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Talk about coincidences …!
There I was in a cab in bumper-to-bumper traffic in a busy street; and with nothing to look at except cars and more cars to my north, south, east and west, I stared at a bumper sticker on a vehicle in front of me.
‘Ageing is just another word for living!’ it read. Nice, I thought.
And whaddya know guys? The next morning, I wake up to a ping on my mobile to see a message on our extended family group. There’s a breath-taking video of an almost 70 year-old uncle whizzing through the air at 55 mph, across what is apparently America’s steepest zipline.
Before I’ve had time to rub the sleep from my eyes, collect my hanging jaw and start breathing normally, a few mornings later there’s another ping in the group and there’s a video of another uncle, leaping off a plane and floating amidst snowy clouds in a sky-diving experience. He’s 82.
My phone nearly crashed with the appreciative comments and emojis that followed the daring and amazing feats of these senior members. “You’ve upped the ante!” wrote one cousin. “You’re putting us youngsters to shame!” wrote another. “You guys are an inspiration!” commented yet another.
I agree. Totally inspiring!
In fact, I was so inspired that I got out of bed fully charged and determined to do something equally exciting myself. So, did I dive out of a plane? Go bungee jumping? Barrel down a water fall? None of the above.
I got out pen and paper and did what I’m best at – sit in an armchair and blog about it.
And, that is as adventurous as I can get! Forget about sky diving or river rafting, I’ll easily earn the title of Braveheart, if I manage to enter a room with a lizard in it. My bravery or rather the lack of it, is well known in the family and I gave a demo of it not so long ago.
About two summers back, while holidaying at my parents’ place, I came downstairs one morning to discover excitement of sorts, out in the back yard. Apparently the rain water pipe had come loose up on the roof of the house and it had to be set right before the rains. With the local handy man out of town, dad had decided to roll up his sleeves and his white lungi and give it a go. There was a ladder propped against the wall and obviously the man meant business. A faint tinge of guilt stirred somewhere deep within me and before I could stop myself, my mouth had opened and I was saying things like, I’ll go up dad, this is no job for you and more such nonsense.
I was counting on dad to brush aside my offers of help as he usually does, but the next minute saw me at the base of a ladder which seemed to go up forever like Jack’s beanstalk! That ladder was no stairway to heaven nor was it a step up to success, as all the Billboard Top 10 songs claim. Far from it. I gripped the sides of the ladder, put one foot on the bottom rung and heaved myself up, then another … and suddenly I tell you – the ladder, the house and the world around began to shake violently.
We were obviously, in the midst of a massive earthquake measuring God knows how much, with the epicentre at Ambalpady, Udupi. Then as if from far away, I heard dad’s voice telling me to step down and aside and I opened my eyes. That was no earthquake, just me quaking with fear. I peered down and realised I had travelled not more than a couple of steps up that blessed ladder.
I climbed down. My 84 year old dad then shinned up the ladder like a pro, quite like the Maratha warrior Tanhaji climbing up the steep cliff of Fort Kondhana, fixed the pipe and shinned down again.
Like I said, the super-seniors in our family are really living it up! And this is my toast to them!
This post was first published in the Witty Wordsmith in the Times of India.