Monday, November 15, 2010

Promises To Keep

Since i have really no one around to patiently listen to my BHADAAS ( pent up anger, frustrations) i shall very easily take refuge and rant not against the wall but on my blog.
Some geriatric care has been dumped on my head when i should have happily planned my 25th wedding anniversary.
Not that i am a mean character but when your guests turn out to be like those scheming manipulative characters from the Indian TV soap opera you are at a tremendous loss if you don't have a neat pal around to listen to your tales of woe. Because i am the kind who just needs a patient listening to problems that i know can NEVER be resolved.
Am i sounding like a negative person? Can't help it at this juncture because my own life has been a workshop of sorts which has taught me a few very important lessons.
Lessons that i just learnt by rote while at school but have come to understand well enough the meanings of , through my own trials and tribulations.
Something like, " Doosht na chhoday dushtata
                          Nahin kahoo sukh dait
                          Dhoya hoon sau bair kay
                          Kajal hoyay na shwait.''
Am actually forgetting which one this is...whether it is by Kabir , Rahim or Tulsi Das but quite capable to give my own simple explanation.
Which is that no matter how hard you try,  you can never change people with an evil bend of mind. No amount of your service or goodness can ever make them clean. A piece of cloth that has been soiled by kohl never gets it's original whiteness back. Even when you try to clean it hundred times it remains a piece with a smudge.

i try and try to keep myself ignore but hopelessly fail in my attempts and the annoyance starts building up to such an extent that i start oozing out malice with a timid stench.
Let me explain...what i mean.

These geriatrics who are now with me are a classic example of what we know as HYPOCHONDRIACS.
If they are not bad mouthing their daughter-in-laws or not watching the soap operas on Colours (TV Channel) one after the other, then the only thing that they talk about or are concerned with is their HEALTH.
The onus of which falls on my head or the poor new recruit who is still an apprentice under my tutelage.
Health for a lady who is a huge 5ft 8 inches and weighs 70 kgs. And health for her man who looks a measely 65kgs and is 6ft tall.
So practically from the time one should be seen to be having a relaxed morning cuppa with the newspaper you will find these two following a diet that should put all the health clinics to shame. One look at their time-table chart and you will know that i am not exaggerating. the morning... Sprouts...which also has soaked peanuts, almonds and whatever dry fruits that you have on the kitchen shelf for your desserts. Plus one apple and two Goodday biscuits.
To be followed by a cup of tea.
8-8.30 a glass of freshly squeezed juice. (The more expensive the fruit the better the taste of the juice).
9.30 breakfast... the good balanced South Indian breakfast of either Dosa, Sambhar Chutney or Rava Upma Chutney and when they feel heavy just Idli , Sambhar Chutney. Of course to be followed by some fruit which should not be a repeat of the 7 o' clock fruit.
A change of an English breakfast with toasts, eggs and juice is desired on alternate days,  now that they have a new set of dentures to chew the deliciously smelling butter soaked crisp hot toasts.
11. is the time reserved especially for a glass of Milk with either Horlicks or Badam Mix whichever is available.
1.30  Lunch comprising Rice, Dal, 2-3 vegetables, salad and a bowl full of yoghurt with sugar.
4  tea with two biscuits the evening a slight snack of sandwiches/ bajjis/noodles or any new hot snack that you can offer.
9.30  Dinner with Phulkas, vegetables and Dal and one dessert made of milk be it rice kheer or vermicelli kheer or even fruit custard.
10  before bedtime a glass of milk once again with Horlicks or Bournvita.
The routine is practically the same everyday with slight changes in the lunch in which twice a week instead of vegetables, non -vegetarian dishes are preferred not only to break the monotony but because it is good for health and will provide them with the much needed proteins and strength.
Pretty impressive isn't it.
Now with all this brouhaha over food the entire day along with a commendable sense of hygiene and punctuality it is ironical that the lady complains that there are times she experiences extreme weakness of the sort that she feels giddy and finds it difficult even to get up from the bed.
Or you should see her kind concern for her man whom she says is experiencing a gradual loss of weight.

