Nothing is Permanent, Not Even Failure



I wish, I could say that this mind-boggling phrase, “Nothing is Permanent” was mine but alas! it’s a quote by Gautam Buddha. We know it but we fail to understand it. We live our lives assuming that everything is permanent, even our existence. Life comes to us in ‘packets’, we open them and live them as they come. Some packets package success while others have failures in them. We fly without wings when a success packet arrives but the failure packet always comes with its allies ‘depression’ and ‘frustration’. At that time, it is important to remind our-selves that “Nothing is Permanent, and so is Failure.”

Failure is like a hair that if comes in the food spoils ones appetite. It definitely destroys ones mood but the effect is generally temporary. I am sure, you must have also experienced some sadness when events took an abrupt turn. These events although don’t feel or look good at the time of occurence but they always happen for a reason. After few years when we reflect back we realize that it was in our own goodwill. I wanted to know, share and learn from your stories to help someone in giving them hope about things that are not going in the right direction.

A couple of week back when my ‘muse’ visited me she inspired me to write a small story. It was about the reaction of a couple to whom I frequently put forward my queries. Answers to which I use in my articles. That day my muse was in a jovial mood and she had decided to make fun of me.  She got me all excited about my writing and stuff and I added that ‘little’ story to my blog as well. Probably, I was writing under the influence and as a result of which my little incomplete draft was posted on my dearly loved blog. Later on, my positivity didn’t allow me to delete it. I hoped that somebody might have a look at it and would be generous enough to share an event, ‘a packet,’ that left an imprint on their mind. I wanted to learn the lesson they took from life, a moral that will stay with him or her throughout.

Don’t ask me how many people approached me to share their experience? Hey, hey, hey… Don’t leave this page and go checking the comment section of my last article. (I hardly have any readership and I don’t want to loose you.) Okay, I will let you ask me. “Com’ on ask.” Hmmmm….. Well, only two people shared their thoughts with me. If I tell you one was my dad-in-law, who is first in line to read and commend my articles (even though my articles don’t deserve that fan-support that he provides. He always reads them with all sorts of expressions and sometimes with sniffles too.) So, actually I am left with only one actual person who entrusted me with her true feelings.

I

"Enjoyyyyyyyyyy"

Pari And Her Freedom

Pari is the name of my friend who confided in me. She told me something that happened fifteen years back and helped her in becoming what she is now. Her story goes like this;

“Failure is something that I wasn’t used to at all. My parents never put me in a position that gave me an option to fail. They always motivated me to do well, to be on top of anything that I did, and made me work towards it, even if I was not naturally talented enough to do it.

My first experience ‘against’ this norm was, when I started my undergraduate studies. The very idea of not being with my parents was like liberation to me. For the first time, I could do what I wanted. I did exactly that. I was barely near my books, always out with friends (not doing anything wrong or things that I should not do), but I just got carried away with the fact that my time was my own, and I was the boss. I carelessly messed up everything that I had worked so hard for, for 17 years of my life. I completely shattered my dreams, my parents’ dreams and many other things when I got my marks for the first semester. My first attempt at being all alone and being responsible was such a failure that there are no words to describe the shame I felt.”

Sorry for the interruption but being the narrator I have to give my inputs too. Pari was distressed by her actions and its repercussions but the bad phase of her life didn’t last too long as she continued further:

“There’s no point crying over spilt milk isn’t it J and why do we make mistakes – only to learn from them, right? The first thing I did was blame myself. OK, I got over that phase, and took responsibility for it. I did a couple of things I shouldn’t have at that point, but I needed to do that to recover my self-esteem. I had to change my company – it wasn’t that those people were bad people. It is just that their goals were different; they had the luxury of doing whatever they wanted to, without carrying the burdens and expectations of their family. Maybe I was wrong in doing that, but at this point in time, I don’t regret it. I began to spend time with my high school friends who came to college with me, and who knew that I was capable of doing much much more. They drove sense into me. I took it all in, sometimes with a pinch of salt (because no one likes to be told how wrong they are.) But they meant well, and I liked that there were some people who threw around their weight with me because they wanted me to do well.

I worked hard for the remaining 7 semesters. It was difficult, and sometimes made me wonder if engineering was the right choice of path for me.In some subjects I did well, and some I just did not like. Maybe it wasn’t enough, I probably could have done better. Well, all’s well that ends well…. I ended up with two jobs after my degree. It wasn’t the highest paid job but I was satisfied.”

