Are you experiencing a mid-life crisis?
Help! I’m going through a mid-life crisis, is the title of a new self-help book that has just hit the stores. The book was written by Dr Anand Balakrishnan and Prof. Cajetan D’Souza. Unfortunately, D’Souza, who was himself going through a mid-life crisis at the time, passed away after completion of page 79. D’Souza’s death spiralled Dr Anand into his own mid-life crisis, and although he was able to complete the book, he himself is on life support at present.
The good thing about this book is obviously that it focuses on the Indian context. Now, a German mid-life crisis average age is 43, but for Indians the figure is 39. (Of course, in some countries like Libya and Afghanistan, the average mid-life crisis age is nine.)
But keep in mind, life, like everything else, is relative.
Chapter 1 is beautifully written, but it is mostly about the author’s childhood and could have been kept out of the book. The same goes for Chapter 2. This chapter devotes far too much time to how to tie one’s shoelace. The fun begins really from Chapter 3.
This chapter deals exclusively with knowing whether you are experiencing a mid-life crisis. The list of clues include: rolling up one trouser leg; insisting on spelling chrysanthemum in public; walking around with a soft toy, like a teddy bear; singing aloud Elton John tracks; gargling repeatedly every 20 minutes.
These are the most common symptoms of mid-life crisis amongst our population. However, the biggest symptom of having a mid-life crisis is actually feeling like you are having a mid-life crisis.
Chapter 4 goes on to deal with the crisis.
The best way to check if your having a mid-life crisis is by asking the person sitting next to you, “Am I having a mid-life crisis?” If you are not satisfied with the answer, you can scientifically validate the answer by asking the person sitting closest to you again, “But seriously, am I having a mid-life crisis?”
The authors seemed somewhat distracted in Chapter 6 and digress on how to improve the standard of organic farming in western India. This digression can be traced to Prof. D’Souza’s own medical condition, i.e. a mid-life crisis. This was seen in two unusual characteristics. He started talking to the furniture and walking his plants.
Chapter 7, 8 and 9 talk of how to deal with the mid-life crisis, which, by now we take it, is in full swing. Here Dr Anand leads by example: once a person is diagnosed with this predicament, his near and dear ones must act fast. This they can do by running away, ignoring the patient or laughing at him. Occasionally, you can try a more humane approach. Dr Anand, for example, would close all the curtains for Prof. D’Souza.
This, of course, was done to stop the professor, from spitting on passerbys and subsequently topple off the balcony, into the great divide. Surprisingly, Dr Anand is quite keen on feeding the mid-life crisis. His words, “Feed the beast till it is so full it bursts.” “Don’t pussyfoot around, make them face the reality.”
Of course, Dr Anand did so, and although, as a consequence of this, Prof. D’Souza passed away, the idea and treatment were spot on.
Chapter 10, 11, and 12 focus on skiing in the Alps and white water rapids fishing. This is primarily because Dr Anand himself was hors de combat and the publisher asked his travel agent to complete the book formalities.
So please, if you are suffering from or know someone who is suffering from a mid-life crisis, buy this book urgently. The mid-life crisis is no small disease and hence the World Health Organisation has marked it as disease No. 4, 5, 6 — right below pimples and just above warts.