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   At 74, which he celebrated yesterday among friends... (September 19, 1991)

At 74, which he celebrated yesterday among friends who crowded the Taj's Crystal Rooms North, Central and South, plus overflowed into the lobby, Dr. L.H. Hiranandani is as sprightly as a spring lamb jumping from one craggy hill to another. Whoever has power in these matters has blessed him with abundant youth and energy.

And I have yet to see another man or woman with such enthusiasm for life. All good causes and bad, from euthansia to abandonment of capital punishment, he embraces with a fiery devotion, writing letters, memoranda, articles in newspapers; he knows every politician and excise and customs official in the country; he grows the greenest of plants on his terraces and generously distrubutes rose plants in bloom to friends, most of the time himself carrying the plants to the friends' homes; he runs his consulting rooms and ENT hospital with a perfect bedside manner.

I do not think he does any physical exercise to remain fit, no yoga, no dieting, no jogging on the slopes of Malabar Hill, though if he were to jog he would put all the regular joggers way behind him. He was too much energy to spend it on empty exercises, and burns his energy with his enthusiasm and climbing staircases - Dr. Hiranandani never waits for a lift. At 74 years and one day, I do not think there is a healthier and fitter man in town.

Mr. R.K. Karanjia, 79 years and four days, is an equally well-preserved gentleman and would by the shortest of heads come second in the fitness stakes after Dr. Hiranandani. The secret of his healthy longevity, I think, is also his enthusiasm for life. He continues to run his Blitz as an active day-to-day editor, had the courage to start a daily paper a few years back with a minimum of capital and lots of gumption, still travels around the globe meeting world leaders (though who will he be meeting now with the Shah of Iran out and the Soviet comrades out and Yasser Arafat on his way out?). And he has recently become a member or parliament and started a brand new political career, on whose frignes he always was.

I do not know how old Mr. Khushwant Singh is but judging from the way he writes about being a lawyer in Lahore, he must be in the same bracket as the other two. And his secret is also his enthusiasm: to travel free, to drink scotch free, and to boast about it. Unlike most people his age, Khushwant Singh does not take himself seriously; he can laugh at himself and others, get his thousands of readers to keep him suppled with bawdy and sardarji jokes, write ill about the dead, pull the government's ever-growing legs.

Judging by these three fine gentlemen, I would say that our older generation has not let us down. It is the younger generation, which is so conderned about itself and its future, which is doing so.

 
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