I presumed, in fact I still hold the mantle tightly that old age is about disinterring the past; shuffling between debacles and some handy illuminating sparks, if the archetype evanescence of memory has not faltered. The quiescent air has no new story to tell; the once piquant scaling of the wind across the face made it look hauteur and now the hoary silhouette watches the hollyhock in anticipation of whose petals would crumble first. Really! I don’t think so. The piffle-paffle sirens of ‘undeserving walkers passing by’ or a ‘roasted talk with the vegetable hawker’ or maybe ‘fighting the monotony by running a squall with the neighbors’ is no longer a sine qua non for relieving old-age distress. 

But, somehow, a decade back old age was about pinning on hopes and acting as a ‘King in denial’ about to lose his empire. It was kind of a de rigueur to pass on to the progeny nodules of wisdom albeit chanting to oneself an arrhythmic cry of present day anomalies. What more?—the incessant squealing of ‘why’s and how’s of time lapses’ harrumphed to a shelter where darkness and light merge together, and finally being toasted in a rocking chair extrapolating if life was a worthy treat or an unworthy enemy.

We hardly find this snip-snap happening; old age has been tricked by the technology paraphernalia and the concomitant amusements. The other day I came across an advertisement by ‘Reliance Digital’; the old woman enters the showroom to buy a phone. Reason? She is quizzed and mocked by her friends for not well-versed with technology. The prodigal son too fans a pestering ‘relax’ when she stiffens unsure of the refluxes of technology. So, where does all this take her? To buy a phone—the ineluctable nuisance that has become a part of our lives and more in the lives of our parents and grandparents that makes them feel close to memories, away from the moribund plague.

The example of the old woman reminds me of the newfangled simulacrum of what old age couples indulge in at present. Gone are the days of sweeping the tide of ennui and repentance by looking out of the balcony; the heart was never soothed by the rustling of the leaves or the bustling envoy of kids playing. It all just acted as a balm on the wound; the corrugated skin played a story deep inside plotting to hide the real sensibilities. Ask the old freckles and they would agree that the bell ringing at the door is also a distraction from the monotony; how the debilitated legs scurry to see if any pleasant gust of wind has paid a visit.  

The exactitude of being old has made a concurrent shift—technology and gadgets have held the hands of the aged proffering an inescapable dominion to indulge at their own irrefutable serendipity.

I still remember by father reprimanding me of being on the phone till eternity. Today, I wish to say the same to him but as I hear the laughter toppled by some humorous videos sticked out on social media thereby disassociating him from the routine melancholy makes by feet stiffen to barge ahead. The milieu is such, difficult to explain though, but a factual bit as if he has captured time and transits along to live each moment without contemplating what the next holds.

There is a lot to discover through technology and the aged are taking full advantage of it.Loneliness no longer creeps through them like a fungus. The mind is not a devil’s pool jumping to delusions and hallucinations, though ‘The Kapil Sharma Show’ hacks the propensity to do justice to nerve synapses. And, let’s not slide the wrong way which was the case when a ‘Trunk Call’ to one’s son or daughter several miles away would take another moon rising but now the heart eclipsed in the Pericardium builds a staccato dialing the ten digit number to talk to your loved ones in an instance.

The ubiquitous games have definitely made the elderly mentally active. The saga of the ‘Candy Crush’ is best unwrapped with its delicacy of experiencing to ‘make or unmake’, so what if crushing of the candy by teeth is an arduous task. The efficacy of ‘You Tube’ has left the old rickety feet mesmerized; downloading news is like paragliding across seven oceans  swaying the sacrum, rest assured that it will not break into a dilapidated mess. Retired couples resort to create their own ‘Yoga or cooking videos’ watched by many as it carries years of wisdom along. I personally feel that any sort of engagement in ‘old age’ is the key to healthy living, and supposedly technology has given a parachute glider to stop short where recluse is no longer Machiavellian beast.

‘God’ must be feeling alienated as temples and other sanctum sanatoriums too find the ‘old lot’ thrusting on the phone, diligently listening to hymns playing on ‘You Tube’. My mother too is a part of all this perfidy. Listening to ‘kirtans’ and reading the ‘Chants’ on the phone  or television instead of opening the scared book makes her a technological pro on the move. It perhaps has taken over the spiritual bonhomie of sitting in a Gurudwaras or a temple where you could be corrected for your infallibility. The ‘technological camaraderie’ is the new green shoots to appear.

The ‘charpoy’s’ still duck some gossip among the elderly. The time still rings a carnivalesque of chairs occupied by the pestering knees partially eclipsed by the warmth of the sun and here they see a rendition of people imperceptibly acknowledging their presence. But they all have a phone in hand. It’s not an aberration anymore; it’s a power to connect one’s emotions to garner sustainability. 

Why hear from loved ones, ‘we don’t have time’ when technology has emerged as a new friend to take you across the shore.

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11 months ago


Kash W. Douglas
4 months ago

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