Monday, June 10, 2013


I am frightened by old age. That is the one thing that really scares me. Not death, but old age.

Have you ever seen a old couple sitting in a park? Or crossing a road? What do you think of when you see them?

You think they are cute. Perhaps they are. So used to each other. There are no sudden movements, no unanticipated actions. A lifetime spent together guarantees that. But they were not always like this. Once, so many years ago, they had also met for the first time. They must have tentatively asked each others preferences. Guessed what he or she might like or not like. Carefully planned vacations which might have gone terribly wrong. Unexpected journeys, memories of which have lost all their details with time, but not their essence. They must have fought and argued with each other. Vicious misunderstanding which perhaps would have more than once threatened their very relationship. They must have dreamed of their perfect home and chosen a sofa, a dinner table for it together. They must have expected so much from each other and yet sometimes, when it was needed, let the other be alone to do his or her own thing. But these passionate things are past now. What remains is a routine to be followed from here on to the very end. Not by choice but by compulsion. Your body simply won't tolerate anything new. It is heart wrenching to see something that started with such fun, passion and love, end up so dry, mundane and dead.

Amour is about a musician couple for whom old age is now a reality. Their once colorful and bright lives are now a series of slow movements and brief sentences. Illnesses set in and things go generally south. I was wondering what would it do to my self respect if i lose the ability to do the most mundane of everyday tasks? If i need to call for help every time i need to change my clothes? What if i know that this will never get better, old age is not reversible. Who would you ask for help everyday? Your partner is as old as you are. Your kids have their own lives their own worries to take care of. And what if you don't have any kids? Perhaps you would wish your parents were alive. I guess your mother is the only person you can ask for something without worrying how she would manage to do it. But she will be long long gone.

Somehow in India old age does not look that bad, yet. People still live with their parents. But things might change. You cannot demand freedom and independence (living separately) in your youth and then expect your kids to sacrifice their own plans and stay with you in your old age. That is just hypocrisy of the first degree. I increasingly feel our old age would not look like what we are seeing our parents go through right now. It would look more like what they show in Western movies. And it is a horrible terrible sight.
I have known people who get married and time their kids such that when they get old, their kids will be just the right age to come in handy. I don't know if their plan will work. I wish them the very best. For me, i have decided. The day i am not able to make it to the toilet and back on my own, i will register for sky-diving lessons. And if that doesn't work, i have a few other things on my mind.

Happy thirty third birthday to me.

PS: The other two movies that i saw on my long Mumbai - San Francisco flight were The Hobbit and Fargo. Both great movies, but not as rattling as this one. 

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