Amar Nath Mukherjee
The natural somatic changes inevitably occur when we grow old and this change is so common as the ripe old apple or mango along with its changed colour drop into the ground at the end of association with tree.
None of us ever have enquired as to why it so happens; why the Mother Nature is so unkind to us at the fag end of our existence. Does it have any design to eliminate her creation faster or render maximum protection to the senile degeneration of the human being? To obtain the probable answer to this occurrence we must approach to the master craftsman, the nature itself.
If we have observed the life cycle of the trees and fruits around us, we must have seen that at the beginning, blossoms are subjected to cross pollination, following which the fruits come out with a green coating; this green coating is the chlorophyll. This chlorophyll acts as the cook of the tree who prepares food for the trees as well as pack sufficient food stock inside the fruits for the survival of its seeds, chlorophyll prepares food for the tree and fruits with the help of the manure and water which is drawn out from the soil, carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and the sun’s rays (for effecting photosynthesis); as soon as the preparation of food is complete and packed inside the fruit, the chlorophyll activity is no longer required, consequently chlorophyll ceases to exist over the fruits; now the fruit and particularly its seeds are required to be carefully protected from weathering effect like exposure to intense ultraviolet rays or any oxidative damage.
The nature gradually extends its protective cover for the survival of seeds within the fruit by producing coloured pigments like yellow, red, black, purple which are basically carotenoid, flavonoid and other phytochemicals which are extremely efficient to protect seeds from the external hazards of the environment.
This is exactly the reason for our taking a good amount of coloured fruits in our diet to efficiently effecting protection of our physiological system against oxidative damage as we are ageing.
Over and above the colouration of fruits is essentially required for transportation of seeds to wider areas where the birds and monkeys and other species who are attracted by the colours of the fruits which they eat and strew the seeds far and wide.
If we can extrapolate our inference drawn out of trees and fruits on our senile somatic changes, we shall find that the nature has generously extended the similar protection device to the mankind to alleviate the agony at the twilight of our existence in this world. The first thing visible is that our black hair become gradually white so as to protect us from intense light radiation, whiteness effectively reflects sun’s rays (Astronauts always wear milk-white space suits in their space journey to keep themselves protected from the strong radiation).
The skin start shrinking all over our body so that the entire surface area of the body is substantially reduced, sequel to which, the body’s heat exchange process with the surrounding is significantly reduced. The eyesight becomes weak, in a sense, it is good because our eyesight is inherently very strong to find faults of others and is almost nil to find the fault of our own (This is an injustice the nature has inflicted on us at the beginning); in view of this, with the diminishing vision human being shall be more indifferent to others’ inadequacies.
Similarly our hearing ability also weakened and we shall be able to hear only the matters we are solely concerned with and for the rest we shall be almost deaf. (This is the common complaint we hear from the near relative about the old person); with growing old our teeth start shaking or come out of the gum suggesting us not to take rich foods as the rich and inadequately chewed foods will cause digestive problem, hence this action is taken by the nature.
Now coming to the reproductive system of the body, as this system is no longer as efficient as it used to be in younger age and body is not in a position to withstand the rigour of super sexual activities, the nature substantially reduces the libido or the sexual urge so that one can infrequently engage in this activity mildly, causing no strain to the system. It is therefore inadvisable and absolutely inexpedient to override nature’s design to protect us at the fag end of our existence. On the contrary we should gleefully greet the advent of our senile somatic changes the nature brings about to ameliorate our ageing agonies.