What happens when you grow old? Ofcourse you expire!
But growing old was easier in those good old days when you had no internet. Life was moving through less traffic on the roads of time! It was easier to navigate when destinations were definite, and wayside landmarks static. Now, every morning dawns differently. Just go through the roads of Chennai, the once upon a time really lovely but always wished and therefore described as a lovely city, and you will know how much you are outdated. The road that led me to my favourite restaurant is no more a thoroughfare, I have to take diversions. And, at times out of habit I may enter an empty road with no one honking from behind, just to find an onslaught of traffic from the other side simply because the cops decided over their midnight tea that the road shall henceforth be just one way. With a beard long enough to evoke a sympathetic scorn from the traffic cop, I am able to get away with mild reprimands most of the times. But life just doesn’t move on roads. It travels on time, and I do not encounter sympathetic cops there.
I had my first computer when I was thirty five and I had the best machine available at that time- an XT! There was no MS office and ofcourse no MS word. GB was something never mentioned by anyone and by the time I upgraded and got my internet, I was already thirty seven. The machine did not have windows. I felt at that time I was moving on with the times and having a firm grasp on the new stuff that science kept offering. By the time I turned forty, I had to keep upgrading the machine almost every year if I did not want to get outdated. Well, I thought, science is indeed taking rapid and long strides. Slowly I turned away from the monitor so that I could see the screen that destiny keeps opening every moment for me. Life meant other pursuits, not just typing commands on the screen. As I kept focusing on life’s screen and its display of destiny, my computer screen kept growing in an uncaring and dark manner. When I came back to it, the screens held many new things.
I was so used to talking to people face to face, but now anonymous and pseudonymous people were chatting away to their fantasy’s content. My lazy postponement of replying mails could no more be blamed on the usually innocent albeit inefficient postal system. I could read scientific abstracts almost as soon as they got published. By the way I have always made an abstract out of full length scientific papers the way I skimmed through them and so this was a blessing, undisguised. With wonder and curiosity I tried to keep pace with my computer. But that was not for too long! I gave up, leaned back and learnt to use simpler key tricks like an eighty year old learns to use his walking stick. Life was still easy. I had no regrets or complaints, till this morning.
I happened to glance at The Week, the weekly magazine and its cover story startled me. It describes how the girls of today are sexually uncaring, free, unabashed and so on, though not in these terms. The story is about the sexual freedom –desired and/or experienced- by the current generation of ladies. Girls, it seems, are no longer stuck up about virginity, single partners, marital honesty ala fidelity and such old world concepts. It should have startled me morally. It didn’t! Since I meet a lot of young girls and talk to them I knew that The Week was almost factual, in the sense that many young women of today do not hesitate to touch and talk, and that is not a sexual escapade but just an attempt to internally assert their equal opportunity social movements- one has to be lenient to the scribes who must at any cost make any sensitive issue sensational. I was not just curious or impotently angry at the story, I was just jealous! I wished I had been born later!! not for the sake of enjoying life and companionship in the sexual sense , but for the ease of retaining my many lost pals who faded because of unused friendships.Since this blog is not about my scruples or about the integrity of the women of The Week, let me come to what made me write this.
There were, ofcourse as usual, experts who gave their comments on this psycho-social phenomena. One comment went like this: these girls would do it now, but soon they will grow old and will be replaced by young ones, and then they would feel low, depressed and rejected. I hope my dear reader would remember that sometime back I had declared I skim and not devour the written word. Well!! My worry was about the expired products. Not all will be taken by an optionless soul, like the one in a Chinese movie whose name I cannot ever recollect. So will there be many that are left over to be trashed? What will happen since the products have more longevity but less usability (like the VCR at home)?
One has to grow old. Old has to give way to the new. These basics I presume are still in vogue. Perhaps the expert was right. Perhaps these chik-lit cuties will get depressed. So what? Only a bio-neuro-chemical depression needs treatment. All reactive depressions need only supportive therapy. What would be the support for all these prophetically doomed females of our species? Time!! And, its most useful adjuncts- common sense and reality orientation. So, it is not doomsday for those damsels least-dressed . All they have to do is keep tracking time. It will move fast. It will keep giving new images. Just accept that your moments are passing, and then you would rather lean and look forward with the joy of curiosity than backward with the bitterness of envy.