Saturday, September 25, 2010

When I'm 64... ha ha!

Guys, I wrote this as an exclusive for Hindustan Times. The entire week has been frenetic , thanks to the heavy duty promos around the new book. The road show starts soon, which means I shall be in and out of Mumbai, and missing from this space more than usual. Do bear with me... it is my commitment as a writer to market the book to the best of my abilities. This was something taught to me by Dominique Lapierre after the launch of my first book. "Don't feel shy,'' the veteran advised sagely. "You have spent time and precious energy on this - writing is hard work. If you don't promote your own book, who will?" Wise words. He is right.I have the most at stake - I must go out there and do my best!
One of the pleasures of doing these sort of promos involves the people one gets to me - young journos, photographers, publicists. This time it was my discovery of Uma Kadam - she has just been promoted as the Principal Photographer with the Times of India Group. Believe me, it is a big deal! You'll see her portrait of moi in the Sunday Times tomorrow. I was impressed by this 29- year-old woman's professionalism and positive thinking. Her coverage during 26\11 was so good, her editor, the very reticent Jaideep (Jojo) Bose, and her mentor Hoshi Jal, gave her pictures a great deal of play - those important images desrved very high visibility, and got it. Modest and adorable, Uma has been a press photographer for nine years. She wears her success lightly and does her job minus the slightest fuss. As does another ace photographer I have frequently worked with - Vikram Bawa. Congrats, you guys!
Part -2 of the popular Television show, 'Walk the Talk' with Shekhar Gupta will be telecast on NDTV at 9 30pm tonight. The repeat is tomorrow at 3 30pm. Check it out... and post your candid comments ( I really look forward to them).
I watched 'Wall Street - Money never Sleeps' last night with a great deal of nostalgia and a lump in my throat. The news about Michael Douglas suffering from throat cancer was on my mind, especially since his publicists have announced he won't be able to act again. I don't care what critics say - his older Gordon Gekko is still superbly nuanced - just this side of evil. Look out for the scene in which he dismisses Shia La Beouf with a wave of his hand, saying, "You die your death. I'll die mine." Oooooof! Broke my heart.
Here's the HT piece....

