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Ageing of the Mind – Ladies, This Time It’s A Warning Bell!

Discussion in 'Wednesdays with Varalotti' started by varalotti, Jan 9, 2007.

  1. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    Most Gracious ILites,


    If you visit the Race Course area in our town pretty early in the morning, you will be simply amazed to see so many people dressed in track suits, shorts and T-shirts walking briskly.


    You see people in all ages – from 20 to 79, and from all the classes of the society. Besides the luxurious Skoda Octavia parked in the periphery of the ground is a dilapidated TVS 50 moped. Go a little further and near the blind school and a little away from the Gandhi museum there is another large crowd busily engaged in walking (and in talking too).


    Madurai Vendors know the current fad pretty well. You have so many vendors around these two walking havens dispensing all sorts of health drinks like Aruham pul juice, papaya juice, cucumber juice besides some exclusive drinks available only in Madurai – paruthi paal (the juice extracted from cotton seeds and flavoured with cardamom) and sukku malli coffe (a concoction prepared from sukku, thaniya seeds and a host of other “health spices”)
    <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 /><st1:City><st1:place>
    Madurai</st1:place></st1:City> now has more than a dozen gyms in the northern side alone – all equipped with the state of the art equipment. Some super rich people and people in high offices like the Corporation Commissioner walk at 5 kms per hour on a tread mill carefully watching the count of calories shed by them as displayed by the tread mill’s control panel.

    I do appreciate all these people and am relieved that people at last have started focussing on their health.

    The problem is that when we define health and beauty, we confine ourselves very narrowly to that of the body.

    But I am quite proud of you, ILites;when you read my last thread on ageing many of you immediately suggested a thread on ageing of the mind. And here we go.

    Mental ageing is quite complex and I don’t think I can deal with it in a single bi-weekly thread. If a person is in “perfect health” (I am going to define and explain this simple term shortly) the mind does not age at all. Of course body does age but when the mind does not, the body ageing slows down. But more importantly with an ever-young mind you will never feel the ageing of the body.

    So I would have done my duty if I define “perfect health” and talk about how to achieve it and maintain it.

    I would say that a person is in “perfect health” and therefore beautiful only if three things are healthy in her.

    Her body
    Her mind and
    Her intellect

    When it comes to health and ageing we focus disproportionately on 1) which explains the multi-trillion dollar cosmetics industry, the field of medicine and which also explains the crowds walking early in the morning and sweating out in the gymnasiums.

    Let me take up intellect first, because it is simpler than the mind to deal with. All of us want to boast of our intellects. To be told that our IQ is lower, is a term of sure insult.

    But what have done to keep it healthy ever since we completed education?
    You would say, “I am working. And my job is quite tough. I have to be on my toes all the time. Have to do some fast thinking just for survival. Isn’t that exercise enough for my intellect?”

    It is, Madam, it is, but only till you get a grip over your job. It is till you completely cover all the items in your job description. Then you acquire enough skill sets and intelligence to handle your job with ease. Then it is no longer an intellectual stimulation. After that the intellect loses its vigour and starts to age.

    Believe me, Mesdames, scientists warn that at this stage the grey cells in the brain starts dying one by one. This signals the onset of senility.

    How to prevent this intellectual ageing? Just watch what you are doing every day. When it becomes a routine, you need some other intellectual stimulation. You can solve crossword puzzles. You can attempt sudoku puzzles. Or shed your inhibitions and sign up for learning a new computer language. Or try to indulge in some activity which is a perennial intellectual stimulation. (I can say from my experience, that writing is one such activity).

    I have a book called Mental Fitness which talks about actually a gym for work-out of the mind.

    One test for your intellectual health is to find out a new puzzle or game that involves thinking and then trying to learn the rules and playing it. It is not necessary you should win or score high. Enough if you can learn something new.

    Scientists say that when the brain cells are thus constantly stimulated, they never die. And what better assurance you want about your ever-green intellectual youth?


    (Contd.....)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 14, 2007
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  2. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    Is intellectual health alone enough? I have known some geniuses who have killed themselves. Ayn Rand, the powerful woman writer, who wrote such great works like Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged became insane in her last years. You should have read either of these books to believe that lady’s writing prowess. But still she became insane in her 60s. Why?
    Many geniuses do not have a happy family life? Why?

    If you pursue the answers to these questions diligently, you will come to the most important aspect of a person’s health – the health of mind or emotional health. I would recommend Emotional Intelligence by Danilel Goldman, though the book is rather heavy.

    Once I worked with a person and I found very difficult to relate to him. I heard that his wife also had some problems and the husband and wife do not even talk to each other unless it is absolutely essential.

    Not that this man was short tempered. He would be always smiling.But dealing with him was like dealing with an answering machine. No show of emotions. Every topic would be neatly analysed, classified and then shelved. I thought even if somebody were to tell him that his wife had an accident, he wont (rather he cant) show enough shock.

