Please tell me about your childhood, family and school life. I was born in 1948 and I was eldest of my three siblings. I recall that I had a wonderful time during my childhood days. It may sound strange to you but we used to live in a joint family. With us lived our three uncles. I did not have any good friends in school. So, I used to go out with my cousins and play most of the time. Back then I was very obedient to my parents. I maintained good relationship with my siblings. When I was of 15 years of age, our joint family was divided due to a conflict among our elders. We moved to a new town.
Since I had no cousins here, I was forced to form friendships in class. What is the most important historical event or period of time that you have lived through? How did it influence you personally? The most important period of my life was the period that I spent at college. I was not worried about anything. When I saw other students’ lives, I felt satisfied with my life. Some of them used to work hard in their evening jobs to pay their college expenses. They had to juggle their time between their course work, part-time jobs, girl friends, and their social lives. They had great difficulty managing their time.
I was fortunate enough to have a father who bore all my expenses. The extra time that I had made it possible for me to have a great social life. Personally, the college life influenced me greatly. I worked on my personal development during that time. I discovered my passion for tennis, felt more motivated to achieve my goals, and built a network of real friends who are still my friends. What is the biggest change you have seen in how people conduct their everyday lives? The way people conduct their everyday lives today has undergone a huge change. In my opinion, technology has brought about the greatest change.
Back in those days, we did not have IPods, Laptops, Palmtops, cell phones, internet etc. But, the young people today live their lives on digital devices. In our time, there was more human interaction than it is now. Technology has reduced face-to-face contact among people. They inform others about what they are upto through Twitter and Facebook. In those days, sending letters was the chief mode of communication but these days we have email and highly sophisticated cell phones. People do not have to wait for newspaper to come in the morning to know about the world.
News is immediately broke through online newspaper service providers. All in all, I can say that technology has changed the way people conduct their lives. I personally feel that people should have more face-to-face contact because that creates a real friendship. What advice would you give young people? I would advise young people that the short span of life makes it imperative for us to lead it happily without hurting others. Of course, we cannot be a perfect human being who never has quarrels with anyone. We all think differently that is sure to cause conflicts.
What we can do is to respect everyone and avoid getting into arguments with others. We need not belittle anyone. I advise my sons and daughters to spend time on pursuing their passions and working on their personal development. Have you ever experienced any negative attitudes or discrimination because of your age? If yes, please explain. I have never faced any negative attitude or discrimination because of my age. Rather people, especially young souls, have been extra helpful to me. When I travel, people are willing to give up their seats to provide me a place to sit.
They help me in crossing a busy road. Even my own grand children do not make me feel that I am old. I am pretty happy with my life and I thank God for that. Lessons I Learnt from This Interview Was there anything about the experience that surprised you? There was one thing that surprised me while I was interviewing Mr. Alden. I was expecting that he would love to re-visit his old days but, surprisingly, that was not true. He is quite satisfied with his life and is living it to the fullest. He has no regrets about the life he has spent.
How did you feel during the interview? Before conducting this interview, I thought that it would be boring to talk to an older adult. But, while interviewing Mr. Alden, I had completely different feelings. I was wholly engrossed into whatever he was saying. I felt so happy to interview him that I continued to talk to him even after the formal interview was over. Do you feel your thinking has been changed about elders and/or the aging process? Were your expectations of aging confirmed? Please explain. I believe my thinking about elders has changed after this interview.
I used to think that most of the old people would be unsatisfied with their life. But, that turned to be a myth after talking to Mr. Alden who was completely satisfied with his life. I also had a perception about old people that they are good for nothing. But, this interview proved to me that not only are old people able to do many task well but can play a major role in transforming the lives of youth of today. They can teach us how to live well by using their lives as examples. He proved to me that a proper lifestyle at a young age ensures that we have a healthy mind in old age.