Of the age of the mind and that of the body

The age of the mind and the age of the body, are they two different things? Do some people ‘grow young as they grow old’ ?Are some among us ‘born old’, tending more to the social ideas of how life is to be lived by grown ups?

The numerous posts and updates on social media never tire of reminding us of those who seem to defy age. Posts on young people, especially children who put on an ‘older act’ are extremely popular so are posts that show ‘age-defying’ antics of the old.

I am most certainly not setting  shop for some anti-aging solutions here. But to think of the age of the mind and that of the body as two different concepts is interesting.

Some among us conduct ourselves in ways too different from those of our ‘body age’, and vice versa.

“I just don’t like the way those of my age use swear words and they think I am different!”, said some one.

“Madam”, a friend of mine was told, “If I were you, I would not wear such clothes, not at your age!”, this unsolicited piece of advice left my friend furious and fuming.

As a society, we, have very clear ideas of how a person at a certain age should behave, the brunt of which is often borne by the adolescents, “damned if you do, damned if you don’t”!

If you look closely, an individual acts different ages at different times, so much like the way we communicate that is obviously different at home, at office, in social circles, while talking to a stranger,a superior and so on.

Should we not then allow for a little of a ‘child in an adult’ or ‘an adult in a child’?!

Say for instance, the sight of a mouth watering delicacy can bring the child in the best of adults and if talked to and reasoned out, many children conduct themselves in ways more dignified than that of an adult.

 

Some of us tend to feel more comfortable in the company of those who are of a different body age than ours.Our likes and dislikes, our habits and interests may be suitable to those of  a different body age.

Have you gasped at the sight of a couple who have a larger age gap between themselves?

The times we live in have definitely allowed us to be more acceptable of gender roles and gender reassignment is becoming more common helping individuals know who they are, outside the conventional norms of ‘defined gender roles’.

How then about age? Age reassignment is not yet happening or is it on the way?

How many times have you been asked to behave your age? How did that make you feel?

In India age is still a huge factor in relationships.

Parents would choose someone of the same body age for their wards in the case of an arranged marriage.

In love marriages which are increasingly gaining acceptance, I don’t think its very different either.

In the professional world there are again very rigid expectations with respect to the age bracket you fall into.

My former boss constantly reminded me of the crippling impact of menopause on performance at work, she being younger to me by one year.

I should have asked her to watch the movie, “The Intern”!

The dedication with which the so-called ‘older generation’ has taken to the world of the internet should, ideally, make us rethink our notions of age.

What is your take on the age of the mind and that of the body? Are they two different concepts?

Have you ever been told that you are too young or too old for a job or a relationship?

Do share your views.

 

Arth (1982) – A Mahesh Bhat Film

Arth,_1982_film

One cannot but think of how ‘woman’ , ‘relationships’, ‘love’ are treated with authenticity in a Mahesh Bhat film. Or is it the case with all the films of yesterday?

Arth explores values, relationships, expectations, feminism, glamour, greed and every possible aspect of human existence with an unparalleled intensity.

Pooja, a girl who grew up in an orphanage desires a stable home after her marriage. It is her dream. Pooja argues with her husband when he quits jobs and presses him for the realization of her dream, her own home.

While her husband played by Kulbhushan Kharbanda buys her a dream home and lavishes her with enough money to adorn it the way she wants, there is a catch to it.

The money he gave his wife was a price for his ensuing absence from her life, paid by his mistress, the famous actress, Kavitha essayed by Smitha Patil.

With the most acclaimed Indian actresses of the times, Shabana Azmi and Smitha Patil pitted against each other as the wife and the love interest of the man, Kulbushan Kharbanda, the story is set to intrigue and entice, with exceptional acting and great onscreen chemistry. Shabana’s waif like slim and slender appearance with clear skin and bright eyes is a treat to watch. In fact, it is her eyes that speak,emote and act in the movie.

When Pooja comes to know of the truth behind her husband’s actions, she vacates the house and moves into a hostel with just Rs. 2000 which she initially had with her. Pooja is comforted by the pleasant company of a Ghazal singer, Raj, who proposes to her.

