Intimations of Mortality

Growing old is more than a number

Written by FAHAD SAMAR | Published: April 13, 2013 12:06 am

Growing old is more than a number

A couple of years ago,I attended the premiere of the much publicised Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na. I enjoyed the effervescent film,and after the screening,chatted with Kiran Rao,its executive producer. We agreed that we had just witnessed the birth of a new star — the affable and gifted Imran Khan. A few moments later,Kiran’s husband,Aamir,joined us,looking every inch the proud “maamu” and mentor of his promising young nephew. It didn’t seem that long ago when I had seen the rise of another talented actor who had strummed a guitar and captured the nation’s imagination,singing a simple ditty destined to become a youth anthem: “Papa kehte hain,bada naam karega…”

With a heavy heart,I realised that while my peer group had grown up idolising Aamir Khan,a breed of 20-somethings had silently come of age and were poised to take over the mantle of “the new generation”. This lot had their own music,lingo and icons. Having just turned 40,I suddenly felt rather old and wistful at the realisation that we were now no longer the “youth of the nation”.

Last week,I developed an excruciating pain in my knee and went to visit a physiotherapist. A pretty,young girl administered ultrasonic healing and sweetly reassured me that there was no cause for concern — that this malady was common in people my age due to natural wear and tear on the body.

The ramification of that statement hit home like a ton of bricks. Like Prufrock,I fretted: I grow old,I grow old! Unfamiliar words such as cholesterol,triglycerides,hypertension and cervical spondylitis have become an integral part of my lexicon. I am called “uncle” by cheeky urchins at street corners.

Propped up on painkillers and determined not to be bedridden by the ravages of age,I ventured out last evening and encountered not one but three friends who had been recently felled by a bad back and incapacitated for a week. Across the board,the diagnosis was the same — it’s the effects of aging. Learn to deal with it and start taking better care of your self. Immediately.

I am off this afternoon to join a gym and have consulted a dietician to help me get into some semblance of shape. Some may call this a “knee jerk reaction” but I believe it’s a mature response to nature’s intimation of mortality.

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