Recycled Teenager.

Today a classmate from school and good friend turned 80. I rang him up to convey my greetings and best wishes for many more birthdays and he was quite nostalgic about our last meeting in 1965. Yes, I left Madras as it was then known and, now as Chennai that year but, he has continued to live there since.

Among other things that we talked about, we did discuss our current health and well being issues and wished each other well.

After a while, another friend also about my age sent this message to me in WhatsApp.

There were some more messages, all in one day, talking about and dare I say, belittling, trivialising and or giving excuses for old age. And then there was this very heart warming story in Jean’s blog which brought a smile on my life.

This got me thinking about ageing and how today’s social media is trying to talk about it in a manner totally different from what it used to be in the ‘good old days’.

Elders were admired for their longevity and hopefully, wisdom and were expected to behave like elders. Their maturity was taken for granted.  They were not recycled teenagers.  And, they had and continued to live and died, like I do now and will eventually.

Bucket List.

After I had seen The Bucket List, I have been talking to people about it and my own bucket list which is a work in progress. Since my father died last year however, I have been able to score off a number of items on my list as I have been able to travel freely and even within Pune have enough freedom to do many things that I was not able to due to my care-giving duties.

A series of developments starting with an innocuous question from Ranjan this morning took me visiting family albums today and I went on a nostalgia trip thanks to the modern internet that has enabled my siblings and other family members to upload photographs that can be easily accessed.

The first photograph here shows me in the middle, my younger brother Arvind to my right and the youngest Barath to my left. This would have been circa 1949 just before or just as our youngest sibling Padmini was born in Madras now known as Chennai. The car at the back is a 4 Cylinder English Citroen Traction Avant. My late father and his younger brother had a particular fondness for these cars and had many, including a couple or so of the six cylinder version with steering wheel on the left side, pass through their hands in the early 1940s and 1950s before they switched over to big American cars.


I distinctly remember going to see Padmini after she was born in a nursing home in this Citroen. A fact that was driven home to me by my uncle in 1971 when I had gone to Madras to attend Padmini’s wedding and was using a friend’s car which was exactly the same model as this one on the picture. My friend, an automobile engineer had kept this old beauty in top class condition and it was a pleasure for me to drive it around with Urmeela and Ranjan who was then a tiny three month old boy. Needless to say, that the Citroen and Ranjan were the topics most discussed by me with all attending the wedding.

Fast-forward to February 2013, a lot of water has flown down the Cooum since then but the four of us met up in Madras when Barath had come down. This time, the youngest and the apple of all our eyes, Padmini was with us for a group photograph. From left Arvind, Barath, Padmini and yours truly, all four of us looking quite pleased with ourselves for the way we have turned out.
the four Rs

This time around the topic of conversation was the latest grand child in the family. Barath’s grandson Finlay George who was sorely missed by all of us as two sets of grandchildren were at that time in Chennai; Padmini’s two grand daughters and Arvind’s two grand sons. Earlier towards the end of last year I had gone over to Delhi to meet up with Arvind’s grand son and grand daughter who live there, and two grand sons who live in Bengaluru.

My son Ranjan and his partner Manjiri saw The Bucket List last night and this morning came and asked me what is the top most on my bucket list. I did not have to take even a second to respond. It is to go over to the UK and spend some time with Finlay George.

To score that item off my list, two other items have to be scored off before and that is the only thing that is preventing me from achieving that end.  It is a matter of time, but they will be scored off and I will take off to meet up with this delightful little fellow who is the youngest Rajgopaul now.  It should be a grand moment when the eldest and the youngest lay eyes on each other.