Pooja’s maid whom she had often counselled and comforted is jailed for the murder of her husband. Pooja adopts the young girl and decides to bring her up as her own.

Pooja signs divorce papers for her husband Inder and even goes to Kavitha’s home to assure her that she was not going to topple their love life.

Inder, Pooja’s husband in the meanwhile has difficulty in his relationship with Kavitha who is insecure about Inder and Pooja.

Kavitha requests Inder to return to his wife.

When Inder returns Pooja expresses her unwillingness to accept him.

Pooja also declines Raj’s proposal to marry her.

She decides to spend the rest of her life with her maid’s daughter, now adopted by her.

I have always wondered at the As-You-Like-It-ness of love and life. You love someone, that someone loves another someone and it goes on….

The inability of one human being to find happiness in what he/she has can lead to endless confusions and trials in the lives of so many others.

But, it is one life, as they say, it is up to each one to decide what is that he/she wants from life.

In matters of love and living, nothing there is no absolutes in terms of right or wrong.

The movie has some excellent ghazals sung by Jagjeet Singh and Chithra Singh, my personal favourite being ..tum itna jo muskara rahe ho…kya gum hai jo chupa rahe ho…

Was it Shelley who said, our sweetest songs are those that sing of our saddest thoughts?!

 

The Pursuit of Happyness- The Movie

This part of my life is called -Movies for mind food and what could be a better choice than the incredible ‘The Pursuit of Happyness’ starring the adorable Jaden Smith(the younger self)and Will Smith.

One can easily relate to Chris Gardner’s devotion to his son and his determination to make it big for both of them.

Not withstanding the truth that hard work alone may not pay every time, the movie manages to make a case for the old school values of hard work and focus that lead to success.

Jaden Smith impresses as a little boy who finds comfort with his father even when there is almost no security.

It is amazing how children can be talked to with affection and respect to understand and accept a situation however harsh it might be.The ‘willing suspension of disbelief’ in the entering the dinosaur era and seeking comfort in the public toilet by the father and son is a case in point.

Chris’ reaching the interview straight from the prison in soiled clothes and then clinching it is another example of the power of sheer grit displayed by the character.

The film is replete with instances of exemplary courage and commitment displayed by Chris Gardner, the understanding of his wife who allows the son to stay on and the little boy who with his mere presence gives comfort to the struggling father.

While some part of the movie may look contrived, it is elevated by the  intense acting displayed by both Will Smith and his son, Jaden Smith.

Inch by inch, bit by bit, Chris Gardner moves towards success and stardom, leaving a hope in the mind of the viewer that a touch of luck, a lot of  hard work and a few good friends can work wonders in any one’s life.

 

 

Drop everything and listen

Lend me an ear

give me a chance

hear me out…

Just listen to someone, any one, because it is a miracle in the happening.

By allowing someone just to speak out to you, you are doing a great service to humanity.

You are saving lives, hopes and dreams.

You are giving courage, strength and confidence.

You, by the virtue of being there, with your ears open, are a blessing.

Do not underestimate your value, the value of your listening to someone.

Alternatively, you can use the power of listening to your own advantage.

Speak out to the next person, even if it’s a stranger, about your life, your dreams and your hopes.

You are giving yourself a second chance by doing so.

You are keeping your aspirations alive.

“Hey, listen, this is what I have to say. Hear me out please…”

There is no ego to be lost in saying that. There is instead a lot to gain, maybe a friend or at least a lighter heart.

Well! you can also speak to yourself, if you can’t find any one.

That is good enough too.

Just talk yourself out of anything that weighs you down.

Or look around and read the signs.

The universe is constantly talking to you.  All you need to do is to tune in.

It is amazing how little we listen and how much better our lives would be if we only listened to our own hearts and to what others have to say or are sometimes trying to say.

By listening, I don’t mean the usual “listen to me,now”, the-kind-of-urgency-creation to follow an instruction, but just listening with empathy.

I was at work when I got a message from a friend that I love dearly, “hey, blah…blah..blah and I am feeling terrible..blah..blah..blah”.I don’t remember much about what I said or how it helped but surely I was thrilled to bits. Did I feel privileged that he chose to talk to me? Perhaps.

