Friday, September 5, 2008

To quote Mark Twain, "Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter." That dear readers is the crux of today's Wassup says Sugatha Menon

To quote Mark Twain, "Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter." That dear readers is the crux of today's Wassup says Sugatha Menon

Last week, I met Amir Shah after a long gap of 6 years. This 71 year-old man is my friend's father. Recently widowed, he's been suffering from diabetes for 60 years; I expected to see a man weighed down by age, loneliness and illness. Instead there he was, with the light of life twinkling in his eyes, proudly showing off his wardrobe of 38 jackets, 80 ties, countless shirts and trousers and not to miss - matching belts for each ensemble! In his trade circles he is one of the respected cloth merchants. Though he can afford a chauffer to drive him to work, he travels by Mumbai's local train. Here he has his coterie of fans and friends, who await him each day to see what his outfit for the day is and to savour a slice of his trademark humour to keep the fun in their lives going.

What keeps him young and ticking with life? His oratorical prowess and his love for writing. A winner of many honours. He hosts many cultural programmes and proudly claims to be able to speak non-stop for 96 hours. And that's not all, a 51-year-old has even proposed marriage to him! He is yet to get back on the proposal!

Ramakrishnan Nambiar, aged 79 has done something that few in his village would have dreamt of. Yet, he isn't the hot topic of conversation in the tea shops in his sleepy little village. He recently got married for the second time to a 50 year old woman. After losing his wife of many years to cancer, he was devastated. The decision to marry was taken to overcome his loneliness. Thankfully his children supported his decision and more importantly his peers and people who mattered to him in his community also accepted his choice. I met him last month and was pleased to see that he looked content with life.

Here's someone I didn't meet, but how I wish I could! Randall Butisingh. Born in Guyana on December 1, 1912. This academician has many awards and achievements to his credit. What interests me the most is that he learnt the Arabic script in his 70's. At 89 he learnt to play the recorder and by his own admission has acquired some degree of proficiency. In his 95th year he studied Spanish. At 96 he is the world's oldest blogger.

Without a doubt, the times we are living in are certainly a good time to be 50 plus! The country and people's minds are far more open to changes and if you look around you will find poster boys and girls for senior citizens all around. For the 60 plus there's Sexy Sam aka Amitabh Bachchan. His personality is aglow with his zest for life. He connects with every strata of society. What made his quiz show a success was his ability to connect with people of different backgrounds and age, he made them feel special. Doesn't the fact that he is country's biggest superstar prove that age is indeed a non-issue? Who hasn't heard of columnist and socialite Shobha De? At 60, she is super enthusiastic about life and keeps redefining her personality and role with her interests. Today this beautiful 60 plus lady has a sari line to her credit and no one does as good a job of modelling her saris than Ms De herself!

Prime minister Manmohan Singh, Shyam Benegal, Abdul Kalam, evergreen actor Dev Anand, and hold on there's a 90 plus poster girl too - the inimitable Zohra Sehgal, actress, model and a very very interesting human being! And if you look around, you will find many more senior citizens around you who are holding the banner of age high with grace and pride. They are doing a jolly good job of reminding us that age is but a number in your mind. Keep your heart young and you will never age.

Fifties is called the second blooming of life. It's a time when you are through with the responsibilities of bringing up children, your personal relationships are more or less set and you have your life before you like a sheet of untread snow. It's a time to do whatever you couldn't do in your youth, be it studies, pursuing a new hobby or its up to you to continue being a support system for your children and grandchildren! Whatever you choose to do, do it with grace, you have the younger generation watching you, learning from you!

Do you agree that age is an issue of mind over matter? Click here to tell us about someone who fits this statement

About the author: Sugatha Menon is the Lifestyle Editor for MSN India. She is based in Mumbai and has been on the editorial board of several leading lifestyle magazines. People and lifestyle are her favourite subjects. When she isn't observing them, she's writing about them.

Source: India syndicate

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