As We Age

As a newborn, we are blissfully ignorant about anything in this universe except for pain and pleasure. We are not involved in anything about when, where and why we are born to a particular couple. We do not realize the implications of their color, religion and language in our own lives. We fail to recognize any of the direct and indirect implications of our births on others around. We do not bother about who brings food for us and how he or she gets it for us. We can hardly distinguish between the good and bad. All things of pleasure are good for us and we go for it repeatedly. As time pass by, we gain the knowledge and develop the instincts for survival. It will be interesting to go through a few such realizations in our lives so far.

As we age, we realize how insignificant we are in this vast universe of about 6 billion human beings, which is just one species of the millions that inhabit this planet alone. We often forget how helpless we are in the face of natural calamities and disasters. An earthquake or cyclone or lightning can destroy anything at any time. We refuse to recognize the millions of possibilities regarding our health at any point of time. Anything can happen to any one of us in the very next moment. Yet with our bloated egos and assumed superiority, we take many things for granted in our daily existence. Quite often we also fail to acknowledge our fellow beings whose mere presence around is sustaining our own lives. But nature has its own ways of correcting our mistakes. For each devil someone wicked is nurtured to destroy it and those who play with fire gets burnt ultimately.

As we age, we come to know about how little we can know. The realm of knowledge in any field is expanding at an incredible pace every day. Even the best among us can manage to scratch only its mere surface during an entire lifetime. Yet we have people who assume themselves to be scholars and know-alls. We have leftists who assume complete knowledge after a few readings of Das Kapital and rightists who claim to have answers for everything in some ancient texts. Most of them refuse to understand that even Science is relative nowadays and what is perceived as the final word currently can turn out to be absurd in future. This has happened many times and it will happen again.

As we age, we recognize how meaningful our relationships are. At the start we know only our mother (for sure) and slowly we begin to recognize the father, sisters and brothers. This circle of relationships expands (and contracts) till the very end of our lives. In the beginning they are just ‘others interested in us’ but as time passes by we realize the deeper meanings of relationships. The do’s and don'ts in each relationship is very enlightening for anyone growing up. It is true that quality of relationships is changing in modern times (some people say it is declining) but the emotional strength associated with these intangible connections can be unimaginable at times. Making the ultimate sacrifice for the sake of a relationship is not uncommon even today.

As we age, we realize how important are our traditions and culture. As a youth, words like culture, tradition and religion are often meaningless and inconvenient. We feel that our world would be a better place to live in without these ‘divisive’ measures. Concepts like socialism and equality appeal more to us as logical and just. But soon we come to accept the fact that man is created unequally. Each individual is different and unique. Each one has their strength and weakness. And each can do something specific for himself and for others. All artificial ideologies and systems to enforce equality have failed and USSR is the latest such in a big scale. Then culture, tradition and religion become more and more meaningful to us. We realize how thoughtful our forefathers have been and how much of our own self is bonded to our traditions and culture. Rituals, customs and festivals become meaningful as modes of distribution of wealth if not anything else. Castes and tribes become natural and logical in a society of unequals. As we age, we begin to appreciate the ingenuity of our forefathers in all their creations, which we felt ridiculous sometime back.

As we age, we feel sad about our late acceptance of the Almighty. The concept of God dawns on different people at different times depending upon their economic and social backgrounds. In most cases the need for any faith comes out of helplessness about an unknown number of parameters that can affect our lives. As our family grows we feel increasingly helpless about things we consider our own. The need for an all-powerful benefactor who will standby us at difficult times becomes an inevitability then. Though different people perceive of God in different ways and hope HE will always help us in whatever we do, deep within us we accept the fact that HE will only stand by what is right. That comes natural because we know that one cannot do justice to both the victor and vanquished at the same time. And any system can be sustained only by encouraging the right ways and right beings.

As we age, we realize how much away from birth we are and how much nearer to death we really are. It is often said that death is the only certainty for anything alive. All other concepts are merely beliefs depending upon the extent and variant of our faiths. Yet we always assume that our own exit is far away even when we see our contemporaries depart. We feel indifferent at the demise of unknowns in distant lands only to suffer the same fate sooner or later. But we continue to believe and hope that our own desires will fructify before we go. 


More by :  J. Ajithkumar

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