As a teacher I get to listen to my students as they share their fears and worries.”I am not high class enough, you see. That is why it happens to me all the time”, said a girl otherwise bright and cheerful.

After they read about the gruesome rape and murder of a young girl, my girls came to me ,”What do we do, mam? How do we now go out and follow our dreams? Our parents are so worried,” they said.

A dear friend diagnosed with breast cancer recovered quickly and credited her speedy recovery to the support of friends.

“It helped me a lot”, she said, “that all of you kept talking me out of my fears and that you were always willing to  listen to my anxieties.” Her courage impressed her physicians, her friends and her family.

The other day I called her,” Listen to me,will you?.” ” Of course, I will”, she said.

“What else do you want me to do?,”she asked eager to help.”Just that, I want only that”, said I realizing the value of having someone listen to me.

It seemed like a pact. And it surely is working.

I have a small group of friends and family that willingly listen to me, at my worst or my best.

While my father, my brother and a few select friends listen to me, I spend a lot of time listening to my mother,my daughter , my students and my friends.

At work or at home or wherever you are, keep your ears open, there might just be some one around who wants to talk to you, just you and it is a privilege to be talked to. So don’t let go of the opportunity to lend a helping hand to someone and help yourself in the process…

All ears, aren’t you?

 

 

 

 

So, what does your husband do?

“So, what does your husband do?” My good friend, Anu, is asked this question not at a kitty party or some informal gathering but at a job interview.

Some how, for some reasons that Anu could never fathom, what her husband does or does not do for a living seems to speak a lot about her talents and abilities.

Many a time,such a question is followed by raised eyebrows which ask ,’So, what are you doing about it?’.

Really! thought Anu, what can one adult do about another adult who suddenly becomes a champion of ideas of ‘non co-operation, it’s a bad world outside, I can do only so much etc.?’

Isn’t it supposed to be commonsense to know what is to be done?

Initially Anu loved making up stories about the many talents of her ‘maverick’ spouse who can just about do anything. She loved painting interesting pictures, imaginary, of course, of the wonderful enlightened thoughts and ideas that emanated from that increasingly escapist skull!

The trouble began only when Anu sort of forgot what she had told earlier to someone. It created serious difficulty in giving her ‘my spouse is great even when doing nothing’ story the necessary build up. Some how, her friends and family seemed to have an elephantine memory in this regard and they always caught her off-guard.

“But last time you said?” “Oh, did I?”

Anu realized the difficulties inherent in making up a new story every time. She decided to keep it simple and just be honest.

Definitely, unemployability was no sin.

When the questioning became repetitive and probing, Anu was upfront, ‘Hey, no, he is not working’,a heavy silence ensued from the other side, this was followed by a consolatory, ‘it’s ok, it happens’ .

Anu laughed to herself. ‘What else could you even say?’, she jeered in silence.

But conversation never ended there. Outpouring of suggestions, plan of action, experts’ advice, novice’s guidance, I am not sure, maybe you can try this etc. always followed.

Until, Anu sighed resignedly to announce, ‘So, it’s like this. The situation is grim, but as you can see, I am pulling along”, with a ‘Vote of Thanks’ sort of gravity.

This was a clear signal and the conversation was steered on to other interesting habits of other spouses on the planet and their misdemeanors.

But, what relevance does the question have in a job interview, Anu wondered.

Do men get asked the similar questions she wanted to know.

Pyaasa – A Gurudutt Film

pyaasa

That artists and writers don’t earn enough is social scandal that is centuries old. The film ‘Pyaasa’ takes inspiration from life histories of innumerable artists and writers who have died in penury to illustrate the point.

Produced and directed by Gurudutt, the movie also stars him as the protagonist. Vijay is a struggling poet who is trying to get social acceptance and recognition. His verses are considered useless by his 2 brothers and is sold off as waste. While Vijay’s mother argues the case of her youngest son and urges his elder brothers to take care of him, they are ruthless in their treatment and throw him out of the house.

