I have finally mastered the art of delegation.
A few weeks ago, I handed over the I-Day issue plan to colleague Sanjukta Sharma and said: Execute. Then I made myself available as chief troubleshooter and background worrier. In short, I switched off the control button and liberally used the words “you decide”. Art and design director Anup Gupta was so excited about the special issue, he dug up all kinds of photo and layout references, emailed dummy layouts late at night and made photographers reshoot images until he was satisfied with the way everything looked. Anup couldn’t stop working, Sanjukta thanked me for the responsibility and I mostly spent the week watching blood-soaked movies such as The Host and Zodiac—all were happy as the issue came together smoothly.
And yes, I convinced the editor to write a piece that uses the word ‘I’, something he usually hates doing.
Sixty is a special number by anyone’s standards. It’s a number that signals a different phase; it’s also a number that can make you feel happy when people dissociate you from it. My mother, a 1947 baby with a passport that says ‘Place of birth: Pakistan’, couldn’t stop smiling at her birthday dinner when the restaurant manager whispered in my ear: “She doesn’t look 60!” Even when we asked Sanctuary editor and 1947 born Bittu Sahgal what it feels like to turn 60, he said: “I never once thought of myself entering that unfamiliar territory till you asked me!”
We’ve done away with the regular pages this week, yet tried something that’s typically Lounge and that, I’m almost certain, will be very different from the other independence specials you’re bombarded with as India turns 60. The issue is divided into two parts—in the first section, we asked our favourite young writers to take a go at different aspects of this important birthday. Author Mukul Kesavan kicks off this segment with a quick can do/will do analysis of the last 60 years. In the second section, we asked people born in 1947 to share their stories about growing up with India.
Sixty is also the start of life as a senior citizen (at least as far as the railways go; for the income-tax department, a senior citizen is 65 years and above).
We asked some of the people we’ve featured to share their thoughts on this too. Here’s what they said:
“I think growing up is a wonderful thing. It is all about your perspective, and looking at things from a positive angle. However, I feel the care and provisions for senior citizens in our country are not adequate. People should save and secure their future. Parents think their offspring are their security for their future but that is not the case. Why depend on others and how long can the government provide for such a huge population?” Rakhee Gulzar
“We need a strong but viable safety net through accelerated and deep penetration of pensions, health insurance and life insurance, and improved health care facilities, that would make senior citizens less vulnerable to financial and health shocks and enable them to live with dignity.” K.V. Kamath
“I don’t feel 60 at all and frankly, I don’t think of myself as a senior citizen.” Astad Deboo
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