    This is the worst form of mental disease a person can get.

    Added to this there are other less severe diseases – being short tempered, failing in human relations, inability to converse. Not having enough social graces is again a sure symptom of diseased mind. Psychology defines autism as extreme preoccupation with oneself. But autism is mostly congenital and the child cannot do anything about it.
    But extreme identification with oneself when one is an adult is a mental condition and is a sure block to happiness.

    So how to keep the mind healthy? Believe me I cant think of anything else other than literature. A mind soaked in good literature is forever young and healthy. Such a mind does not age at all. Any good literature has the whole menu of emotions being vividly displayed and described. Reading them, experiencing them and enjoying them is a fail-proof way to preserve mental health.
    For example if you had read Kamba Ramayanam, you could not have missed a very poignant scene.
    Rama, Lakshmana and Sita are staying as the guests of Guhan, the hunter chief. As Rama and co are taking rest, Guhan is on the top of a tree watching out for predators and enemies.
    He sees the whole Ayodya army coming. Lots of horses and elephants. From the dust that goes up in the air, he can gauge the size of the army. He thinks that Rama’s brother Bharatha has come with the army to kill Rama. Though Guhan’s small bow and arrow hunting army is no match to that Royal army, he gets ready to fight. He talks to himself with seething rage.
    “Can they cross this deep river and go to the other side near Rama
    Do they think that I am afraid of their elephants
    Rama has accepted me as his Friend. And it is now time to die for him.
    Otherwise the world will laugh at my mean-mindedness.”
    So saying Guhan gets down from the tree and takes his army to meet Bharatha.
    Instead of seeing an angry king intent on a bloody war, he sees a loving brother, constantly repeating Ramas name and crying.
    Guhan who just seconds before thought so ill of him was moved. Moved beyond words. And when Bharatha introduces himself and asks for Rama, Guhan whose mind is now overflowing with love for this noble man tells him,

    “O, Bharatha, a thousand Ramas will not be equal to you in your love.”
    ஆயிரம் இராமன் நின் கேள் ஆவரோ?


    After reading this just take your finger to the corner of your eyes. And if you can feel the wetness, then your mind is healthy, beautiful and young.
    I will sign off now, though I have a lot more to tell.
    Now I leave this thread into your most beautiful hands.
    Regards,
    Varalotti
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2007
    1 person likes this.
  3. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    Just a small post to bring this thread to the top, Varalotti
     
  4. krishnaamma

    krishnaamma Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Superb.....

    Hi Sridhar,
    (I am not using Sir):-D .Superb article. Very nice examples to keep our mind healthy, like playing cross word puzzles, sudokuetc., But

    I think you can add registering in IL also in that.:-D

    isit not? Because browsing in this site will eat a lot of time and also informatory.
    What you quoted about reading literature is really correct. Not only literature like Ramayana and Mahabaratha, make you feel but Novels like THIRUVARANGAN ULLA, MATHURA VIJAUYAM (by Sri Venugopalan) made me cry after finishing it. In Chandilyan stories, we can see the WAR SCENE in our imagination, In Amarar Kalki's PONNIYEN SELVAN, we would travel with VANDHIYA DHEVAN, is it not? There are more stories like this, but I think this is enough. I remembered these stories when I read your article. I felt that your words are 100% true, to keep healthy mind, we have to read, play games and do something new and learn continuously.

    Hats off you sir.
     
  5. Pallavi

    Pallavi New IL'ite

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    sweet post

    When i say sweet post i refer to your third post that u posted to keep your thread on top. wasnt that cute?? It showed your enthusiasm and reflected the young mind in you...

    Now coming to the ageing of mind..It was a good one sridhar. I am in fact awed by the intellectual process happening within you. To put new enlightening topics on paper needs a lot of life knowledge and also a good amount of research within and externally. So you qualify in the intellectual health category too..

    And full marks on your emotional health after reading the moving incident from our epic.

    There is a colleague of mine who attaches so much importance to himself that there is no one in the office who likes him. He keeps throwing taunts everytime we talk. I am a person who has not hated anyone so far. But this guy's behaviour used to get me on my nerves. His words would make the most confident of people feel very small and inferior. At a stage, i even felt sorry for this guy, thinking how he would feel if he knew everyone tried to avoid him.

    On one occassion, he came to my desk and amid some general chitchat threw his customary taunt at me. I told him point blank without any show of emotion, in a very low tone "You often throw taunts, which is very irritating, please try to stop it." I was wondering how he would have taken this. But from then we do interact generally and i did not see any of those taunts coming again.

    Your advice to the women to keep abreast with knowledge and renew the intellect constantly was great! My mother keeps saying What we know is fistful, but wat we need to learn is as big as the world!! (Its a colloquial saying).

    I think this thread will be a great eye-opener for all the women here on our sweet forum.
     
  6. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    Is that true ladies?

