There was this young old-man I met a few days back. Retired from his professional work, he spends time reading books and visiting places. When I say visiting places, I mean walking to places. Fortunately, I believe, I happened to have his company while returning from office. It was a forty odd minute walk we had and perhaps one of the evenings I am gonna cherish for a long time.
Here is a sincere attempt to give words to his feelings that he shared with me.
At sixty-one, theaters and malls stop attracting you. You don't really want to prove yourself. Fame and wealth seem very gross. But that doesn't mean you don't find any reason to live. In fact, you start understanding the purpose of your life at sixty-one, but then it's late. Relaxing in your arm-chair, you look back at the years of your youth- your days at kindergarten, your years at school, your adolescence, your crushes, your college days, those early morning exam preparations, the celebrations on getting a job and every thing you had gone through to make your marriage work. You feel happy about it. Recollecting your past always leaves a drop of tear though. But within, there is a longing. A longing to be energetic all again. A longing to travel life again, but this time, with the wisdom acquired. A longing to tell people the story of your life. People who mean the world to you. People for whom you have sacrificed, in your days of youth, your little moments of happiness. People within whom flows your blood. But this longing remains a longing. I don't know if it ever gets fulfilled. It's a dream that's meant just to be seen. But I don't blame them for not finding time for me. 'Cause even they are busy sacrificing their little moments of happiness for their people. It's a circle. It's a loop. It goes on. You can't control it. I don't blame my children. 'Cause that way, I'll be blaming my upbringing. And I don't wanna die with that regret.
I lost my wife six years back. It was a bad year. You realize the importance of people in your life only after losing them. It happens with everyone. With her, I lost my family also. You know they repudiated Pluto as a planet? For decades we were told that Pluto is one of the members of the solar family. And then they examine and analyse its features and tell that Pluto is no more a member of the solar family. After losing my wife, my family had started analyzing me. Ha ha ha. At sixty-one, you become a Pluto. Not that Pluto ceased to exist. It does exist. It's all the same. But no more important for the (solar)family. But you can't blame the sun for that. You can't blame the scientists for that. You can't blame Pluto for that. You see the point I'm making? And sadly, you realize all this at sixty-one.
It has been almost an year that I'm retired. One year since I have got any attention. One year since I have been with anyone dear. But that doesn't scare me. I may be depreciated but that is no reason to cease life. It happens to everyone. I just wish to tell you that the things you are running after now so madly, are going to mean nothing to you when you reach sixty-one. You may find my words bogus now. You must be wondering how can money not mean anything! Ha ha ha. But you will realize this in time. You are young now. You are in the illusion of eternity now. But this time will pass. What do the new scientists say about time? Is it static and we are moving or the other way around? They are investing genius minds in this research you know? It's good.
Don't take me as a retard old fellow. These things might be sounding noise to you. I have observed my family making faces when I talk to them. So I avoid talking to them. Living with people who dislike you is better than living with people who hate your existence. I spend time reading books. I go out for evening walks. These days they have polluted Bangalore's atmosphere. Ever thought how much this city is bearing every day? This was once a very beautiful city with a very soothing climate. These people exploited it for their benefits. People move in here every day in search of work. If they get rejected, they curse everything. So many curses and exploitation has this city carried in her heart but still never retaliated. At sixty-one, you will find this city no different than you yourself. But try to remain like this city. Don't retaliate. Never blame. Because on your final day, when you will be waiting on the pyre of wood to be burnt to ashes, nothing will actually matter you. There is no pain in death. There is no pain in losing people. The only pain lies in desires and expectations.