Growing old, feeling young

Susheela Srinivas Jan 6 2018, 21:35 IST
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Growing old, feeling young

In one of his books, Robin Sharma says: "As adults, we stop playing once we assume responsibilities of life. Adults are nothing more than deteriorated children."

I do not doubt the veracity of his claim. For, a strong desire to connect with the child in me has taken precedence over time. To achieve the task, I seek the interludes of childhood fun and frolic. Mark you, not through structured games, but rather by the pursuit of free-spirited play.

Let me lead you through the events that germinated the seed for this thought:

To oil the joints, I frequent a nearby park for a saunter. Often, forgetting the agenda, I find myself enviously watching children at play in the small playpen. I soon get involved in their merriment, thrills and spills, and long to join in their fun. If only I could take those wild Tarzan swings and go all dizzy on the merry-go-round, I imagine.

Life's highs and lows seem a mere trifle compared to the up-down on the see-saw. The smothered ape in me yearns for the jungle-gym; if only I could gallop away to far-off lands on the spring horse€¦

However, my desires are nipped in the bud by the notice staring me in the face, warning me that I'm well past the age of this indulgence.

"Be content with the frenzy of the adult world," chides god-knows-who, while the obstinate child in me declares: "I want to play!"

However, recently, the stars colluded to fulfil my sincere wish. One lazy afternoon, sauntering the lovely green spaces at a nearby hill resort, I stop at the sight of a playpen ahead of me. Arresting my gaze on the sturdy equipment, I look around for the officious signboard. Seeing none in the vicinity, I realise that it is an open field. I had my plea ready and was ready to pay for the damages, if any.

Not letting the opportunity pass me, I test the waters. Without a moment's hesitation, I unleash the juvenile in me: I go hither and thither, crawling through tunnels, hanging down bars, sliding down and landing to soft thuds; swinging in huge arcs and taking dizzying spins. Soon, the world around me stands obscured, much to the amusement of the family and passers-by.

My escapades draw magnetic strength from my latent desire. Playing to my heart's content, the joy I derive is inexplicable, and so is the excitement of my new-found agility. The exhilaration of free-spirited play indulged in cheer is to be only experienced and finds a weak expression in words. By the end of it all, I am supercharged - light, jolly and happy - ready to face the world again.

I wholeheartedly agree with Robin Sharma as he adds to his claim: "Make the time to connect to your more playful side, the child within you." His prescription for making time to be a little reckless and silly with a dash of wild abandon works as the perfect pill to savour the wonder of life.

Later, meandering through Uncle Google's mazes, I come across a piece of priceless information: the city of Berlin hosts a playpen for grown-ups! Now, a visit to the city tops my bucket list.

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