Blog post

The Aging Timeline – Hill Post

My timeline, unlike Mr. Amit Shah’s, is quite simple and transparent: I was born in December 1950, I joined the IAS in 1975 (someone had to), I pledged my faith ( and ruined Neerja’s life, according to her mother) in January 1977, retired in December 2010, and am therefore a senior citizen, aka The Walking Dead. I’m sure from the sometimes confusing comments I get on my blog that I’m in good company. But (and this is the difference between me and Mr. Shah) I have no desire to overthrow elected governments and am happy with my lot, and my colleague Johnnie Walkers should be too.

Look at it this way, and be grateful, all you ghosts who walk the Phantom Trail: you were just one of millions of sperm and you made it! We are one of the lucky 8 out of 100 people who live to be 60. And so, even if Mrs. Sitharaman (the-one-who-does-not-eat-onions) has withdrawn our subsidy for gas cylinders and our railway concession, there is still something to celebrate. Our birth certificates may be approaching their expiration date, and we may still be alive just because we missed our, uh, deadline, but look on the bright side – we’ll soon be spared renewal. certificates. I had to renew my driver’s license last year and it was an ordeal. Even the RTO was skeptical about it – they renewed it for just five years after giving me a look. And so I salute the joint pains when I wake up every morning and the bandage I get from Neerja when I don’t match my tie with her saree because they prove that I’m still alive and kicking foot. Well ok no kicks maybe more like jumps but you get the drift hopefully.

That being said, old age came a little earlier than expected. This may be due to some of Mr Modi’s policies, but to be fair to him (a difficult task, I have to admit), I feel like I missed a trick or two myself. Douglas Coupland was right when he said that when you’re young you always feel like life hasn’t started yet, that it will start next week, next month or next year. But suddenly, one day, you got old and the planned start never happened! When you’re 30 or 40, you think you’re immortal and you take things for granted: that your parents will live forever, that you’ll have time to indulge yourself once your career and success are assured, that you’ll be able to reconnect with old friends and relatives lost a day in the future, that there is still plenty of time to express regrets or affections to those we have wronged or ignored. False – the doomsday clock is moving much faster than we imagine. It is only when you reach my stage of life that you realize that time must be grasped by the forelock and not by the tail.

There are also other disadvantages. When I was on duty, I attended dozens of meetings each month, so I had to maintain a closet full of suits and ties. These days, the only meetings I go to are condolence meetings where the prescribed dress code is kurta-pajamas and a puppy dog ​​look (Aam Aadmi caps are optional). Suits are no longer necessary and take up valuable storage space in my small apartment, whose carpet would give a hard time to an XL bikini. It’s the same with my books: I have about 500 of them, lovingly collected over 60 years. The problem is that I can’t remember which of them I read! So I’m rereading them all: I started with SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS and I intend to progress to the latest bestseller, BAL NARENDRA. You can find it on Amazon under the Fairy Tales/Mythology category. If you don’t want to buy the hard copy, you can read it on Swindle.

Mark Twain, of course, had a different view of the timeline of aging. According to him, “life would be infinitely happier if we could only be born at 80 and gradually approach 18”. The more I think about it, the more this reverse timeline makes sense. Instead of dreading the approach of old age, we could quickly overcome Alzheimer’s disease, enlarged prostates and blocked arteries during the first fifteen years of our lives, and then set about truly enjoying life. , knowing that our worst days are behind us. There would also be fewer divorces: marriages would begin by ignoring each other and yelling at each other, then gradually we would fall in love again, evolving over time towards the passion of adolescence and the original sin of the marriage proposal. It would refute another of Mark Twain’s less cheerful remarks: “Marriage and death must be welcome; one promises happiness, the other undoubtedly assures it.

There is also a practical side to Twain’s insight. How many times have you thought that a reverse timeline of life would make more sense? Because, in the current state of things, the first half of our life is spent in relative deprivation: tiny apartments, low salaries, no domestic help, no surplus for the holidays or to give presents to the wife. This is precisely when your children are growing up, the Missis wants to make a splash in the social circuit and you need space, money and free time to meet these demands. But you don’t have the means for all that, you’re too young, not senior enough. At the end of your career, on the other hand, when you are a CEO or a government secretary. you live in a five-bedroom house, get an obscene salary you don’t know what to do with, have half a dozen serfs waiting for you feet and fists, can finally take the kids surfing in the Maldives, and can now afford this Sabyasachi outfit she always wanted. But it is now too late, time has passed you. The kids are gone to live their own lives, the wife can’t fit into this beautiful lehnga, you can’t eat anything that doesn’t taste like sawdust because of the cholesterol. Reverse the timeline, as Mark Twain recommends, and life gets a whole lot better – you get what you need when you need it, not when you don’t need it or can’t enjoy it.

There you have it, two models of life to contemplate: from the coffin to the cradle, or vice versa. Very similar to the two development models of our country, the Gujarat model and the Delhi model. It doesn’t matter which of these patterns you choose or like, because at the end of each one, you’re dead and buried anyway. But it is a point to consider.

So here’s what I’ve learned after 72 years: you can’t help but age, but you don’t have to age. As the lyrics of this Clint Eastwood song say: Don’t let the old man in. And there are two tried-and-true ways to keep that old guy out of your home and your life: maintain a sense of humor and a fondness for Bacchus. I have the first under the authority of George Bernard Shaw who said: “You don’t stop laughing when you get old, you get old when you stop laughing. When I meet someone my age, the first thing I look for are wrinkles and crow’s feet on their face, because those are signs of smiles and laughter – if you have them, you’re not not old.

A devoted addiction to alcohol is the other secret, as every centenarian will tell you. Of course, they’ll also tell you that sex is also part of the mix, but we’ll leave that bit for another blog someday and for now we’ll dwell on the spirits. I also have this from a reliable source, from Swami Unknownananda from Whatsapp University: Exercising, reducing alcohol intake, avoiding non-vegetarian foods will definitely add a few years to your life. But remember, it will be your old age and your drivel that will be prolonged…. not your youth. So think before you quit. A peg a day keeps this old man away, and nothing says it better than a country-western song sent to me by a friend recently on Whatsapp. It goes like this:

“Sip your whisky, nice and slow

Relax, enjoy this glow;

Nobody knows when it’s time to go

Sip your whiskey nice and slow.

Some friends leave, and some stay,

The children grow up and fly away,

Everything you will have in your life

It’s your whiskey and your wife.

Life is short but seems so long,

There are so many things wrong,

Whatever happens, you have to carry on,

Grow old like whiskey and be strong.

Sip your whiskey nice and slow,

Relax, enjoy that glow…”

You can almost hear the music, the banjo scratching like ice clinking in the glass. You can not ? Pour yourself another peg, friend, sit back and relax, and enjoy that glow as the light fades…..

Avay Shukla

Avay Shukla retired from the Indian Administrative Service in December 2010. He is a passionate environmentalist and loves the mountains. He divides his time between Delhi and his cottage in a small village above Shimla. He used to play golf at one point, but now he’s run out of balls. He blogs at http://avayshukla.blogspot.in/