than the butter had! Another time, I slipped my visiting card into a post box while the letter to be posted remained in my shirt pocket. The other day, I started brushing my teeth only to discover that I was using a foul-tasting skin cream. Once, mistaking my toothpaste for shaving cream, I lathered my face with it. Why do toiletries come in identical-looking tubes?

The elderly misplace nothing more often than their spectacles. Then everyone at home is roped in to search for them. During one such search for my glasses, I flopped down on the sofa, tired, to feel something needling my fundament. Neatly wedged between the cushions, luckily undamaged, were my spectacles. I had all but crushed them.

Now with everyone wearing a mask, recognition has become tricky for the short-sighted senior. My physically distanced but friendly “Hi” directed at seemingly familiar faces sometimes elicit a stony and uncomprehending stare. Apparently, few like to be mistaken for someone else — unless, of course, that someone happens to be a celebrity!

I can still drive a car. I am no speedster, nor do I compete with those who are, having once seen a very sensible road-safety sign: “If you want to see 90, don’t look for it on the speedometer!”.

Then some time ago, while out trekking in the hills with friends, I learnt the hard way that agility is unquestionably age-linked. Required to jump across a gully, I gamely did so — only to end up at its slushy bottom, luckily sustaining nothing more serious than a badly bruised ego! Yet I’m inclined to endorse American statesman Bernard Baruch’s sunny observation, “To me, old age is always 15 years older than I am.”

gnettomunnar@rediffmail.com


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Printable version | Sep 22, 2021 11:21:23 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/battling-old-age-blues/article35513604.ece

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