When I was twenty, most Pakistanis did not live beyond the age of fifty. I thought it would be a miracle if I didn’t die before fifty five (which in those days was the retirement age in most multinational companies). But throughout my life I have come across people who may have been young in years, but their mental ages were like those of aged people, like one guy on "Chowrangi" who is obsessed with black magic and forbidden things.

Now that I’m over sixty (I was born in 1944), I thought I would like to share with my readers the secret of staying young despite being aged. One of the first things young people must do is to enjoy themselves as much as possible (within limits, of course). Some people like socializing; others like to watch TV, while there are those who enjoy surfing on the net. Young people nowadays do not realize how lucky they are. In my college days I had to travel ten to twelve kilometers by bus to reach a library where I would make notes from reference books. Now, with just a click of the mouse, you can get information on any subject under the sun. “My love for reading, I would not exchange for the wealth of India,” sang the poet (Alexander Pope). I’ve always felt that those who do not like to read are not really alive. Oh, they may be able to walk, breathe and talk, but they don’t know enough to hold a conversation.

Then there’s music. There will be killjoys who will tell you that listening to music is a sure way to burn in the Hereafter, but such people should be ignored. They have only one agenda, which is to make life hell for those who have the misfortune to know them. I had a relative who had Parkinson’s disease, while another suffered from severe depression; both of them were told by doctors to listen to music and watch TV programs, and both lived healthy lives until they were eighty.

But the best thing to do, if one wants to remain young, is to work in a field where one can utilize one’s talents to the fullest. If a person is good at taking photographs and enjoys it, he or she may take up photo-journalism as a career. A person who can sing well could work in the entertainment industry.

Finally, one must not be afraid to laugh. Again, there will be some who will be offended if you laugh heartily. Those who are not able to laugh can never enjoy life; they’ll always be obsessed by what (in their opinion) is right and what is wrong. They will always be in the minority. And they will never know what it is to be young.