    Most Gracious ILites,
    I have a childhood friend with whom I talk every day on virtually everything under the sun.
    I have talked to him about IL, about how sweet and how matured you ladies are, how well you respond to life's lessons.
    Last week I told him that I am posting a thread on ageing. "Sridhar, you will be overwhelmed by responses." And it became true.
    I told him that I am ringing warning bells this time on mental ageing.
    "Warning bells, on mental ageing? welll..... If I tell about your IL friends you will be offended. But I cant help saying that. I predict many women will keep away from your distressing post. The number of views will be just about a fourth of what you had for the ageing thread."
    I was furious. But controlled myself and asked him red-faced.
    "What makes you say so?"
    "You see physical ageing, cosmetics is lot of fine humour and that's an area you cant do much. But in the area of mental ageing and the kind of matters you discuss there, people might feel a vague sense of guilt and will be uncomfortable to discuss these matters."
    I could have challenged him. But I thought I would better see whether his predictions come true this time.
    I now ask an honest, an innocent question, my dear friends. "Is that true?"
    I would love to hear you shout in chorus, "No. It is not." I would love even more to receive an honest answer from you.
    regards,
    varalotti

     
  7. krishnaamma

    krishnaamma Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Hi

    Hello Sridhar,

    I am rushing to Saudi tomorrow morning, (I have to start by 5 AM.) and I want to see your answer to my post and others posts. But I shocked to see only two posts including mine. What happened to IL? Whether your friend is correct?:cry:

    I dont know what is happening? Any how always truth is bitter . Is it not? You are a writer you know better than me about this .
     
  8. Vandhana

    Vandhana Silver IL'ite

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    No its Not

    Dear Sridhar,

    I think i was probably the amongst the first few to read this piece on Mental ageing. It is indeed a serious topic and to reply, we need to sit and introspect a little . I am sure that takes a little time. Not that your article needs an answer, you have written it so well, there is no need for a comment other than to applaud your efforts. :clap :clap
    I am sure that, after reading your piece many of us are too busy playing sudoku, scrabble etc.. and catching up on all the lovely reading , enrolling in new courses, learning new things, so we are a little busy right now.:) since reading your post yesterday, i played a few extra sudoku games, as well as scrabble. I learnt a few new PC related things...., i am learning now how a solar panel works ( since that is what Ani wants to do for his science project! and he knows more than me about it and i have to keep up with him!!:oops: )

    If this article on ageing has motivated the ILites to do more , then indeed you have achieved your purpose. And am sure hoping more Ilites will come out saying that it motivated them to do something extra to keep their minds young.

    Vandhana
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2007
  9. anjana

    anjana Bronze IL'ite

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    The worst old age is that of the mind

    Dear Sridhar,
    What an informative post and an interesting one too.I beleive the most important factor in 'quality ageing' is the presence of a strong interest in life- a focus or passion to pursue and you have proved that to be right.Isn't it true that most of the people who live well into their eighties and nineties are the ones who have led an active and fruitful lives and the reason may be they are still pursuing their interest or hobbies with a passion.
    As you have said a hobby is the most potent anti-ageing pill[for the mind] for that promises 'eternal youth'. Your post has clearly broken the mind barriers Sridhar. You have elaborated my title very well.
    Love,​
     
  10. Kamla

    Kamla IL Hall of Fame

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    Enjoyed immensely:)

    Yes Sridhar, I enjoyed your post...which one...well, keep guessing...a little exercise for your brain...I mean well...want to keep you young..:))))
    I also enjoyed Vandhana's post a lot..ha ha ha. Couldn't stop laughing...True. She beat me to it. All IL'ites are so busy at games, joining evening classes or immersed in their books that they are playing 'hide'n seek' with IL. Your doing!
    Seriously, you amaze me. Your write up on 'Aging of the Mind' was too good, no doubt. We all know what an eminent writer you are by now, but it is the matter that you write about which is is so engaging. You seem to have a very curious mind which does not seem to take a break from questioning things. It is that agile mind of your's which sees so much more into things that others would not even have given a second thought to. It is to that mind that I pay my respects and adulate.
    Keeping the mind fit and young is not as easy as touching lips up with colour. Mind is aging faster than the body at times depending on all the trials and tribulations a person undergoes. When all is normal and smooth, or relatively so, it is easier for people to keep up interests and undertake activities. But when one is feeling down and lost, it is an herculean task to bring oneself to fight the negativity and to remember to keep active and keep going and smiling. That is the time to remember to load the ' One up above' with one's own burdens and go ahead and feel relaxed.
    I have met many wonderful 'older' people who have impressed me thoroughly with their lust and jest for life. Many of them are from Germany, fathers and mothers of my friends and my own friends in turn and they have served as very valuable and precious lessons and examples for me. I would like to imbibe a lot from them. Then, there was my own dear grandmother who smiled her way through troubles.
    Thanks Sridhar, for the timely reminder about keeping the mind fit and young:)

    L, Kamla
     

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