You are as young as your faith, as old as your doubt; as young as your self-confidence, as old as your fear; as young as your hope, as old as your despair. ~Douglas MacArthur
The yellow leaves of the tree do not contribute in the photosynthesis anymore, they maybe be all but waiting to fall off and become one with the soil, eager to make way for the young green ones. But the same cannot be said about the senior citizens of the society. They may be old but they are not yet out. With sheer happiness, wonder and affection I studied my surrounding and found out how they contribute to our society in their own special way. In a way that only they can.
Nearing 85,my grandmother was an epitome of health and hard work. All through her life she had been laboring around the house. She stayed in my native village where luxury does not come so easily. At the ripe age of 60 plus I have seen her pulling the cow around the field. Tying and untying it, feeding it, milking it. Whenever she visited us she was eager to get back, coz she does not know how to handle a day in which you do nothing. When all we need to do is to press some switches to get things into action. Where you stare into a screen to see the wonders of nature rather than going out and relishing it. No cows to milk, no mangoes to gather, no walks to the nearby river for her bath. She started looking tired and worn out.
The corner shop near my parent’s house is run by another elderly person. He is perhaps running the shop since the last 50 years or so I’ve heard. The shop has hardly changed in size. The products have changed ,the customers too, but he is the same. Opens the shop at around 6 in the morning. Sweeps and cleans it himself, arranges the glass bottles filled with sweets, pickled mango and gooseberry and sits their till 8 in the night. He married off his girls, sent his son for higher studies. All of this with whatever he gets from the shop. He is still pitching in with financial help for the kids to build their own house…….A salute.
Another grandpa whom I came to notice is perhaps a milk man. Grandpa because he does not know his age. To me he does not look a day less than 100. He walks his cows to the field to graze everyday at 8 .With a stick in one hand, (more for supporting his weak body and limp than to make the cows obey) and his lunch box in the other. He returns only by 6 in the evening. The cows all well fed and satisfied.
In the city also the scene is no different. I have seen grandfathers who are fitter than the fathers. Who make it a point to exercise their old bones while the young ones take their body for granted. Dropping off and picking up their grandchildren, purchasing vegetables. They attend yoga classes and form laughter clubs. I know of an aunty who is way above 70 but conducts stitching and painting classes . They enthusiastically form the head of all associations and clubs. Why not? We could benefit a lot from their experience.
There is an old saying ,which compares the seniors to the yellow leaves and the youngsters to the green ones. No more. They are still giving us shade and breeze.They are not taking their age as an excuse to sit back and relax. With such enthisuasm leading the way, all we need to do is follow, and keep the good work going.
There is a sparkling twinkle,
In every little wrinkle.
If the ‘spring’ is in the soul……
No ‘winter’ can make you old.