Vijay rummages the shop of the old man who sells waste paper in search of his precious poems or ‘nagma’. The note books in which he had scribbled his poems have been bought by a prostitute, Gulabo, who sings the songs enchantingly. While sleeping in the park, Vijay listens to her songs and follows her. Gulabo, however, turns him away rudely, when she realises he is not a worthy customer.

She regrets this soon as she finds a few lines of his poetry that fell from his pocket and realizes that Vijay is the poet whose lines she had been singing all the while.

In the meanwhile, Vijay meets his ex-girl friend who is now married to a successful publisher, Mr. Ghosh. Ghosh hires the services of Vijay as a servant. At a party at Ghosh’s house, Vijay renders his poetry with elan and is well received by the public. Dejected at his fate, Vijay wanders aimlessly to the railway tracks where he gives his coat to an old beggar shivering in cold. The beggar is then run over by a train and it is believed that Vijay has been killed.

Mr. Ghosh in the meanwhile discovers the potential of Vijay’s poems from the note books that Gulabo gives him to preserve the memory of the great poet and publishes his works. His poems are a great hit and receive great public acclaim. A recuperating Vijay realises that his poems are a rage and asserts his identity. Influenced by Mr. Ghosh who does not want to share the profits, Vijay’s friends and family refuse to accept who he is.

Vijay then reaches a grand memorial service purportedly organized in his honor.  Vijay is hurt by the hypocrisy of the society and in front of the whole crowd accepts that he is not ‘Vijay’, the poet.

He decides to start a new life with Gulabo, his only true friend and lover.

Hailed as a classic,the film though melodramatic strikes a chord with the audience even today.  Though a few scenes look contrived,the film sends a powerful message across and forces the viewer to introspect upon the deteriorating values in the society.

It’s my body

“It’s my body,” she said angrily. “Its been months now years even, since I allowed my husband to touch me.He barely tolerates me otherwise. Why should night be any different? I hate to be used by anyone.”

“He calls me useless because I refuse to sleep with him. Yes, I refuse to sleep with my husband and it’s my decision. Do I still enjoy sex? Perhaps I do. Not for perfunctoriness of the act, not as a conjugal duty but as an act of love, yes, may be.” As she spoke, lines of worry creased her otherwise beautiful visage.

She’s, 43 and looks half her age. Her perfectly coiffured hair sets off her brown eyes brilliantly, the colored lips and the wide smile makes her a warm inviting person. Yet, she said, “Its a cold life, rather too cold. I am threatened that I will be left back home. Oh, yes, I said do it. I will be delighted to be on my own. That’s exactly what I want.”

Married soon after her graduation, Anu barely had time to make sense of what was happening in her life. At her marriage, she said, “I am not very beautiful, perhaps there cannot be a better guy for me. My parents are insistent and I just agreed to their demand. ”

The birth of her little boy and the joys of nurturing him kept her engaged. It helped that her husband was well-placed monetarily. “Yes, we did have our share of fun.”

After coming to Bangalore, Anu wanted to explore work like other ladies in her apartment. Her friends urged her to find some work and get out of the confines of her home. Anu was keen, her husband did not agree. “What will you do outside? Who will employ you? You are pretty stupid.” He said to her,killing whatever self esteem she had.

When her husband got a transfer to another place and with her only son in college, Anu took her friend’s help to get a job, a decent one, an administrator in an educational institution.

After joining, after earning her first salary, Anu was thrilled to bits.” They absolutely adore me at my work. They have only compliments to shower on me.” Soon Anu was driving herself to work.

The work, the appreciation,the admiring glances of her colleagues worked wonders. Anu was all aglow when her husband came home for a short vacation. And the fight broke out.

“What is it with him?”,Anu cried, “Why can’t he take no for an answer?”

As her disgruntled spouse threatened to divorce her and find a new partner for himself, Anu cried in delight, “I want just that!”

Anu’s spouse has returned to where he is posted.He has assured her that he will get himself transferred back to the city. ” I want to see how long you will enjoy, once I am here”, he added menacingly.

Anu sighed. Until he returns….peace!