Is Seventy-Five the Beginning of Babyhood?


Dr. Ravi P Bhatia – TRANSCEND Media Service

Victor Hugo the great French novelist of the nineteenth century had once written, “Forty is the old age of youth; fifty is the youth of old age.”

Why is seventy-five being referred to as becoming a baby again?

Several reasons. Such individuals need help and care as babies of three or four years of age do. They need to be helped while walking, while eating or drinking their tea or coffee; otherwise they may spill it on their clothes. Some of them also have to wear diapers. People have to speak to them to keep them engaged; otherwise they feel lonely and sad.

More importantly they easily forget the names of other people, they forget birthdays of their friends and even their own. They forget what they are supposed to do; they need to be told to take their medicines regularly, to shut the door while leaving their homes and to put on enough warm clothes in winter.

Some interesting conversations between children and a seventy-five-year-old man:

Man to child: “When I was your age, I would eat a dozen eggs and run around the field ten times.”

Child: “Were you ever my age? I thought you were born like this.”

Another interesting comment:

Man: When I was a child I was told by my mother ‘Not to sit here, not to do this, not to eat that’. I hated being a child who could not do anything he wanted. Now I am a grown up seventy-year-old man, I wish I could be a child again and not have any responsibility.

A child looking at a pet parrot in his home: “When I speak, my mother tells me don’t shout. When you utter some sounds, why does my father tell you to speak louder”?

On a personal note, when I was about eight or nine years old, I used to see my father shaving with shaving cream and froth on his face. I thought and said it to my father that it was a wonderful experience to shave. He calmly replied, ‘You will dislike it when you grow up and are forced to shave’.

So different generations have different needs, different perspectives. Generations of people are born, generations die and are born again.

According to Bhagwat Gita 2.27:

“One who has taken birth is sure to die, and after death one is sure to take birth again. Therefore, in the unavoidable discharge of your duty, you should not lament.”


Dr Ravi P Bhatia is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment, an educationist, Gandhian scholar and peace researcher. Retired professor, Delhi University. His new book, A Garland of Ideas—Gandhian, Religious, Educational, Environmental was published recently in Delhi.


This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 31 Dec 2018.

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