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Sunday, November 14, 2004

the sixty plus brigade

‘Men get naughty at four-zero forty’ is a favorite phrase of all those who have ever played a game called Housey or Tambola. I learnt the game when in Kanpur and honed my skills in the Airport club and the Fair-weather club in Calcutta. Today also, I participate in mini Tambolas in picnics.

This is not about Tambola but about the sixty plus brigade. Sixty plus in terms of age!! Aging is a natural process which is difficult to arrest but which can be accepted with grace. In Life, as in cricket, attaining a landmark of fifty urges you to try for the next landmark – the hundred. If you have the willingness and the stamina, no one can prevent you reaching the second more memorable landmark. However, if you feel that you are a spent force by the time you cross fifty, you are likely to perish unsung!!

In India, as in other countries, the sixty plus population is on the increase.

With better medical facilities available, with people more concerned about their health, with friends and the media continuously harping on the need to have a balanced lifestyle (meaning balanced diet with proportionate exercises to burn up excess calories and fat), we discover that people have come to love the post-sixty years. We are treated to a completely rejuvenated AYM (Angry Young Man) jumping with joy at managing a tongue twister or in the role of a boatman unplugging left and right to quench his thirst of his favorite cold drink. Screen personalities never seem to get old –we marvel at the way these celebrities of yore attend awards presentation ceremonies even today.

Same is true of Politicians.

Apparently, to succeed as a leader of the masses you need to be old enough to sit in judgment. Obviously, the more experience you gather, the more mature you become and the better are your chances of success. The present generation of Gandhis and Scindias has Politics in their veins. By the time they come of age (in Politics, that is!) they would most certainly be past their prime.

Gone are the days when retirement meant the end of the world – the retired person used to be converted to a persona non grata not just in his own family but in society as well!! To everyone, a retired person is supposed to be one who should be seen, not heard.

Times have changed.

Today, retired life does not necessarily mean a walking stick, monkey cap, muffler and sympathies. Retired life does not also mean chewing the cud of young age memories. Retirement has been redefined as a new beginning. Retired executives look for part time jobs, open consultancy services, and start coaching classes. Travel concessions are available to them and senior citizens are encouraged to travel and share their experiences with others simultaneously gathering newer experiences. Very few Senior citizens today depend on others to pull them through tight situations. They have realized that with the vast experience at their disposal, they can compete with the very best.


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