Elixir of Youth

I often think about Elixir of Youth – the magical potion or liquid that grants eternal youth and immortality. It has been often identified with Ambrosia in Greek mythology or Amrit or Amrita as per Hindu lore. Food of good that grants them eternal youth and immortality denied to ordinary mortals. We are all familiar with story of how the wily Devas lured their rival Asuras to churn the ocean (Samudra Manthan) that held the pot of nectar or Amrita. Once the pot surfaced, they  tricked Asuras to surrender it, denying them even a single drop.

Since time immemorial humanity has been fascinated by the concepts of eternal youth and immortality. Every culture has their own legends of the much sought after Elixir of Youth, an alchemist or a magician trying cook up or conjure the elixir. There are stories of people going on long arduous journey to procure it and ironically enough, even losing their life seeking the potion of immortality.

Fascinated by folklores and mythology I have devoured these tales, different variations of them But I don’t remember a single one where the protagonist procures the elixir or even if they do they end up badly for it. Remember the classic Death Becomes Her, the scary story of two sister once at loggerheads seeking eternal youth.

Over 20 years…

Somehow, I never empathized with these protagonists, I have always pitied their vain and often egoistical quest. As a girl I have often wondered how boring it would be to be caged in ‘youth’ while all your friends and family would be growing older and moving on. Now, at a more mature age, I find it silly when people shun aging. Also I fail to understand why adding years or aging is considered growing old and therefore nothing to look forward to. While we admire the beauty of an old banyan tree, we are often oblivious of the beauty and the wisdom that we gather as we move on in life. For age is not just about body, it’s about the maturity it lends to our mind as well.

In many ways, we are more fortunate than our previous generations to be living in times where icons have defied aging by gracefully embracing it. Be it Sofia Loren or Sean Conery or our very own Wahida Rehman and Sharmila Tagore, they have shown us how beautiful aging can be. And no matter what number we hit we are young and beautiful. As gorgeous 54 year old Jennifer Aniston once said she gets sick of people saying, ‘You look great for your age.’

For what’s age got to do with not looking great! We are wiser with age, we are richer with age, we are in a more secure place. We should be smart enough to take care of our health, just march on for the best is yet to be!

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