Lesson Learned:

1. Owning up to responsibilities.

2. It’s not a big deal, and it is okay to fail (this was my biggest lesson). It’s what you do to come out of it and be successful after that what matters….

II


When Nothing Seems Right

She was shocked when she got a call from Mr. Joans, her University Supervisor. She didn’t remember what he said or the explained at that time. Only thing that she got out of the whole conversation was that she doesn’t have to go to Thomas Jefferson High School anymore.

Niharika was in her early twenties when she came to US with Abhay. They have been barely married for a month when she left everything back in India and came to this country. America was a new, unknown land where her only acquaintance was Abhay. He was the only support system she had in her life. A computer engineer by profession, he was nice and caring young man . With his help, she began to get used to American structure and culture without much aberration.

She was a well-educated, smart, confident female. She did not have any big plans of her future but she hoped that one day she would be able to work and earn something (however small) and support Abhay and build a home and a family in this great country. She explored all her avenues and took sometime before she decided what she wanted to do.

“A Science teacher, wow!” People exclaimed to hear her resolution. Some jumped out of excitement and others out of shock. It was not an easy step to put forth. She was determined and slowly and steadily she kept climbing up the ladder. She cleared all the examinations then she got herself enrolled in the State University. She took three courses each semester to get the teaching credential in one and half year. She made up her mind that she would start her full time teaching job the following Fall.

It was not as straight-forward as she had planned. There were other things that were in store for her. In the final semester, all candidates enrolled in the teaching program have to student-teach two different classes at a school, for the whole semester. With the help of her mentor at the University she decided to work at Jefferson High School with a Biology and an Earth Science teacher. She worked hard. There was no difference between night or day or weekends. She just worked, worked and worked. Whatever time she could possibly steal from Abhay and her three year old daughter Siyona , she stole and utilized it in preparing for the class.

Niharika didn’t have the foresight. She didn’t see that one of her Master Teacher (the –teacher-in-charge) who was a new teacher herself was not happy with her. Whatever she did she was never satisfied. One day, when the Mr. Joans was visiting, the Biology class didn’t go as planned. Her lesson planning was not as crisp and some students got distracted. Mr. Joan had to interrupt in between to shut them down.

That was her mistake. Nobody understood that it was her first time doing that stuff. She is new, she is learning and she tried her best. She wasn’t excused. She was asked to terminate her student-teaching assignment in the middle of the semester. It was Mr. Joans responsibility to inform her about her FAILURE.

At that time it was hard for her to hold the phone receiver in her hands, when she called Abhay at his work. She failed to control her voice and hold her tears in her eyes. She howled and begged him to come back home. When Abhay came back he just hugged Niru hard. He didn’t let her move out of his arms for sometime.  He just kept repeating, “It’s okay, everything will be fine.” But now she knew, “Nothing would be fine, she is useless and she cannot achieve anything in her life. This was the culmination of everything she had hoped for so long.”

III

Failure is an event, never a person.

~William D. Brown

Cheer up Folks! I am not going to end up my story in tears and sobs. Niru was not alone during that crisis. She didn’t quit. She had Abhay and other family and friends who kept encouraging her in her uphill journey. She did some remedial work and projects to learn more about teaching in USA. She took some courses to improve her communication skills and then again she took her student- teaching assignment by the ears.

This time she had a wonderful experience. She was a winner. She was respected by all her colleagues and loved by her students. I was there to share and celebrate their happiness at the Recognition Ceremony conducted by Niru’s Univeristy. Abhay was happiest of all. I could see the pride, the affection Abhay had for his wife, when she was being awarded her teaching certificate.

IV

Failure is only the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.

~Henry Ford

That was the moral of my story you don’t fail until you Quit. It is okay to Fail but it is not okay to Quit. Failure is a phase that passes by, but the marks remain for good.

Trouble Troubles Only If One Troubles


Introduction

– An Irish Blessing

As the date of her marriage is approaching, his visits are getting more and more frequent. She fears his untimely visits. He is impolite and would knock at her door in the middle of the night or when she is alone.  She is anxious that like always he will leave her vulnerable and insecure. She has spoilt him so much that now he is uncontrollable. At times he would also bring his friends with him. Even though she wants to avoid him and she is not ready for him, she lets him in. He has gotten too comfortable with her but didn’t care how she felt about him.