Hum Jab Hongey Saath Saal Ke…
‘Hum Jab Hongey Saath Saal Ke…’ has been my theme song for the past two years. That I sing off key, is another matter.. Asha Bhonsale just turned 77 and celebrated her birthday performing at a rock concert in Singapore. Shabana Azmi joined the Sensational Sixties Club earlier this week and rocked her own party by dancing to the season’s big hit ‘Munni Badnaam Hui…. Darrrrrling tere liye.” Yup. That makes it official. Today’s sixty- year- olds are Item Girls with attitude. And as that delicious strap line for an unhealthy snack goes, ‘I am lovin’ it.’ Far too much is being made of youth, and how wonderful it is to be a part of the under -30 generation these days. You know what? Keep it! Youth, I mean. I swear I’d hate to be a young person in India today. Ooof …. total emotional atyachar, yaar! What can these dudes and dudettes India look forward to… come on, think about it? Unemployment, suicides, corruption, caste issues, communal issues, terror attacks, discrimination, quota systems,double digit inflation…. more corruption? Youth is definitely getting wasted on the young. From the heady sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll hedonism of the ‘60’s and ‘70’s… to this depressing mess??? By comparison, celebrating ones ‘Eksashthi’ ( 61st birthday) sounds positively sexy! I am having the best time of my life as a senior citizen – a far better time than I ever had as a broke, insecure, far-from-accomplished young thing. I mean… come on. Who needs struggle? Who needs the bloody tension of being considered cool or uncool based on the brand of jeans covering ones far from perfect butt? Naah. Youth and all things youthful are totally over rated. I see more worry lines on the faces of twenty something starlets( the bling and botox brigade) than on the 60+ and seriously gorgeous Hema Malini’s calm and contented visage. Dev Anand at well over 80, is a darn sight more stylish and does his sartorial layering with far more finesse than that Shirtless Wonderboy, Salman Khan. And yes, Dev Saab continues to be a chick magnet ( eat your heart out Ranbir, Imran, Shahid and all you other callow fellows). Really.Jawani ki Diwani is a huge, big con. Being jawan in India is a little like being a gay guy in a bordello – the equipment works, but there’s no application. When I look at the collective neuroses that has paralysed this generation of alarmingly young but essentially vague people, I thank my stars I was spared.
No Sir, we really are pretty okay at this age and stage. We have our lines (verbal and physical) in place. And what’s a li’l bit of cellulite idhar udhar between friends and accepting spouses? But that does not give us sleepless nights. We are entitled to our smugness! Our love affairs have always been with human beings not laptops, Blackberries and other gizmos.We lived in the real world, not a virtual one, and men had sex with real partners not Savita Bhabhi . Our communication was face-to-face instead of on facebook. At thirty, we were pretty sorted….we didn’t have to hang around dimly lit clubs waiting to meet some impossibly perfect God or Goddess, who, like Godot, didn’t bother to show up! We settled for the best ‘alliance’ going, moved into rented apartments and didn’t worry about emi’s and other such financial annoyances. We paid our bills with real money, not plastic. And most of our assets were tangible – mother’s gold bangles, father’s Rolex, that kind of stuff. We had the best parties and weddings which were not super productions or ‘events’ marketed by hawks counting every extra orchid and barfi. For our honeymoon, we didn’t think beyond Simla, Darjeeling or even sweet old neighbourhood hill stations like Mahableshwar. Istanbul, Ibiza or Sao Paolo for bachelorette blow outs? Not a chance! We held hands at soppy movies and licked the same ice cream cone by way of erotic symbolism. The ipill didn’t exist, and only bad girls ‘did it’ with their boyfriends.
There were always people with more money, better boobs, fancier cars, bigger homes. But the ‘Lifestyle’ disease had not grown into a lethal, full blown, worldwide virus that it is today. Of course, we died of jealousy when the neighbour bought a Fiat or Ambassador. But we also believed ‘mera number aa jayega’. Impossible is nothing? It’s not as dumb as it first sounds. We were a generation of believers. We naively believed Gordon Gekko when he stated, ‘Greed is good.’ Today’s kids chant ‘Money never sleeps’. Neither do they!
What the young in India need more than almost anything else today is a dream. I am just happy and relieved my generation got to live theirs. Picasso , that randy old goat had grandly declared, “ Youth has no age.”. It so doesn’t.
Botox for the soul, anyone??


muslimpoxbyebye said...

'Researchers say babies born with low vitamin D levels may have an increased risk of developing schizophrenia later in life.
'The three-year study tested blood samples from babies in Denmark and found having low vitamin D levels doubles the risk of developing the disorder.
'The findings could encourage pregnant women to get more sunshine or take a vitamin D supplement. {And NOT wear a burka or niqab! - dda}
'Professor John McGrath, from the Queensland Brain Institute, says the study is further evidence of vitamin D's link to brain development.
"Many years ago we thought it was totally implausible to prevent schizophrenia, it seemed to be such a mysterious, poorly understood group of illnesses," he said.
"I think this new result suggests that maybe it will be possible to prevent schizophrenia."
Now, let's think about it. Yemen. Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states. Afghanistan. The more rigidly-Muslim Muslims, everywhere; generations of women totally covered-up whenever they go outside.
The likelihood that many or most of those women are Vitamin D deficient is high; and if they're Vitamin D deficient during pregnancy, then their babies' brain development may be seriously compromised.
It should be noted that at the end of a news report on women being forced to wear hijab in Gaza University,7340,L-3953628,00.html
the following information was included:
'Lack of Vitamin D because of veils
'A Jordanian study published this week asserted that 87% of women between the ages of 18 and 70 in Jordan suffer from a lack of Vitamin D as a result of insufficient sun exposure and not enough milk consumption.

'The researchers linked this phenomenon to wearing the hijab.
'According to the findings, **92% of women who wear a hijab suffer from a lack of Vitamin D** (my emphasis - dda)
'This figure increases to 96%, according to the survey, when it comes to women who cover their faces as well with a niqab."

