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Age is just a number. Really?

Age is just a number. Really?

All of us know that life is a one-way road. Interestingly, religions, saints, scholars, and even scientists keep wondering and arguing about the end of the road and where we are headed.

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Last Updated : 26 June 2024, 23:26 IST
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Age is just a number; we often hear this piece of wisdom. It is a patronising statement from the young towards the elderly. They are most welcome.

My first experience with ageing started with the grey matter. In my mid-twenties, at the top-most part of my head, there sprouted a tuft of grey. The embarrassing colour amidst the lush, dark landscape of my hair was probably hereditary. My mother had a large, rich knot of mostly grey hair. 

In my thirties, a couple of congenital problems showed up, leading to surgeries. Why did these things wait for 30-odd years to appear? Probably because they thought I was not old enough to handle them before that. 

In my forties, I required two glasses instead of one for each eye. The new ones were for reading. This beautiful arrangement of one lens sitting atop the other is called bifocals. I had to start nodding my head up and down, depending on whether I wanted to see or read. 

In my fifties, a new “condition,” which cannot be explained in a public forum, appeared. I was told there is a medicine for this, which worked for about four hours after ingestion. 

Dentists are a blessed lot. I have given dentists ample opportunity to hone their skills. I can easily compile an album of my dental X-rays. I am delighted that I still have a few teeth that haven’t undergone a root canal treatment or been adorned with a tooth crown.

The sixties get more interesting. My cataract surgery greatly diminished the quality of my vision. An inevitable side effect of age, I guess.

Recently, I had the opportunity to stay in a 4-star hotel abroad. Unconsciously, standing in front of a gigantic mirror, I momentarily wondered who the old man in front of me was. Oh, it was me! When did the creases on the forehead, dark circles around the eyes, wrinkles on the face, sagging skin on the neck, and a slight stoop of the shoulders happen? I realised that I had entered the deeper sanctum of old age—a troublesome number! I hope that the time for the hearing aid, walking stick, and other family of appliances is still some distance away.

All of us know that life is a one-way road. Interestingly, religions, saints, scholars, and even scientists keep wondering and arguing about the end of the road and where we are headed.

To get an answer, one needs to just look around. What happens to any organism—dry leaves falling from trees, plants, insects, animals, cockroaches, cats, and elephants—happens to us too. We go back to where we started, merging with nature—a state of agelessness. 

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