The day begins when the alarm goes off. No. Actually that is a wrong statement. I was awake for quite some time before the alarm went off. But when the alarm goes off you kind of reckon that the inevitable has happened and the day has begun.
Lying in the bed I was thinking about how the year went by when Jack, my Great Dane, jumped in my bed. When a Great Dane jumps in your bed you feel as if there is a small earthquake. It shakes up the bed and removes any possibility of falling asleep again.
“Oh come on Jack!” I said. “This is not done. You don’t even say ‘Good Morning’ and fall in my bed like a soldier jumping in the dugout. Without a warning. Ambush, it was!”
“Sorry, I am really very sorry! I was very excited; I wanted to wish you Happy Birthday before you got up from the bed.” Jack said but his enthusiasm had taken a hit. There are things I like about Jack. He is such a lovable dog. I smiled when I noticed Jill, my Siamese cat was sitting near the window. God has marveled in creating opposites. Jill was looking at us with what appeared deceptively as a poker face, but anybody making minute observation would have noticed a certain disdain in her expressions. Cats have a unique ability to wipe off your smile instantly. But her expressions changed as our eyes met.
“Happy Birthday!” She said and continued, “I really wonder why people celebrate their birthdays when they get old. One should not remind them of birthdays.”
“I agree with you, Jill. I feel Mark Twain was right when he said ‘Life would be infinitely happier if we could only be born at the age of eighty and gradually approach eighteen.’ Ha ha!”
“You are now sixty-two years old. You have seen so much in life. You should write about it.” Jack advised.
“Wait. I was thinking about the Mark Twain remark. What he is saying is that life should become more enjoyable as we ‘age,’ though in his prescription it will be physically in the reverse. We can’t wish away getting older but can we not make life more enjoyable even if we grow older?” Jill asked. Trust Jill for asking some interesting questions.
“Oh, cats have nine lives so they can think like this!” Jack commented with a smirk on his face. “But I take your point. Life must be made more interesting no matter what’s the age. And one of the ways to do it is to associate with good people.”
“Well there can be many way to do it. What makes it different is that we must not look at life already lived. We must think about the life ahead.” Jill said.
“The trouble is that nobody knows if we will be alive tomorrow, although we live and believe that we are immortal!”
“Oh yes! And so we think of our friends and relatives too. When PG Wodehouse was told of the death of his daughter, he said ‘Oh! I thought she was immortal!’”
“I do not know how life can be made interesting. I never did it consciously. It has always happened to me. Life became interesting, it was never made interesting. How does one do it?” Jack asked his innocent question.
“I knew men always live like what you said; I never knew dogs also live like that. Remember what Gurdjieff said?” Jill asked. “He compared human beings to sheep who were hypnotized by a magician until they were ready for a slaughter house! Oh, what an insight! We all live like that, not just you, Jack.”
“I keep talking to myself almost all the time. Now I realize that I have to decide what to do, and do it. There is so much yet to be done.” I responded.
“Like what?” Jack asked.
“Like I want to write, I want to paint. I want to travel. I want to read… I have my long list.” I said.
Jill was still lost in her thoughts. “Osho tells a story of Mulla Nasaruddin who stormed out of his office and said, ‘Something has got to be done about those six phones on my desk. For the past five minutes I have been talking to myself!’”
“Ha ha! With sixty-two years gone, I realize that time is short, and I have to get going. Abhee to hath me jaam hai, tauba kitna kaam hai!” I said as if I was quoting Mirza Ghalib.
“Get out of the bed then, let us get going.” Jack said enthusiastically. “I am with you.”
Pic courtesy: Purebreadpuppy.com. Stuffpoint.com
Labels: Old age, quality of life