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The fading romance of ageing

Old age woman walking with the support of a stick.Focus on hand holding a stick

Old age woman walking with the support of a stick.Focus on hand holding a stick  

Time takes a painful turn and we go back to the same line over and over

It is the young who romanticise ageing. In the middle of our cares, aspirations, ambitions, flagging careers, tiresome bosses and demanding families, in short the general deadly pace of our lives, we envy the old who have seen it all, done it all and called it a day.

We long for the day when we can ride into the golden sunset, hang up our boots, put up our feet and let down our hair, for a life of peace and tranquillity and the happy hereafter.

The day we can all reminisce, become raconteurs and regale young audiences. Poet Robert Browning said, “Grow old along with me/ the best is yet to be/ the last of life for which the first was made”. We look forward to the days when we grow out of toddler’s tantrums and teenage angst, when we can have a quiet conversation with the spouse or a phone conversation with a sibling or a tete-a-tete with an old friend, without the pressure cooker whistling for immediate attention.

Rosy beginning

When at last we have arrived, the beginning is indeed rosy. The book shelf looks at you seductively with the unread books and all the time in the world to read, reflect and age gracefully. All the time in the world for loved ones punctuated by hot cups of tea and mouth-watering snacks. All the time in the world to set right those closets overflowing with clothes, and arrange them in neat stacks, easy to locate and no longer an eyesore. All the time in the world to look out of that window and nod to the hibiscus, to watch the sunset and the moonrise. All the time in the world to get creative with that splash of colour or the poem that needs to find utterance.

Then unfortunately time takes a painful turn with joints creaking and we go back with dipping concentration to the same line in the book over and over. The near and the dear are busy in the joys and travails of their lives, and the spectre of loneliness looms large with mild blues that can lead to depression and we long for the time we lived a crowded life blissfully unconscious of the approaching “deadline”.

We long once again for the shrill voices of children, the footfall of people who cared, the arguments with the spouse about a forgotten grocery list, the endless meetings, the timelines to be adhered to and the stream of files to be attended to.

sudhadevi_nayak@yahoo.com

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Printable version | Jul 10, 2020 12:07:52 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/the-fading-romance-of-ageing/article31876213.ece

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