On his visits, he would settle in his favorite ‘grayish – red’ recliner on the left side of the room, start the music and would kick off his torture. He would abuse her with minimal or no physical signs on her body. It was generally dialogues between the two that left her bruised and battered. Now, her bruises are becoming visible. She is getting dark circles. She is loosing her appetite and she doesn’t even go dancing anymore, which was once her passion.

May has a pretty good life and anyone in his or her good sense would be ready to step into her shoes. She has a nice job, nice comfortable accommodation and good friends. Sam is her good-looking Italian boyfriend. He is a caring and cheerful young guy and soon they would be man and wife.

I know her for years now but I can’t even help her. She is the one who can control ‘him’. May has been in this ‘unwanted’ relationship for years now. She came in touch with Depression W. Trouble, when she was in school. Yes, May is in relation with Trouble. She is prone to getting troubled and worried easily. She got into this habit when her parents went through a bad separation leading into a divorce. She blamed herself for the nasty stuff that all three of them went through. She spent most of her time being troubled. ‘He’ was her only companion during that troublesome time.

She has become one of those obsessive worrying people. She is not enjoying her wonderful present. Sometime she goes into her pasts; gets angry and sad about what happened fifteen years back. And at other times she worries about the future; if she is going to have same fate as her parents. She has gotten so used to him that even after things are better, she couldn’t help being troubled. She invites ‘him’ time and again for even trivial matters. She wants to get away from ‘him’ but she is not able to extricate herself. She is dependent on meds to get out of this tension and anxiety.

There are people who love to worry and be troubled at the fall of the needle. Worrying is a tendency which is hard to quit. It might be harder than to quit smoking. There is no patch that can help one to abandon this mal practice. One has to do it by themselves nobody else can help to recover from it. Being troubled or worried is something that destroys ones’ health and leads to many other complications like high Blood Pressure, high Blood Sugars and vision problems.

A different class of people are the ones who simply ‘flow’ with the current. My respect for my father-in-law has increased manifold since he told me that nothing has ever troubled him.  He says, “I do not remember a situation in my life that has troubled me. This does not mean that there were no problems. However, I always looked at the problems from a different angle. Whenever there was a problem, I tried to see whether a solution is possible to this problem or not? If  “Yes”, I tried to get it solved and if “No” then why even worry. I left it to God as I have great faith in Him.” I was impressed; if you do need help why not seek it from ‘The Supreme’.

Sometimes things do get out of hand and it is a reminder that we are just human beings. We cannot control everything but we can definitely help from becoming like May. Things or situation might not always be favorable. They do trouble us but only to the extent that we allow them to do so.

My Trouble With ‘It’

The United States of America is a nation, where the prefix “OVER” has become an integral part of our lifestyles. I don’t need the obesity statistics and numbers keep pouring in to start my fitness regime. I am aware of my broadening waistline and fading neckline. I am one of the sixty-one percent of Californians who is overweight. And I am also among the ones, who think of getting fit everyday. There is no need of a New Year’s Day or a Birthday to make such a resolution. Any day is good to make that promise (as there is no fees or fine for breaking it.)

Last year, I opted for the cheapest way to get to my goal of getting back to the weight I had before having my two kids. I decided that I would walk 1.5 miles, one way, to bring my son home from the bus stop.  For me a three mile walk was respectable amount to shed some extra pounds (A nice way of saying that I am not too fat) of my overweight body. If one makes some calculations (which I didn’t make at that time.) At this rate (and only if I stick to this plan) I would loose only about 10 pounds, in the time my son moved from kindergarten to first grade. So, was it practical? May be not, nevertheless I was thoroughly motivated by my friends who were running a full marathon for charity. However small my step towards the huge goal may be but I started it.

I am little touchy about my bodyweight, so I got carried away. Any ways, coming back to my real story. On the consecutive Friday, I was reasonably excited and happy. I was able to keep my promise for that week. I walked up and down the Cabrillo Avenue for all five days.  The course I follow has an overhead bridge. Everyday, I read twice, 14 Ft 10 In., printed in black font and with a yellow highlight. This bridge is home to many birds. I admired the flight and sound of these birds made, especially by pigeons. It was amazing to witness the interaction of these wonderful creatures. One bird would fly from one side of the road to the other and then with its “goo-goo” it invites the other partner, to have their private moments.

