The art of ageing

At 25, I felt I was old. And the next day, I realised I was 25 years plus one day old.

Today, we are born. Tomorrow, our age has increased by a day. Everyone has to age as time passes by; it is inevitable. But ageing gracefully is an art in itself.

I never thought of my age till I was 25. Younger days were all for playing, and later years for learning and achievements. Our parents took care of us till we stood on our own feet. Then, our family life became a busy one — taking care of the spouses and later the children, their education and making them independent.

At 25, I felt I was old. And the next day, I was 25 years plus one day old. I realised then that I could turn the clock back. I reconciled to this fact and told myself never to think of my age, but spend my years usefully.

The first step to towards that end was self-improvement. I educated myself in various ways. First was college education. Then, it was adjusting to the new house I entered. After setting up my house, I indulged in cooking, experimenting on new dishes, and pleasing the family. Of course, keeping the house clean and the like were all part of the game. As the family expanded, my duties increased. Educating the children and grooming them were hectic but interesting.

When the grandchildren came, it was time to keep them entertained with moral stories. I once narrated Rama’s story — how he obeyed his father, and went to the forest for 14 years, not hesitating a bit, though he had been brought up in luxury. My grandson immediately said, “Grandma, if you ask me to go to the forest, I am ready to go at once. Tell me now.” What could I say? I just laughed.

After some time, I had to go to the kitchen to prepare rotis. My grandson followed me and observed how I was rolling the dough round. He asked me whether I was using a compass to make it a perfect circle! He offered to try, and said, “Grandma, why does my rolling the dough make it geographical like the map of England and France?” “Practice makes a man perfect, my boy,” I told him.

Once I asked my grandson what he would like for breakfast. He replied, “Prepare homoeopathicupma, grandma.” It was a moment before I understood thta he meant ‘sago upma.’ After breakfast, I asked another of my grandsons to have a bath and come for pooja. When he came, I asked him to recite some slokas and do namaskaram to god, as usual. But, to my amusement, he said, “God, you must be getting bored to hear the same slokas everyday. Today you will be spared of this boredom.” I was amazed!

Children and grandchildren make our lives lively. And as long as the husband and wife are together, life is busy too. But a day comes when one of them is left alone. A phase of ill-health also follows. However, we have to accept all these stages of life with fortitude and continue to be happy. As Jules Renard said, “It is not how old you are, but how you are old.”
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