Whenever I decide to pen my autobiography I really don’t know what befitting title I would give. Irrespective of the name however, 2011 will be heralded and underscored in the book for many reasons. At the beginning of the year I celebrated 50 years of my existence on this planet which I think is a grand event in itself with half of the battle of life won. To add to the achievement we now look forward to celebrating 25 years of our marriage at the end of the year. Amongst the months gone by, September this year has certainly been notable for more reasons than one. Whilst friends and families of the victims of 9/11 commemorated their loved and lost ones on the tenth anniversary, I was reunited with two of my classmates after a gap of 34 years!!!
What is surprising in it one may ask since Mark Zuckerberg has made it so simple for all of us to reconnect and reunite??
Well, apart from remembering a nondescript and introvert classmate, the two of them demonstrated an amazing ability to recount and elicit details. Was it superior autobiographical memory or hyperthymestic syndrome ???
Shripathy Kamath remembered the exact details of my farewell speech at School down to the furore it created amongst the Principal and staff who singled it out as one "filled with venom" to be trashed in the nearest dustbin. Inderjit whom we called "pocket monkey" (Slender Loris) at school resurfaced after three decades and could conjure up my home address down to the last street and house number!!!
The common denominator of the three of us is our age. All three of us have recently scored our half centuries in life and haven't retired hurt as yet. That gives rise to the argument as to when should one retire? Whilst Shakespeare divided life into "seven ages" Hinduism divides it into four ashrams of 25 years each
- Brahmacharya or the Student Stage
- Grihastha or the Householder Stage
- Vanaprastha or the Hermit Stage
- Sannyasa or the Wandering Ascetic Stage
"This stage of a man begins when his duty as a householder comes to an end. He has become a grandfather, his children are grown up, and have established lives of their own. At this age, he should renounce all physical, material and sexual pleasures, retire from his social and professional life, leave his home, and go to live in a forest hut, spending his time in prayers. He is allowed to take his wife along, but is supposed to maintain little contact with the family..."
Whilst the above may be relevant in the Ramayana and the Bhagavad Gita era in todays libidinal world the prurient peccadilloes of Strauss- Kahn’s and ‘bunga bunga’ parties of Berlusconi and his ilk prove that even at this age they possess the stuff legends are made of. While we gloat on our half centuries these legends with their exploits are proudly celebrating 50th anniversary of their 20th birthday. Madonna who is our peer continues to motivate and inspire our age group feeling "like a virgin, touched for the very first time".
Therefore, Rise O half centurions of Kunti! Your life is neither a 20-20 cricket thriller nor a limited 50 over one dayer, it’s a Test Match with no limit on the number of balls you face or the runs you make. But always be cognizant of the fact that this ‘Test’ has only one innings. So make the best of it and pursue your journey towards your century not limiting it to singles and twos but also scoring those occasional fours and sixes all the way.
My best wishes to all of you in this endeavor!!!