Special treatment for the elderly

A minute or two later another funny thing happened. While we were waiting on line for something else, they were strictly checking to see if people had more than one carry-on bag.

A young girl right ahead of me had two bags. They pulled her out of the line and told her to wait on the side. I also had two bags: the little grey bag on my shoulder and another one I was carrying. The official saw my two bags. He said, “Why have you brought two?” Then he looked at me and said, “Allowed, allowed! You are an old man.”

So I was an old man twice in five minutes. One of the reasons they thought I was old was because I was limping. I was limping on account of my leg pain. So every disadvantage is a blessing in some way. If you are an old man, you can take two bags onto the plane.

In India several friends of mine at the Ashram said to me, “For the first time, you look old. What has made you so old? We are so sorry for you. Your stay in America has made you old!”

I said, “I am old because I have so many responsibilities.”

— 30 September 1984