"Age is something that cannot be described in words. You have to age and then feel it" said my father with a smile. We were sitting on the lawn chitchatting. My father was very affectionate and caring. He was a man of few words but the words he uttered were often gems containing a whole thought process in them. One had to listen carefully and think deeply to catch the intended meaning.

I smiled back trying to figure it out. Little did I realize then that my 30+ mind was not equipped with sufficient experience to understand what my father had just said. I wondered why he had said that, after all we all know our age. What was there to feel?

Papa looked at my face and read the confusion. He tried to explain “As we age our eyes don’t see clearly like before, our limbs ache, our digestion is not like what it used to be, our reflexes slow down. Why do you think it had to be this way? It is a subtle message from God to us asking us to change our priorities in life and to finish unfinished work”. I did get it this time but still wondered why he was saying this. He was very fit with a military built. He had been hugely successful professionally. Both his sons were doing well in life. We were decently affluent. Why should he feel depressed?

I realize the truth of those words at my present stage of life. Actually friends, we humans are pretty clueless why we got our life span. What was the intended use? This question drives us crazy as we want to evaluate, correct and complete our work. The billion dollar question remains what was intended by God.

As God will not tell us his intentions we have to introspect, interpret and fix our own course and destination in life. The earlier we do it in life the better. However, we have our limitations. When we stand at the starting point we can neither see the course nor the finish line.

A great thinker once said that when our age is between 20 and 40 the most important equipment for us is our watch. Time is scarce and there are time bound targets to be met. However, when we cross 40 the most important instrument in life should be our compass. The compass should now guide us to what we really want to achieve in life. It should not happen that we keep climbing the stairs of life and then when we tire out and hang our boots we realize that the ladder we were climbing for all these decades was leaning against the wrong wall. At that point in life we would neither have the time nor the energy to climb down, shift the ladder and climb again. We would end up sad after years of struggle. So friends we must introspect and set our goals properly NOW.

I realize now that my father must have had similar thoughts in his mind when he had made that comment. Perhaps when our limbs and organs start failing us it is a warning from God that we are reaching the end of our ladder and time is up.

Today my father is with God, guiding me through life. I, on my part, recollect his pearls of wisdom, analyze them, and correct the course of my life. When I am lost I close my eyes and ask him.