Sometimes, when I walked under the bridge, I saw the whole eggs of the birds lying on the sidewalk. Those were ones who were not lucky enough to make it through. They didn’t see the light of the sun and hear the sounds of cars and other vehicles passing by.  They were ‘served’ to be the food for the raccoons or may be bats. It was heart breaking to see the end of a life even before it could sprout out of its ground.

Anyways, life goes on. I went on with my life as well. Very diligently for about two weeks I continued to walk those miles to fulfill my promise but one day I was deterred to take those steps forward.  It was the day, when I saw a lifeless pigeon lying on the road in the pool of blood under that same bridge. I felt sick to my stomach at the thought that it might be the one whom I saw goo-gooing the other day. It might be some other one too but there was not much of a difference. By now I had formed a relation with those members of avian family. And today one member was gone. It was a loss. With heavy steps I kept walking. I could not let my five-year old waiting and wondering, “Why mumma is not here to pick me up?”

On the way back, I was quiet and kept thinking about that dead bird. My inner peace was gone. I was in turmoil. It was hard for me to decide, whether I should bury it or leave it like that. Finally, I could not muster the courage to pick it up and perform the last rights for ‘it’. Actually, I didn’t even look at it when I passed under that bridge. I saw that bird for the next few days, sometimes in the middle of the road, sometimes on the yellow divider line or sometimes by the sidewalk. Each time its condition was worse than the last time. I kept thinking how long the cleaning crew would take to come and take it away. That didn’t happen and ‘it’, the dead bird, stayed there. And then it was on the sidewalk from where I used to pass. It had started to stink badly. It was bad and shapeless.

I decided to walk on the other side of the road but I kept an eye on that bird whenever I passed by. ‘It’ was still there.  The day three of changing the side, en route to the bus stop, I met another hurdle. I saw a dead cat on my side of the sidewalk. Somehow, I passed through it on my onward journey but on my way back I had to make a choice. What is better? To walk by a week old dead bird or freshly killed cat (remember I am walking with an infant in a big stroller and 5 year old.) I gave a silent verdict to myself and decided to cross the dead bird again. And again, I was appalled by the sight of ‘it.’

The next day when I was about to reach the bridge, I was struck by lightening. Oh, not the real lightening but the smaller version of the kind that Buddha had when he was sitting under the Peepal (Ficus religiosa) tree in Bodh, Gaya, India. A thought entered my mind,  “It’s just a body and there is nothing to feel bad about it.” And that was the end to my grievances. The bird was still there in its most grotesque form. I saw it, gave it a slight nod and passed by. It was not at all difficult. Do you think that was the end of story?

No, of course not. After about ten or fifteen minutes, when I came back, I looked for the dead bird and it was not there. I looked again and again and everywhere but ‘it’ was gone.

Power of Prayers

Serenity Prayer…

God, grant us the…

Serenity to accept things we cannot change,

Courage to change the things we can, and the

Wisdom to know the difference

Patience for the things that take time

Appreciation for all that we have, and

Tolerance for those with different struggles

Freedom to live beyond the limitations of our past ways, the

Ability to feel your love for us and our love for each other and the

Strength to get up and try again even when we feel it is hopeless.

By-Reinhold Niebuhr

Sometimes even little things, however insignificant they might appear, happen for a reason. I have learned my lesson.During the difficult times, we need the power to endure it. We just need to be aware that the power is within us. Sometimes, we are aware of the said fact but we tend to forget about it in the times of need. A learned and realized man of ‘Yogi’ cadre Shri Paramhansa Yoganand, who started the Self Realization fellowship in USA, when faced with difficulty prayed to lord, the way Paul Apostle did.

“Don’t change the situation but change me ”

...It's Effective

Should I or Shouldn’t I


Recently, when I went to my friends Reema and Romesh’s place; our conversation came to the point, “If I should or I should not ask people questions or opinions about various topics and use them for my articles?” But even before that nice couple could suggest any answer to me, they started discussing the previous question (on growing old) that I sent them earlier.  All of a sudden, I felt as if I was not in the room with them, I was in the theatre watching a romantic classic.

