dated December 5, 1953: Pleasures of Age

Editorial: The eminent British composer, Dr. Vaughan Williams, while opening a home for old people in his village the other day, dwelt on the joys of growing old. The old, he said, could take their pleasures `neat' since they had no awkward duties to perform. Even more importantly, age had fewer regrets: if something went wrong, it did not seem to matter as much, Dr. Williams said. However, one doubts if in a society which makes a fetish of work, even the very old can be wholly free of guilt-complex even as they laze in the morning sun, while the instincts of a lifetime urge them to be up and doing. Nor does it seem so easy to be free of regrets. If something on which you set your heart `gangs agley', it may be possible to mask the disappointment with oneself, philosophically reflecting, `It does not matter much, the shades of evening are falling fast.' But if others are involved _ it may be the family or even the State _ they may not be so patient and understanding. Especially in politics, if nothing succeeds like success, there is no charity towards failure. The popular leader has to keep perpetual vigil to protect his title. Yet, age has its compensations. By the mere act of surviving for long, one achieves ever-increasing authority. Every argument _ whether about celebrating a wedding or playing cricket _ can be confounded by saying that when you were young they were done ever so much better...

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