Sunday, December 19, 2010


My sister's daughter was getting married. There was a lot of excitement in the family. Every one was deciding on what to wear for the various functions - the relatively younger generation was busy buying new stuff - clothes, shoes and the various other accompaniments that go with an Indian celebration - the biggest celebration of them  all being a wedding in the family. I asked my father what he was going to wear. He answered that he would wear whatever he had in his closet. On urging him to buy something new for the occasion, he put forward various arguments like - at his age (86 years) what is the point in buying new clothes; I don't like tight clothes, I will wear my old suit, etc. I insisted and we bought him a new suit for the wedding ceremony, and let him wear his old stuff for the other functions. He kept complaining - what is the point in spending so much money on an old man. Anyway, I had my way.

The day of the wedding arrived and he was getting ready to put on his new suit. He put on his shirt, trousers, shoes, and stopped. We were all ready. He came out of his room with a tie in his hand and asked me to tie the knot for him, as he had forgotten how to tie the knot. I hesitated for a second and then took the tie and made a double knot for him. He then put on his tie, jacket and was all ready for the ride to the venue of the wedding.

I had hesitated because my mind had gone in to a flash back when I was a teenager and my father had taught me how a tie a single, and a double, knot. My father had done the tie for me, whenever it was required, until the day I was going for my Service Selection Board interview to Dehradun, in 1968. If I remember right, that was the time he taught me how to do it on my own, as he felt that I should be able to do it by myself, now that I was going out of the home all by myself. Besides tying a knot on the tie, I learnt a lot from my father - every child does. Life had come a full circle.

The person who taught me how to do things when I could not, was now asking me to do it for him, as he could not - life had indeed come a full circle - when I was a child, he and I both knew it - he had to do stuff for me, and teach me. At this juncture - I feel....... that he knows, because he is the one who taught me...........whereas only he knows that he has forgotten, and thus does not know. Old age is second child hood, in more ways than one.

He did it for me; he taught me, in that order - it is now my turn to do it for him; it is now too late for him to re-learn from me, what he taught me many decades ago.

This post has been triggered by this beautiful article by Vinita Dawra Nangia published in the Times of India dated 19 Dec 10.


Nilu said...

True, old age is indeed a second childhood. Your post is touching.

Renu said...

I feel like this every day:)

Bikramjit said...

I feel age is not a criteria its how you beleive and how you live..
Its all in the mind I have seen people in 40's thinking oh god they are 40 years old.. and here in uk They celbrate being 40 for they think life begins now ...

I am so looking forward to the celebration myself

I do stuff which most 30+ people dont do Sky dive, hockey, horse riding kung fu.. so age has got nothing to do with anything its our mind set also .. :)
but yeah old age is like childhood tooo... i heard a good saying

KAUN kehta hai BUDHE ishq nahin akrte
Karte to hain leking Log SHAK nahin karte :)


Anrosh said...

lucky people grow old