Wednesday, July 3, 2013

86 going on 25

 (Dear readers, this blog was written a few years before my grandfather passed away)

This piece is dedicated to my grand dad (86) who has never failed to amaze and insipre me. I have often wondered how it feels to be 86……to know that you have at best a few years left in front of you. To know that Yamraj is fast catching up with you and that he is giving you strong hints about his next move.... the failing physical strength, the failing eyesight, the wobbly walk....

My grandad is actually a fairly healthy man at 86. He has no serious health problems like most of his counterpart octogenarians. He just shows normal signs of ageing. But thats not just a coincidence. Thats exactly the reason I am dedicating this blog to him! He is probably the only person I have met who has genuinely combated age ... in a mental psychological sense! Actually in every sense! This man is truly remarkable! He still takes immense pleasure in watching the WWF wresting matches.... (The Undertaker... his fav hero) , loves to track the stock market , thrives on discussing burning economic, political , social and cultural issues…loves travelling even at this age, particularly to the hills.. all this, besides a passion for carnatic music, afternoon soaps on TV, his evening whiskey, buying new gadgets for his loving wife and of course his constant fight against age.. Yes! he loves the fight... loves to keep himself fit and healthy... goes for regular walks... loves to have vitamins, fruits and veggies... keeps to a regular eating schedule... WOW.... Wonder whether i can manage all this when I am 86 (rather IF I become 86!)

Most of the ‘70 and above’ people i have met have shown signs not only of physical ageing but also of a 'failure' attitude to life... more than the physical troubles , the setting in of a 'give up' mode is what seems to be charecteristic. "What to do... my age is such!"… "Won't make a difference even if i go to the doc for that knee pain... anyway my end is nearing"..... typical statements one hears. I guess, the fact that they are above 70 looms large and threatens everything they dare to do or think. Sometimes I feel it really might help to make these people believe (through some breakthrough psychiatry technique) that they are actually not seventy but just 45 and see what happens.... I have a strong hunch that the attitude will change dramatically..

Anyway coming back to my grand dad... there are pearls of wisdom he has imparted to all those who have been curious to know the secret of his vitality and will to live.... including me . And sure enough I found what he said extremely inspiring. In fact it has made me realise that its a shame to compain about anything at 26 when you have someone like him around... Seriously! Conversations with him have both inspired me and put me to shame.

Some intersting guidelines to life (courtesy Mr. N. Krishnamoorthy) from the many conversations I have had with him:

1. Age is truly in the mind.... you think youre old and ailing and no one is helping you? …. Then you most definitely are and no one will! So think young and be completely dependent but only on yourself.

2. Almost all physical ailments stem from a conscious or subconscious mental state. So watch out for what you think.

3. Never make people your occupation after a certain age. It is certain to depress you and youre always going to feel people don't care enough and do enough. (even if thats not true)

4. Keep healthy. Eat at regular hours... and eat healthy. If you have an ailment take care. Don't give up and say "I am already at the dead end of life so what the heck. That extra sweet is not going to make me any sicker than I am now".

5. Always be positively occupied.. read a lot and never stop learning. The desire to learn is the strongest motivation to live.

6. The most important lesson in life is to be able to be accepting of life in all its glory and 'un'- glory. Life is never good or bad. Its just a bunch of experiences that you keep learning from. Enjoy the journey.

7. Love what you do and do what you love. This is true right from the smallest things you do in your day to the biggest things you do in life. It applies to people of all ages.

8. Have no regrets. Don't miss doing or not doing anything that you might regret on your deathbed. Take risks. A man who doesn't take risks will never see life in its full splendour. Actually you can't call anything a risk. No matter what you lose, a lesson is always there to learn.
9. Don't make any problem the centre of your attention. No problem deserves it.

10. Make lots of friends and acquaintances. Speak to every person you meet, with earnestness. You have things to learn even from your grocery walla.

11. Live life in moderation with respect to food and emotions... extremes of both are bad.

12. Keep your promises and don't make any if you know you can't keep them. Do as much good as you can to people in need.. even from a practical standpoint you never know when you’ll need them.

13 And play the game of life as a participant not as a contestant. That way you'll never lose.

Well..... the years I have spent talking to my grandad has truly insipred me. I can see from his example that the most powerful influence in your life is you and no one and nothing else. Simple but profound isn't it?

Reminds me of a quote by Will Smith in the latest RD:

"Too many people spend the money they haven't earned, to buy things they don't want, to impress people they don't like" ... :) :) :)

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