SERENADING SWEET SEVENTIES

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Reflections of a veteran on the eve of his turning an octogenarian

Right now, it is Post Meridian, 8th of November 2021. The shadows are lengthening and midnight beckoning. Today is the last day of my 79th year of existence, on this Mother Earth! As per the latest Government of India ruling, I am entitled to 30% additional pension from tomorrow and as per ruling of a (God Bless Him), Bihar High Court Judge, I enter the envied Octogenarian Club tomorrow. Yes, I complete 79 today and it is my Birthday once again tomorrow, 9th of November. Hence the urge to reflect on my age.

What is age? Just the number of years since one’s birth. What is a year? 12 months, 52 weeks, 365 days and down to hours, minutes and seconds. Who invented this timeline? No prize for guesses. It is Man! So, if time was not thus calibrated, there is no way to age or tell how old you are! You are born and you die. The intervening period is life. So, you compress real life into imagined time and call it aging. But how much life you put in this time is often side-lined or forgotten altogether. On introspection, I dare say my SEVENTIES were much better than my SEVENTEEN. Thus, the Sweet Seventies! At 17, I was a CSH (Can’t Speak Hindi) cadet football in NDA and got kicked around everywhere! Now in Seventies, my grey hair entitles me to notionally kick anybody! Jokes apart, it is sometimes called Sad Seventies, since medically you are expected to hit a nadir, before springing back to sprightly pink on turning 80. I am blessed to have tided over the trough, with true grit and excited to see my new Avatar. On the flipside, this was a page turner. In the past decade, children were growing up to be fine adults, but seeking and responding to our advice. But right now, they are parenting me and am I too happy to be tethered?

Well, everything set and done, no liabilities, God is kind, life is good, every day a gift full of surprises. What a roller-skater, whirlwind ride. Thank You All Out there. Here I Enter the Enticing Eighties. ***NOT THE END***

Maj Gen R Karthikeyan (Retd)
Maj Gen R Karthikeyan is an infantry officer and a battle-hardened veteran, who had had an illustrious career spanning nearly four decades, participating in every war India fought from the Sino-Indian confrontation of 1962 to the Kargil conflict of 1999. He lives in Chennai and can be reached at: karthikala@yahoo.com
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