Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Growing Old is not for Sissies

Since my semester ended last week, I have watched several movies. Most of those movies were borrowed from the library, but I also watched a few new releases. The new releases were The Day the Earth Stood Still, Seven Pounds, and Gran Torino. I know what you are going to ask... Yes, I had made the resolution of watching only one movie per week, but let me explain that in my next blog. Right now, I just want to talk about the movie that I liked immensely, i.e., Gran Torino. More specifically I want to talk about its maker: Clint Eastwood.

I just find it amazing that the 78 year old man is so creatively prolific. Eastwood directed two movies that were released recently: Changeling and Gran Torino. I haven't seen Changeling yet, but after watching Gran Torino, I surely don't want to miss it. In Gran Torino, Eastwood is also the main protagonist. Eastwood again plays the role of a loner, this time as a Korean War veteran who has recently lost his wife. Like the loner of yesteryears (as in The Dollars Trilogy), he is tough and independent, though now he finds it difficult to resist the good food offered by his neighbors. Staying alone myself, I could exactly understand how his character felt, when he would have difficulty denying the tasty food offered by his neighbor. I am not a movie critic - so, I don't want to spend too much time talking about the movie. But I really enjoyed the nuanced acting of Eastwood. And the movie's ending was great - I have seen too many good movies that mess up the ending.

Coming back to Eastwood, I find it really inspiring seeing somebody being able to make very good quality movies even in their "old age." In India, we have Dev Anand who at 85 years is still busy making movies. Although all his recent movies have been flops, and I haven't seen any of them to make any judgments about their quality, I certainly admire the spirit of the octogenarian. With all the wealth and fame these guys have, they don't need to be working so hard at their age, but they continue to take more challenging assignments. Sometime ago, my friend Wahi, had asked me my opinion on "life beginning at 40." Seeing how active some people are in their 80s, 40 seems like infancy. Of course, Eastwood and Dev Anand were both very successful much before reaching 40, but the fact that they are so productive in their old age shows that it is never too late to begin one's life.

For my readers who are under 40: Just because they say life begins at 40, you don't have to wait until 40 - start living your life now - just do what you love to do. Many people decide on their actions very strategically; they decide what to do based on their perceived likelihood of their specific actions leading to success. When it comes to self, I think, thinking strategically is a bogus strategy - one should just do what one loves and enjoys doing. At the end of the day, even if you are not successful (in the traditional sense), you can rejoice in the fact that you enjoyed your day thoroughly.


  1. Hey,
    you are just incredible! How did you find my blog? I think I never mentioned about it to you. Besides, after publishing the first post, I myself had forgotten that I had created a blog. I felt I was not good at expressing myself (though you have always felt the contrary and encouraged me quite often to write more). So, though several times I want to express myself, I stop short of it. But thanks for your generous comment on my first post, I will try to write more/publish more in future.
    As regards your above post, I do not agree with you fully, especially your statement that "thinking strategically ......enjoys doing" is quite misleading, especially for the adolescents and teenagers (for both 13 to 20 and 53 to 60!)
    13 -20 : Enjoys sleeping till late hours, want to read only those subjects that they enjoy, pursues hobbies with a fanatism, interested in opposite sex, list is endless.....
    53-60 : Does not like diet control, does not want to exercise, loves to oggle at the opposite sex.......list is again endless.

    Is it right for them to do what they enjoy doing at this stage/age? They want to taste all things forbidden and it is not easy for them to think strategically. With great difficulty, those around them, who care for them, restrain them telling about the consequences of the forbidden fruit. Of course, a nibble here and there will cause no harm and will also to some extent satiate the inquisitiveness one feels for enjoying these pleasures. But for that one has to think strategically, which nibble, when, why not now etc.

  2. I completely agree with you Wahi that the statement that I made can be misleading. Self-discipline is certainly very important for personal happiness and success. However, my statement was not about instant gratification; it was about discovering one's passion and sticking to it - I should have made this more explicit in my post though.
    I completely agree with you that parents need to guide their young children, so they don't become easy preys to the various temptations that surround them. I only hope that overzealous parents don't kill the natural inquisitiveness and passion of children. Too much of emphasis on what one should do - i.e. studies and the competitiveness associated with it, I think, often creates dissatisfied adults. Even worse, there is the danger of the children growing up into selfish individuals who are so immersed in getting ahead that they become completely insensitive to the people and issues around them.