Romesh stretched on the sofa and Reema sat besides him on the floor. Holding and playing with each other’s hands they talked about getting old together. During those special moments when they were ‘alone’, two of them also had a pleasant argument on if they are too busy and they do not have the time to pay attention to what they have to say to each other. Romesh stepped in to prove that he always listens to his ‘darling’ wife, however busy he may be. He recounted the event that happened the last time when I mailed them that question the first time. Reema kept looking at him affectionately.

You do realize that I didn’t get the answer to my question at that time. As this always happens when we are with friends, one tends to get side-tracked. We moved ahead with some other topic. Reflecting on it, I understand that this incident is a good proof that I am not bothering anyone with my questions? On the other hand I am being helpful in certain ways … 🙂 My idea is not to disturb you but to learn from you and share your views and feelings about certain topics. If you are willing and happy to share something with everyone, please contribute your stories.

Please share with me something that really troubled you in your life and how did you take care of that situation or problem.

Forever Young


Prologue

I

We were close. We laughed together. We talked and we discussed. We shared our secrets and our infatuations. We were together when we were happy and we stood by each other through sorrow as well. Virtually we lived together. Ten years back, that was my friend, my dearest friend and I called him Vroom. We were like siblings, but without the nasty stuff.  It was all so beautiful. He was older to me and was caring and protective. He was my mentor and I always looked up to him.

Things changed when I got married. I found a greatest friend in my husband Ash. The old friendship lost its luster over a period of time and distance. I came to the States and he is back in India. We are still in touch and we talk often but now, we are no more than acquaintances. It was not too long ago, when I was talking to him on phone, and he mentioned that he is taking meds to lower his blood pressure and cholesterol. I was depressed to hear that. But I was devastated when he gloomily said, “I am almost 40 years old now; what else do you expect?”

I didn’t have anything to say at that moment. I was silenced. I couldn’t remember the lines by Mark Twain to motivate him- “Age is an issue of mind over matter.  If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” There were other things that I wanted to tell him. I wanted to tell him about spirit, enthusiasm; about the difference between aging and growing old; about the love of life; about Uncle Ernie and Aunty Toyo; about the poem ‘Old Age’ by Edgar A. Guest. But before I could put my thoughts together into words, my attention shifted to International calling rates and I had to cut short the call.

Even after I disconnected the phone, I couldn’t stop thinking about him. His idea and his approach to getting old bothered me. His words kept echoing in my ears, “I am almost 40 years old now; what else do you expect?” Why is age such a big issue for some? Especially, for someone who is so dear to me.

II

“Age may wrinkle the face, but lack of enthusiasm wrinkles the soul.”

–          Danish proverb

It frustrates me to see people in their mid 30s behaving like 80 years old. On the other hand I greatly admire the octogenarians who are full of life. They have so much to give to this world. They live and play like they are 30.

Aging and growing old are the two sides of the same coin. One side is its physiological aspect, which my friend Priti feels is happening every minute and we cannot control it.  The most agreeable definition of aging that I found on the Internet is on ‘Medterms-Medical Dictionary’. It defines it as the process of becoming older, a process that is genetically determined and environmentally modulated. As my dad (in-law), Dr. Ashok Gaur, an agricultural scientist by profession, explains it, “Aging is a natural phenomenon, common to all living beings. Among the plants the seed starts aging soon after attaining physiological maturity while still on the mother plant. In animals the same progression starts as soon as the baby comes out of mother’s womb or hatches out of the egg.” That is the science of aging and I have no problems accepting that.



It is the other side of coin that is different for different people.  I feel that one’s psychological feeling or attitude towards growing old is what makes or breaks ones life. I seek the help from Edgar A. Guest to express my views on this aspect. The motivational lines by this 19th century British born American writer is an alternative and more ‘scenic’ route to take you through the sentiments on feeling old.

Old Age

I used to think that growing old was reckoned just in years,

But who can name the very date when weariness appears?

I find no stated time when man, obedient to a law,

Must settle in an easy chair and from the world withdraw.

Old Age is rather curious, or so it seems to me.

I know old men at forty and young men at seventy-three.


I’m done with counting life by years or temples turning gray.

No man is old who wakes with joy to greet another day.

What if the body cannot dance with youth’s elastic spring?

There’s many a vibrant interest to which the mind can cling.

