Khali, Khurr, Raha and Maan are all 70 or thereabouts. Their wisespeak is evidently loaded with very strong i-ness. But let’s not count the trees and miss the woods. Here is what they’ve spoken…wisely…
Forty is the old age of youth and sixty is the youth of old age, relates Khali and thinks he must be treated like a nine year old because old age is the second childhood. According to Blake, Khali must be at the other end in the chamber of experience but would prefer to enter the second chamber of innocence before his time is up. Like a snake sloughing off its skin, he is trying to cast off those personality traits that hold him back from entering the second chamber of innocence. One doesn't know when the Referee is going to blow the whistle. Entering the second chamber of innocence may well be impossible but to be busy trying at better goals has its own pleasure, he thinks.
He takes a lot of pleasure in doing routine things: like, getting up at 4, making tea, going for a walk, doing some exercises and following them with extremely relaxing yognidra. Such ordinary things which he used to do perfunctorily in his earlier days have now become a source of enjoyment.
Khurr enjoys one full hour in the bathroom. He loves reading in the lavatory and doing some justice to the newspapers and magazines. For this he needs a clean bathroom and pleasant smell around. He thinks the sitting-room doesn’t project the personality and the level of life he lives. It is in fact the bathroom that is a true indicator of the user's conduct. He cleans up his bathroom two or three times a week and puts a new odonil cake in the case once a week. A dirty bucket, a dirty mug or a dirty badna is an instant source of irritation. He sees to it that they keep him in good cheer.
He has a wall-clock in his bathroom to avoid overtime. He thinks he manages time extremely well: 20 minutes for the big job and reading, 20 minutes for bath and 20 minutes for drying up. He takes four towels to dry: one for the head and face, one for the upper body, one for the lower and one small one for the feet. He always uses white towels -- they tell him when to change!
Raha takes a lot of pride – and pleasure – in small things. As he is putting on his kurta-pyjama , he goes through the unmuttered prayers and thanksgiving to God for being so kind as to enable him to wear fresh- from- the drycleaner's clothes every day. Thank-you-God...Thank-you-God continues like a refrain as he wears three good quality Itr over his kurta and rumaal. He has 10-12 different varieties of Itr for the year!
He takes about 45 minutes to take breakfast which is the best meal of the day for him. He starts with a boiled or baked apple. He eats it with honey, black pepper and pink salt. As he eats, he says he tastes the GRACE, the GREATNESS, and extreme KINDNESS of G O D! He is completely overwhelmed, completely bowled over, as he relishes ... and relishes... fondling long the varied tastes of the fruits of the season in the fruit-salad. He wonders how such different delightful tastes in inexplicable attractive shapes and colours and textures develop from the same mother-earth to gift him with the only option of enjoying to the full the exquisiteness of those succulent slurps. Next, he eats chapatis or parathas (done in home-made ghee)--but parathas once a week only-- with two or three delicious delicacies. Then he has tea without milk to wash down.
For lunch, he has a bowl of clear vegetable soup at 1:30. Then he has siesta for an hour and has tea with one or two Digestive biscuits at 4.
Dinner is a family affair. He eats everything that is there. Connoisseur of good taste, he is a gourmet. He has found out the secret of enjoying food to the full without over-eating. He takes small morsels and plays with them as long as possible. The longer the food is in touch with the taste-buds, the fuller is the pleasure and the tastier the food, he says. He loves ice-creams. Here again, go-slow is the name of the game.
Maan is the fourth in their group.Apart from food, he enjoys music. Old film songs for him are a thing of beauty and a joy forever! He has grown with the music of Naushad, Shankar-Jaikishan, Ghulam Mohammad, Khayyam and Madan Mohan. Ghazals of Malika Pukhraj and Begum Akhtar still haunt him. Can he ever forget Sehgal? What about Habib Wali Mohammad? He says his recent numbers in Pakistan are marvellous. Nowadays he listens to qawwalis based on classical music, and here, Nusrat Fateh Ali for him is simply unsurpassable and a source of perhaps the highest form of pleasure.
He has a free time between 11 and 1. During these two hours he meets visitors or listens to music or sits at the computer. If a visitor begins to get on his nerves, he gives him a dose of music (like tea or coffee), closes his eyes so that music transports him into another world. The visitor thus is left with the options of either beginning to enjoy the music, which is OK for him, or preparing to leave, which again is OK for him. Sitting at the computer for him can be enjoyable as long as the computer is a good servant and he is not a bad master, he says. He has been a Cricket mad since childhood. He always watches Cricket when India is playing and he watches with academic interest. He also reads a lot of Cricket. Shall I tell you one thing? Cricket, he says, has been one of his best teachers of English!
Evenings for him are generally free. Sometimes he plays with kids.They often find in him an equally foolish kid and have a nice laugh -- and he joins!
A day well spent is a reward in itself according to all of them. They call themselves lucky. They learnt, rather early in life, how to make a deal with Time to change business into pleasure lest Time should force them into a deal to change their pleasure into business and change business into drudgery.
For the four, at the top of all the day's pleasure is the pleasure of retiring for tonight. Getting to sleep before too long has the indescribable sense of joy like that of floating on the stream of consciousness and then secretly slipping into the dark softness, ‘half in love with an easeful death’ only to be awake hopefully at 4 next morning and once again … to be half in love with the glorious birth of another day!