i want to scream my lungs out, '' For heaven sakes you are fine, just getting a bit old that's all.''  But i can't and the frustration starts building up.
i begin to hopefully anticipate indigestion which happens on following a rich diet with a sedentary lifestyle but NO with hypochondriacs like these that could be doomsday for me.
For when even a common cold turns the house upside down think what indigestion for them would do to me and my poor chappie who is seen perpetually hovering around either them or the kitchen.
Also for me my countenance will project uneasiness, irritation and huge amounts of sadness.
i look like i am suffering with incontinence, indigestion and what not.
See what i mean by timid malice now.
Not that i am proud to say it but on the contrary i feel small and guilty.

i begin to feel scared too about my own self. i start to question myself... say 10 years from now will i be the same.
Will i stop all that i  do...the wonderful things that i do that keep me so satisfied mentally and instead torture everyone around me with a fanatic focus on routine,  food and cheap gossips?
Will i respond to my son's long distance hello and his enqiury about my well being with a perfunctory, " Just rolling on...somehow... ."
Will i make a simple ache and pain sound like a life threatening ailment that needs a proper scan ?
And when i have a  laser cataract surgery...will i announce to the world that the doctor has advised me to keep away from the heat of the gas stove?
And worse still will i run to my son overseas to get my dentures done...after tormenting him with the sordid details on phone as to how pathetic my life has been without enjoying something as basic as a simple meal of dal roti which now i have to slurp instead of chew?
i question and answer them myself with a negative that is very very positive..."No i'd rather hang myself before doing all that".
i say this to myself but have serious doubts. For there are too many instances to prove that history repeats itself.
Someone had said this, " Age is like the newest version of a software- it has a bunch of great new features but you lost all the cool features the original version had."
Maybe in your twilight years you do become a health freak but whatever happens to your easy going carefree self...your sense to take it cool be it a loss of weight or even a bad headache ?
It must be fear then and a strong desire to live longer. Perhaps it could even be a simple ploy to grab the attention of kids who are too busy with their own lives than to make their folks an object of their affection.
i begin to mull over this and realise that the fear of ill health is closely linked with old age and fear of death.
That it may be a natural phenomenon then to indulge into self coddling and suffer from what i have just dubbed as hypochondria.

The fact is that soon even before i realise and accept,  there would be a deepening of the wrinkles but i'd rather that my wrinkle should have a twinkle instead of fear.
Wasn't it Brigitte Bardot who said, " It's sad to grow old, but nice to ripen."
So i have now promises to make for myself...hopefully to keep.
First and foremost i will try to remember growing old as a bad habit which i shall prevent from forming. And this i shall do by keeping myself busy and doing whatever i plants...some embroidery...lots of reading...travelling...maybe even blogging...
Secondly and most importantly,  tomorrow morning i shall happily carry out the routines for my folks and will try my best to prevent that building up of my own timid malice. And instead of referring to them silently and otherwise as hypochondriacs say something like ' heightened illness concern' every time they raise a medical issue.
D.H.Lawrence and his words feel like a prayer to me...

Beautiful Old Age

It ought to be lovely to be old
to be full of the peace that comes of experience
and wrinkled ripe fulfilment.

The wrinkled smile of completeness that follows a life
lived undaunted and unsoured with accepted lies
they would ripen like apples, and be scented like pippins
in their old age.

Soothing, old people should be, like apples
when one is tired of love.
Fragrant like yellowing leaves, and dim with the soft
stillness and satisfaction of autumn.

And a girl should say:
It must be wonderful to live and grow old.
Look at my mother, how rich and still she is! -

And a young man should think: By Jove
my father has faced all weathers, but it's been a life!


And maybe i should register this Email in a manner that it stays put before forwarding it and later deleting it. This one arrived just on time to raise my sagging spirit which was getting more fed up than being tired.
The beautiful card with cute drawing,  gives tips on How To Stay Young And Happy.
1. Throw out non-essential numbers.
    This includes age, weight and height.
    ( Let the doctors worry about them. That is why you pay them).