‘Tis in the spirit Age must dwell, or this would never be:

I know old men at forty and young men at seventy-three.


Some men keep all their friendships warm, and welcome friendships new,

They have no time to sit and mourn the things they used to do.

This changing world they greet with joy and never bow to late;

On every fresh adventure they set out with hearts elate

From chilling fear and bitter dread they keep their spirits free

While some seem old at forty they stay young at seventy-three.


So much to do, so much to learn, so much in which to share!

With twinkling eyes and minds alert some brave both time and care.

And this I’ve learned from other men, that only they are old

Who think with something that has passed the tale of life is told.

For Age is not alone of time, or we should never see

Men old and bent at forty and men young at seventy-three.

III


I consider myself fortunate that I know so many people who feel that they will always be young in spite of the number of years that they have lived or will live on this earth. They understand the crux of the above quote by Abraham Lincoln. I don’t want to be old at forty therefore I build my life by observing and learning from these high-spirited people.

In my day-to-day life, I witness the love for life people have, in bits and pieces. Everyday on the exercise floor in the gym, I fall in love with the people of the ‘graying generation’.  It is motivating to see them lifting weights and working out on an elliptical. For some of them even a simple walk is a challenge but they come and workout every single morning. There are others who amaze me by telling their age and I respond to them with my jaw dropped and eyes wide open “What? No, you can’t be that old.”

I am full of admiration for the seniors at the Senior Center who are learning something new. They still are eager and ready to try new skills. People in my creative writing group are a class apart. They love life and they love each other. It fills me with awe when Manuel shares his stories about his life and his beloved wife. Tina’s sense of humor lightens the whole room. And it goes without saying that their depth of knowledge gives me new insight every time I see them. These people are old by years or may be even slow too but they are like a good sparkling wine. They are bubbly and willing to accept the changes. My friend Aishwarya B. feels that that ‘s the evidence to prove their youthfulness.

I wish that all people have the same positive attitude towards growing old. As most of us agree, if aging is out of our control then why don’t we approach it like Uncle Ernie and Aunty Toyo approached it. They are my neighbors, a Japanese couple in their late eighties. They are so full of life. Once I went to park with aunty a couple of years back and she tried to climb the monkey bar, while I stood by the sideline. Although she made me a little nervous but I couldn’t help admiring her liveliness and energy. Both Uncle and aunty regularly go to gym to keep themselves fit and healthy. Uncle himself tends his garden, which by the way is the best in our whole block. Uncle reflects on his life and says, “I feel very fortunate that I was able to get to this part of my life. Today, I can sit back and enjoy watching my six grandchildren, as adults, putting their life together. And to make matters more gratifying, having the opportunity to have a great grandchild.” He dearly loves his family and his utmost desire is to spend as much time possible with his loved ones.

Like this eighty-five years young couple there are others who teach me a lesson about loving and living life till I breathe my last. My University supervisor Mr. Michael Du Bois and my father-in-law are on the same page of thoughts about growing old. They feel that they will though age but will not grow old. In Michael’s words, “Aging is inevitable and I can’t do much about it. But in my heart, I will still be thinking like a youngster and yes a pretty girl will make my heart beat an extra beat and for my wife a good-looking guy would do the same.  A good joke will make me laugh out loud, and a good glass of wine will still stir my senses.” Way to go Michael. I hope all of us can have and enjoy same hearty laughter when we are in our eighties.

IV


I agree there are some disadvantages to getting old. As my father-in-laws favorite verse suggests, “There are no free lunches in life,” old age too comes with a lot of baggage. Ones’ life gets a little complicated. Life scale needle moves from the action side to thinking side. According to Michael, “Aches and pains don’t seem to heal as readily as they once did; consequently projects that used to take a few days now take a month to complete.  And let’s not forget the meds, another unfortunate sign of aging.  In the old days, a vacation suitcase consisted of a pair of shorts, some tee shirts and underwear, and a few toiletry items.  Today, you often need a separate suitcase for all the meds to keep your systems working fine.”

On the flip side these wonderful people in their golden years get pleasure from stuff that they missed while they were busy building their lives. There are some benefits of getting old as well. Michael Du Bois enjoys taking the senior concession, “I love showing my ID to get into the local theatre with a discount, or play golf at the senior rate.”  They have the time to enjoy the calmness and beauty, which is there around us. They are out of the ‘rat-race’ and now they can make use of the time to take care of things that they were not able to do earlier.

