I had seldom heard about people who lived past their age but had hardly seen them. What was the Elixir of their youth? What magic potion kept them preserved?
The man had walked into my evening clinic that day. Only one or two patients probably remained after him. I was in a hurry. Examination of the kids were looming in the horizon.
After writing down the name, I invariably went to the next question.
“Tell me your age.” I asked, waiting to note it down.
” That I will not tell you!” He replied, smiling.
I looked up in surprise. He is behaving like a woman; I thought to myself. What was there to be secretive about his age? As if, it is the money in his bank account and if he tells me, I might rob him of some.
“Its better to tell me.” I said.
YOUNG AT ALL TIMES
“This you have to guess, Doctor.” He smiled
I looked at him carefully. A fresh face with few lines on the forehead and a few stately grey hairs near the ears. Jet black hair fell in curls on the forehead. He must have been handsome in his youth.
” You are sixty years of age.” I said, nonchalantly.
” Alas Doctor! You really are way off the mark.” He said.
Now I was at a loss.
I thought probably he was much younger. Nowadays the young have grey air and get some wrinkles too.
” You must be about forty five years then.” I said.
He bit his tongue.
” No, no..higher then your earlier quote.” He said.
” You are about seventy years. You gain nothing by hiding your age.” I said.
” He quipped.
” I suppose you are approximately eighty years of age.” I uttered foolishly.
” Increase some more.” He said, enjoying my discomfiture.
” Are you ninety years?” I asked hesitantly.
” Increase some more.” He said, laughing now
I thought the man has lost his mind and was making every effort to make me lose mine too.
So on it continued till it stopped at hundred and ten years!
Still finding it incredulous; I asked him what he did for a living long time back. He was a retired school teacher.
“So you have seen the British!” I quipped.
It pulled the trigger for him to explode into a flood of memories.
I wish I could co author a book with him then.
ELIXIR OF YOUTH
That was the first instance of meeting a centenarian. I met many of them thereafter. They abound in the North Eastern states of India.
These principles are the ‘ELIXIR’.
- Live a happy and contented life.
- Breath fresh air.
- Eat local produce.
- Be physically active.
- Have people around you to laugh and share.
- Have no expectations from life.
- Be in tune with nature.
Their life is at one end of the Spectrum, and of the others at the other end. I see glimpses of Saints in some of the former.