Put that information together with the results of the Danish study and it appears that those who wear the Muslim female slave rag, whatever form of it they wear, stand a very good chance of scrambling their babies' brains.

goodluck said...
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goodluck said...

Shobhaa, great writing but very defensive. Dev Anand looks terrible nowadays(and also for the past 20 years). Even Jeetendra and Dharmendra look like ghosts of their previous avatars. Maybe they are not fat, but their faces are tired and haggard. Ladies are better because they care more for their looks and they dont drink that much. Actually you should be worrying more because your children and grandchildren face all those things pointed by you so glibly. But every generation can get around in their own way. The competition is quite tough out there but the fittest will survive anyhow. The smugness of old age is because of little choices. There is always the fear of Alzhemeir's lurking. One day, this present day youth will also welcome old age in their own wacky way. Mobile phones have taken over the youth. They will rather talk to a friend on mobile for hours than talk to him or her directly even for a few minutes. Given the choice, I dont want to be either a wacky youth or a golden oldie. I would rather be out of this world as soon as possible before any calamity like a lingering disease or a manmade calamity overwhelms me.

Another Kiran In NYC said...

Young or old, never mind how I looked either firm bodied or lined. I will say this... with every passing decade my life got better and I became happier. Life experience and a resulting ability and knowledge to cope with both happy and sad times has a lot to do with many of us feeling better about everything, as we get older.

This was a wisdom I had pooh poohed when I was young. I guess it is something you appreciate only when you experience it with the passing years.

Happy whatever age y'all are! The next decade is just going to get better for everyone, if only we allow it to be.

goodluck said...

Your writing is like great tonic for those worrying about advancing years.But when one gets retirement slip even when one is productive, it feels bad. But then others must also get a chance to be employed in this overpopulated country. For most, especially ladies, facing the mirror is an ordeal until they come to terms with their images. Ageing is a beautiful experience in terms of the vast experiences that one gathers. When shopping for flowers, one buys the freshest ones. Withered flowers are simply thrown away. Like the present day advertisements which state that only 30 years below need apply(young and smart). Associating youth with smartness. What is smartness in their eyes? And is 32 years is too old? Then what about 40, 50, 60 etc.
Our prime ministers, ministers are usually in their 70s & 80s and yet they rule us quite efficiently. Our grandmothers, great grandmothers still cook delicious meals and some of them are quite net savvy apart from being useful in many ways. Are they not smart?

Radhika Gupta said...
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Radhika Gupta said...

hi shobhaa..
first of calling yourself a "Senior citizen"...sounds really weird... come on!! you don't look that old!!! n yes it's true that life's too fast for the youngsters these days... my parents often tell me how less tensions they had when they were our age.. but still!! being young isn't that bad!! n i am loving it.. :))

Pratap said...


You are certainly NOT 'senior citizen'. Cant imagine you ever being that!

Great post. Will look back at this whenever I feel am getting old. THANK YOU!

I have been looking for your book in Pune - haven't found it yet.

cmpershad said...

`This was something taught to me by Dominique Lapierre after the launch of my first book.'


goodluck said...

What is wrong with being a senior citizen? Are they criminals? Are they ugly? Cannot a goodlooking person be a senior citizen as well? All senior citizens are not dowdy. And all dowdy ones are not necessarily senior citizens.

Maddy said...

Saw your "Walk the talk" with Sekar about an hour back. It was very nice. I liked "Who wants to die disgracefully?. True is it not. You are as young as you are and could be. Hoping to read your "Sixty" soon. All the very best blogdost.

Maddy said...
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Jogeshwar said...

I think this depressing mess is because of the India that your generation has created for today's youth. Unfortunately for this generation of ours is sentenced to hard labour.
BTW watched the show nice to know that you were an athlete, to be a sportsperson is an experience of a lifetime.

Theyoginme said...

great interview.... if you decide to travel to the US, you're welcome to Portland, OR.

Jyostna said...