My friends; the ones much older than me by age, shared the fun of having grandkids and great grand kids. I could see the elation when they talk about this special bond. It is a feeling of achievement that I cannot justify at this stage of my life.  But this benefit of getting old is definitely worth the mention.  Michael reveals his special comradeship with his granddaughter; “I like young people, especially if they are 5 year olds and related to me.  Watching my grand daughter growing up is and has been one of the greatest treats in my life.  I can only hope we can continue to enjoy this wonderful relationship for a long, long, long time.” My mother-in-law is always too excited to connect with my six years old. However unwell she might be, she is never too tired to talk to him or about him. May God Bless this wholesome connection between the grandparents and their grandkids.

V

“It’s important to have a twinkle in your wrinkle.”

–         Anonymous

There are others who have grown older before you. Be prepared and be proud of getting a wrinkle. It is not something new. It might be a new feeling to you but there are many who can teach you the techniques of conquering the inevitable gracefully. As Jacqueline Mutz, a writer and thinker says, growing old is the combination of state of mind and how well you are in mind, body and spirit. So I gather some tips from few of my energetic, jovial friends who know all about life. These will help us to keep our mind, body and spirits in good shape.

  • My dad-in-law believes in trusting God and thanking him for all that he has given us. According to him, “We should always acknowledge the grace of Almighty.” He stresses on the fact that we should be enthusiastic about what we are doing and enjoy what we have.
  • Uncle Ernie’s big secret is, “Share your love and happiness.”
  • Fitness advice come from Priti, “you can control the getting old feeling by taking care of certain things in life. Basic needs are good nutrition and exercise and second order needs are feeling happy and motivated.”
  • Michael feels it is a “healthy dose of humor” that is an answer to NOT GROWING OLD. In his words, “Aging is not for wimps, but surrounding yourself with people with positive attitude is the best antidote to feeling old.”

Do whatever feels or sound good to you. But make sure that you find something that you are passionate about, something that keeps you going no matter what.   Do something that you like, make your wrinkly face twinkly and live happily thereafter.

VI

EPILOGUE

“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.”

-Joe Lewis

Vroom rediscovered himself and his passion. Every subsequent day of his life since he found his true self, he has woken up early. Every morning he puts on his shorts, t-shirt and his Action (brand name) shoes and goes for  a 7km run. He rebooted his life and filled it with positive energy and happiness. He welcomes each day with a smile and inspires many others to do the same through his, “All Smiles Running Club.” This club is a charitable organization as well. It organizes sporting events, especially Marathons to raise funds for the welfare of poor, backward, downtrodden Indian villages.  Vroom has many more things on his agenda that he wishes to achieve in this life.

Tomorrow is Vroom’s Birthday. He will be 43 years young and not 43 years old. I wish him all the best and may God shower his blessings on him.

***

My Sincere Thanks

I wish to thank my “boss”, my family and my friends who helped me come with the idea and shared their thoughts about this topic. I even wish to thank even those who didn’t share their ideas but at least gave a thought about it which was the purpose of this whole exercise. Special thanks to friends, Priti Agarwal, Aishwarya Balasubramanium, Dr. Reena Gupta, Jacqueline Mutz. Another inspiration  comes from another dear friend of mine, Mr. Abhishek Gaur.

Mr. and Mrs. Inouye (Uncle and Aunty) you will always be my heroes. I am sure you inspire others too.

Michael, I do not put you on a ‘pedestal’, but I do admire your knowledge and your energy. I appreciate your help in every step of my life. Thanks once again.

I am lucky to have two dads (my father-in-law and my father) who are a big inspiration to me. I convey my special thanks to my father-in-law, Dr. Ashok Gaur whose knowledge, memory and attitude towards life astonishes me. “Papa, I love you.”

Loads and loads of thanks to my pride, my favorite characters of my write-ups, my little kids Sid and Saavi.

My dearest friend, my husband Ash is my biggest helper. He is my biggest critique too. None of my articles, or essays or stories is ever complete without his input. I thank god for giving him the strength and patience to go through my first, second, third… drafts.  God, please keep up the ample supply of both these qualities in him. And give me the power and strength to keep coming up with these drafts.

***