Sunday, June 15, 2008

Trousers Rolled

In recent days there have been many occasions when I have been reminded of my gradually advancing years. Not that I have reached the advanced age, which will come inevitably, but the fact that I am on the way is jumping out of the bushes and startling me in the most surprising moments possible!

The first one came a few years back. A couple of friends had come to my place and we were discussing everything under the sun. There was a time when we were great fans of horror/suspense movies (bits of nudity helped). But to my surprise I could not, and still can not, face all those disquieting scary scenes, the sudden shockers (the nudity bit is alright though). Even simple things like lots of death, dismemberment, blood, torture left me disturbed. And sentimental ‘heart-warming’ films actually warmed my heart! I could associate with those more than notionally. One of my friends was having similar reactions. The other one apparently was still intrepid. And he said, and I quote, “This is age!” Apparently we had seen life – which I think even till today the brave lad has not – and we could identify with many a thing from these movies. Movies or books or music or everything were no longer ‘academic’ experiences. Speaking of academic experiences, I think I should explain my ultra-erudite heading. It’s from T.S.Eliot’s ‘The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock’:
I grow old . . . I grow old . . .
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.
Quite often I get questions from my students which are past-related. They kind of expect an antediluvian history from me. I politely but firmly tell them that when I was young my father did not take me by the hand and teach me how to kill two T-rexes with one stone.

Last night we watched a movie called Meet Me in St Louis. This movie, made in 1944, represents Hollywood musicals at their best. This is the nth time I watched the movie. There used to be a TV station called TNT, which had later become TCM (Turner Classic Movies), and they showed all these wonderful movies all the time. That channel is no longer there, and the classic movies are all gone. So I was quite pleased when I got Meet Me in St Louis on DVD, and bought it immediately.

Right through the movie I was on a nostalgia trip. The last time I had seen this movie, about 15 years back, my family was the true extended, alive, and close-knit thing one would covet. Since then there has been five major deaths – five people who kept the whole thing going. Three of them were old, so there was some logic, though no easy acceptance is ever possible. Two of them were young. I remember one of my aunts telling me when I was just a wee lad of 12 to go to her if I ever had any amorous causes. She herself was a pioneer – being in love with a slightly disabled man from the age of 15 and marrying him after a bit of impediment. She died one fine morning. She apparently had a massive cerebral attack. She was my father’s youngest sister. The other person who had always supplied me with all the toys and bats and balls (sports related term please) and wickets and books and bourbon biscuits was my aunt on my mother’s side. She died after eight years of prolonged illness. She suffered from something called Motor Neuron Disease, in which the brain remains perfectly functional but the body slowly deteriorates. The person dies fully experiencing the failure of each and every function of the body. One of the most horrible deaths invented by nature. Then I got married. Please do not read the last sentence as a continuation of the list of disasters – though I will accept that there are moments when I myself feel that way! And after a while things started happening. The person responsible for getting us together committed suicide – professional troubles as I have gathered, not out of remorse on our account. Both my brothers-in-law died within a year of each other. One from a massive heart attack, the other from a kitchen accident involving fire. Now our family is just a shadow of what it used to be, as is my wife’s own family. But I guess it is more or less the same with all families! When Judy Garland was singing my favourite song, I could not keep the tears away. The song goes like this:

Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Let your heart be light
Next year all our troubles will be out of sight

Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Make the yuletide gay
Next year all our troubles will be miles away

Once again as in olden days
Happy golden days of yore
Faithful friends who were dear to us
Will be near to us once more
Someday soon we all will be together
If the fates allow

Until then, we'll have to muddle through somehow
So have yourself a merry little Christmas now

The fates allow little in real life. Most of the faithful family is gone! The rest are drifting away for various reasons. I have shifted to a new flat. Everything that I know has changed. But that, I guess, is life.

I apologize for this long and morbid post. As I was telling one of my blogger friends, if there were no friends, life would become impossible. Thank God that I have many friends of many ages within and without my family.


Mystic Margarita said...

Life does have a way of striking out when you least expect it. Condolences on the tragedies that have befallen your and your wife's families. I'm a sucker for heartwarming movies, too. It's a Wonderful Life and, more recenlty, Life is beautiful are two of my favorites. But I also equally enjoy horror/suspense films, without the need to be motivated by the nudity bits!

Sayani said...

well i think thats what are friends for share and hear ....
and as passing seasons also changes its hue...
nevertheless a beautiful and cherish able life ...we will all pass thru but then lets not wonder at the last hour "what i did in my whole life?"

take care

Mystic Margarita said...

I did the book tag again. And btw, Prufrock is one of my favorite poems.

Sucharita Sarkar said...

well, that was a really up-and-down post in true stream-of-consciousness style. But then growing old is like that - full of ups and downs. I could identify with what u said, as I guess u know why. Though I never really enjoyed horror movies (not even with nudity), I love movies that make one cry (as attested by you).

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