Alyque Padamsee on staying forever young | brunch | feature | Hindustan Times
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Alyque Padamsee on staying forever young

Adman Alyque Padamsee reveals the secret potion for staying young, creative and forever popular with the ladies

brunch Updated: Aug 20, 2016 18:37 IST
Alyque Padamsee believes one must fall in love with life, every day. Padamsee with models at his Mumbai residence.
Alyque Padamsee believes one must fall in love with life, every day. Padamsee with models at his Mumbai residence.(Photo: Shivangi Kulkarni, Fashion stylist: Sania Momin, Hair and makeup: Reshma Nagree, Agency: TFM Models India, Apparel: The Source, Mumbai)

The biggest secret to feeling young is to never stop meeting pretty girls. It’s one of the first things I learned in life. I was 19 when I fell in love with Pearl, my first wife. I wanted to marry her, and my parents, who were quite strict and rather traditional, asked me how I could when I didn’t have a job or money. And Pearl had two daughters from her previous marriage. But I defied my parents, and that’s how I ended up getting into advertising — my first job was as a copywriter, for Rs 300 a month.

I’ve had three marriages. Pearl was a wonderful person, and we were ecstatically happy for 10-15 years. But eventually, I found the adventure had gone. Any product, whether it’s a marriage or a food product, has a sell-by date. It gets stale, boring, and monotonous. I’m a creative person who’s over-influenced by Picasso and other artists. I believe that you have to have a muse. For me, that has always been women. And the muse can’t be the same all your life; you have to renew the idea. So I found another. And then another. And yet, I don’t share a bitter relationship with my ex-wives. I’m close to all my kids, and share a wonderful relationship with them.

Life should be full of joy, and I’m a great believer in the saying ‘every cloud has a silver lining’. Even if you’re down in the dumps, and a tragedy or a big problem arises, the sun is waiting to peek out. Most young people today have never learned that. You must get involved in life, to not let a single minute go without thinking of something exciting, whether that’s your girlfriend/ boyfriend, or even a big exam. The attitude should be ‘wow, what a challenge’, and not ‘what a problem’. The word ‘problem’ should be banished from the dictionary. The only antidote to anxiety is action, together they make the three As.

When I wake up in the morning, I have my breakfast, and then work on two lists. One is a hate list, which, as the name implies, includes things like paying my insurance, going for a medical checkup, phoning clients who owe me money. My love list is calling up my daughter, my son, my girlfriend, and read at least a chapter from a book I find exciting. In fact, I love Shakespeare and he helped me find a solution to something I find very boring – exercise. The doctor said I must walk and I got a treadmill which I would use every night while watching my favourite show on TV. And when that ended, I stopped using the treadmill. My daughter, Shazahn, said she’ll get me some more DVDs but I thought of a solution. Now every night, I walk up and down my hall, and I recite Shakespeare. I’ve already done seven of his plays and I intend to do the rest of the 28.

I have been recently invited to New York University to give a talk on Indian playwrights in October. Many people wonder if this is the age to go abroad. But my daughter will be coming with me, she’s a wonderful companion, and we’re going to have a great time. The other day a friend asked me, what is it that you’re most excited about when you go there? Surely Broadway? I said yes, I will go on Broadway and also see the plays off Broadway, but what I’m looking forward to the most is going to a very famous disco that has just opened. I love dancing and go to Hard Rock Café in Bombay at least once in a month. Now, I’m going to go to the New York one. People often tell me, “Alyque, act your age.” I do. I’m 17 and studying at St Xavier’s college.

I’m very happy to be alive and when I have to go, which will be in some time, I tell my friends, don’t grieve. Just say he lived a full life, falling in love with everything. That’s my philosophy – fall in love with life, every day. As Frank Sinatra sang, “If you’re young at heart...”

- As told to Shikha Kumar

From HT Brunch, August 21, 2016

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