2. Keep only cheerful friends. The grouches pull you down.
    ( Keep this in mind if you are one of those grouches)

3. Keep Learning.
    Learn more about the computers, crafts, gardening, whatever.
    Never let the brain get idle.
    ' An idle mind is a devil's workshop'
     and the devil's name is Alzheimer's.

4. Enjoy the simple things.

5. Laugh often, long and loud.
    Laugh until you gasp for breath.
    And if you have a friend who makes you laugh, spend lots and lots of time with him or her.                                          

6. The tear happens.
    Endure, grieve and move on.    
    The only person who is with us our entire life is ourself.
    Live while you are alive.

7. Surround yourself with what you love.
    Whether it is family, pets, keepsakes, music, plants, hobbies, whatever.
    Your home is your refuge.

8. Cherish your health.
    If it is good preserve it.
    If it is unstable, improve it.
    If it is beyond what you can to improve, get help.

9. Don't take guilt trips.                      
    Take a trip to the mall, even to a foreign country, but not where guilt is.

10. Tell people that you love them, at every opportunity.

And always remember; Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

The pink email card that banished my blues away the one i have just made note of... hopefully to follow it that way...
Thank God i have friends who reach out to me... just on time...regardless of a quid pro quo...

  Image courtesy:


  1. i promise u r going to freak out on your anniversary.we never know how we would b when we r old beome strong and let people not effect u start pre paring for the sojourn.i really appreciate the tips to remain young and healthy.thanx.

  2. @ Gauri Thank you sis for ur good wishes and for being so prompt.
    Yeah the tips...very useful...hope we live it that way.Amen

  3. wonderful...i've started liking your writings more and more. I don't know how to give blog awards, otherwise would have given you loads of them! This surely was a colorful post! And as you might know i like anything that inspires me. And it surely did. Can never forget 'How to stay young and happy!'

  4. @Kiran Thank you. That you like what i have to say and i feel rewarded already. Although i just try my level best just to let my blogs speak out my thoughts.And when someone aprreciates i feel rewarded in the sense that i know somewhere out there found something that inspired them or even educated them.
    Thanks again for stopping by. :)

  5. Excellent excellent post. And the images go really well with the content.
    Guess your post is a good 25 years too early.
    I have never had any thoughts about this. But your post made me think. And you make people have happy thoughts. Keep it up :-)

  6. @Raja Thank you and it feels good what you just said about the 'happy thoughts'.:)

  7. Hope and pray you have a wonderful silver wedding anniversary celebration. Nothing should stop you from having a wonderful time to spend with all your family and friends (me included).
    Shivani, old age brings with it lots of virtual ailments. ‘Virtual’ because many of these ailments are fragments of imagination. Many of us go through this phase in life as humans, without bothering anyone. Some (hopefully a small number) really become headaches, eyesores and become a treat for the environment around them. It’s really sad that one ends up finally becoming a burden. But then strange are the ways of life indeed.
    The ultimate truth which each one of us should be aware and accept is ‘death itself’. It’s the prime truth which we have to accept as we pass through various stages of life and is nothing to be really afraid of.
    Good post Shivani, but I must say it was sort of too direct narration of your present predicament with your guests who take the liberty to enjoy them selves at your expense. My point of view is to take this in your stride and make them as happy as possible. These elderly guests are like kids now. Probably their thought processes are not what we can fathom as they themselves may be not aware. Hope and pray the almighty gives you the strength and the patience to bear with them.
    By the way being 5ft 8 inches and weighing 70 kgs is not being huge. In fact it is ideal weight. Another thing is don’t get carried away with the fear of getting old. Accomplish as much as possible at every age and let not the surroundings decide your age. Age is as old as you feel.

  8. @Tandarin thank you so much for such a sound counselling done in the manner i would expect from someone whom i consider now to be a good friend.
    Yeah i know i sounded mean and cruel but there was more to the story to make me feel what i felt but nevertheless i know i have to be patient.
    As for calling the 5 ft 8 inches weighing 70 kgs huge was just my way of venting out. Sry but was just in one of those moods when i was just so exhausted and annoyed.
    Just wanted to share the guilt too through my post.
    Thank God u heard and then said what was apt.
    Thanks for that.:)

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