It always amuses me when older people work in anecdotes about their heydays into conversations with me, always with a contented grin on their faces, as if that particular memory in itself was enough to justify a lifetime of otherwise non-newsworthy happenings. The fact that they are able to obtain pleasure from remembering that small bit of silliness or mischief they were part of, so many years back, consistently amazes me. All of us have had these conversations, where the Elder goes off on a tangent about that first long drive into the mountains when his car broke down and he had to push it uphill while carrying his firstborn on one shoulder, all the while getting drenched in the rain and still singing 'Yeh dosti' from Sholay, or some such occurrence. Many of these memories exist in such vivid detail inside the Elder's head, that he can spend many hours reliving them while pretending to take a nap on that easy-chair. The events themselves may be largely insignificant, but when described by an enthusiastic Elder, tend to bring about a nostalgia-induced stupor that threatens to distract one from the present, however briefly.
Is this then the true benchmark for labelling ourselves as older persons? Are we then to assume that once we begin reminiscing about our glory days, they are all well and truly in the past, with no hope of any of them occurring again in our lifetime? Or am I over-simplifying a theory by ignoring its other possible interpretations. I myself have fallen prey to such day-dreams about when we were Kings, that final year in Engineering College, that 10th Standard farewell party, that first date, that first heartbreak, that first long trip, so many of these memories stand out from an otherwise banal existence that the mind craves to relive them when it is otherwise unoccupied.
Can we interpret the mind's craving to relive colorful memories as a call to arms? Is it a signal from the consciousness to drop whatever mundane routine we have setup and do something memorable? Or am I again over-simplifying it and accepting the first, untested interpretation as the answer to this puzzle. It is quite clear that I manage to out think my own theories, and discredit my own interpretations. Will I remember this 10 years from now? more importantly, will I regale my younger companions in the future with this conundrum with a wistful look towards the skies. Only time will tell. I pray they at least pretend to listen to me then, as I pretended to listen when I was in their position.