Iturn 50 today. Yup, the big 5-0. When I was twenty, 50 seemed like that ‘really old’ future age. But here I am at the half-century mark, and I’m thinking 50 is truly just a number. Three ages in a man’s life are crucial — 18 (“Yeah man, I can drive and see ‘A’ movies”). 21 (“Yeah man, I can vote”) And 50. (“Yeah man”).
So the question is invariably asked, do I feel older and wiser? I can’t claim to be wiser — but here are random thoughts I’m feeling this morning — some angry, some amusing, some archaic.
Music to me is still about albums and Guns ‘n’ Roses and Led Zeppelin with their beautifully-crafted lyrics, and deeply-layered ballads. Not just dance songs that pass in the night. I want bands that write a whole album of worth, not a single song of temporary wonder. And I want Music Television to show music and not reality shows. A performer on MTV today seems to require a finely toned body not finely tuned vocal chords anymore.
Technology and the computer age have great merits, but it’s us that have become crazily lazy. I totally understand gravitating from letter writing to email. It’s quicker and who has the time to buy stamps, envelopes and find post offices? But what’s with reading books off a Kindle or an iPad? What’s the problem with holding a hardcover book — is the world suddenly allergic to paper?
I’m just not a fan of tweeting. I don’t wish to convey minute by minute what I’m thinking. And I have no desire to condense that thought into one crisp sentence. Quite frankly you need to be a Woody Allen, a Lao Tzu or a Confucius to say something unique in a short pithy sentence. If you can’t be that witty, wise or prophetic, keep your thoughts in your head. We don’t need to hear them.
The city is in the throes of a prolonged bout of extreme dumbing down. Aiming for the lowest common denominator is the thing. So we live in a C Bhagat/ Bebo/ Beiber world. Because our artistes are tossing out stuff that gives momentary satisfaction, not lasting value. And because we as audiences/viewers/readers are asking for that.
I’m a bit done with how touchy we’re all getting about each others communities — I will continue to call my friends Maka pao, Miya, Bawa, Dink, Sardee, even Chinky. These are terms of endearment, not insults of isolation.
I have one tiny shred of advice for today’s youth. Enjoy that full stretch of life that precedes adulthood. Don’t be in a hurry to grow up, and be ‘mature’. Let your doubts be viewed as weakness. Chill. Keep 50 at bay for as long as you can. Then of course, embrace it.
Rahul da Cunha is an adman, theatre director/playwright, photographer and traveller. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
The views expressed in this column are the individual’s and don’t represent those of the paper