I absolutely loved ur interview with sekhar on NDTV. The best part is U being U in any age. I donno abt others who see the other side/post some negative comments here in ur space but to me U r truly inspiring!!

suhail said...

Hmmm..when u c the India of today full of gleam and gold, i am sure a lady of You always asks WHY WAS I NOT BORN IN THIS GENERATION..Hmm so u love your days..when feudal lords ruled, when india was a land of snale charmers, where women had to beg to work, where India was considered as Soviet Pawn, when Partying was considered a fun for the Rich...sorry Aunty we are happy with this Age...and please be happy there is a mobile phone - NO SORRY WOH GHAR MEIN NAHI HAI For ten years,....

My journey said...

I liked the line."You have spent time and precious energy on this - writing is hard work. If you don't promote your own book, who will". Looking forward to read your book. :)

Hay House India said... "Shobhaa at Sixty" facebook page...!!!

Pooja Rathore said...

Dominique Lapierre you have written about him in your book Selective Memories i have read it.
About walk the talk few things registered Discipline, men and beauty some of the things you mentioned i have read in your book selective memories u seemed in Bindaas mood even the the show was Bindaas, shekhar's expression ( oh god how tragic) when u mentioned about zeenat Aman and how sanjay khan shoe had damaged her eye i felt that was quite bold of you to have discussed about it.I liked your take on true status of women also, very true.
About youth whatever you have written largely true.

Anil said...

U r wonderful!! Saw ur show on ndtv with shekar gupta.. it was excellentI love the way u carry urself.
this blog post is amazing, though I am in my 20ies, I liked the way you compared ur generation with ours.. So true and I felt like I shud have belonged to that generation..

U truly are the best!!

Harman said...

it was nice to read about the generation gap that has been covered and moreover the splendid Sixties..

bindu said...

I have your new book in my hands & I saw your walk the talk yesterday.
Loved your attire.I'm in my forties
& have never felt better!Growing up has helped me define my priorities in life & accept people for whatever their worth.
Just like the older generation even the youth of today will definitely land on their feet but not in any way you or I can fathom. But that's no reason to discredit them,to each generation it's own!

sreepriya achuthan said...

why do you want to hang with this 60 years theme very often? what are you scared of? relax. everyone has their share of life. whether its 20 or 60?

Vinay. said...

you seem to be obsessed with the sixty stuff. just accept it gracefully and one need not be defensive about it at all. Recently i saw a birthday card saying- To an eighty year young father from a sixty year old son. it is the spirit that matters. There are old among the youth as there are young among the old.some are born old while some are young even in the evening of life.
i have finished reading your book. congrats for a superb work. looking forward for your visit to Hyderabad for the promo.- cheers

Pooja Rathore said...

nice to know you dont take anything for granted( i mean even now you are so much into your work (marketing)though u have made a name for yourself- good lesson to learn from u)Even god helps those who help themselves hope your Book is a big success.

Angels Never Lie said...

i read ur article in da paper...was amazed to see ur zeal for life but was flabbergast to luk at da pic...OMG...wat skin, health n smile...wud luv to read ur post on how u maintain...n luking fr da buk desperately now...

ever smiling survivor said...

I love reading your books specially the autobiographic one like speed post or the latest shobhaa at sixty.You look fabulous on the cover.It is the heart and how one behaves and not the chronologocal age which matters .The mind should be young and active and invariable the body keeps up.Your wit shines through all your writing.Am planning on dancing lessons now after I read your book.

poulami said...

Send flowers to Tokyo from and make a treasured memory with your loved ones.

REETU RAJ said...

Hi Shobha Aunty.
After reading your article it sounds like your are trying to defend your age... its sounds like people are bullying you about your age and you are trying to defend that how being 60 is giving you pleasures which you couldn't have in your young age. I think it makes you sound very selfish and self obsessed person. I think you should feel lucky about the fact that young generation is enthusiastic and trying to do better than generation of previous decade. I think I love where I am and in whatever time I am and I am harvesting the best from the my life.

On a different note: Elder people are respected only when they try to encourge the young people to do better than previous generation instead of trying to make them look inferior.

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