New Delhi: At 98, Khushwant Singh counts himself lucky that he still enjoys his evening drink and relishes tasty food, but feels sad that he has always been a bit of a lecher and looked at women as objects of lust.
In " Khushwantnama: The Lessons of My Life", the country's most prolific writer and columnist reflects on a life lived fully and the lessons it has taught him. He writes on subjects as diverse as old age and the fear of death; on the joy of sex, the pleasures of poetry and the importance of laughter; on how to cope with retirement and live a long, happy and healthy life.
He also airs his views on politics, politicians and the future of India; on what it takes to be a writer; and on what religion means to him.
"In my 98th year, I have little left to look forward to, but lots to reminisce about. I draw a balance sheet of my achievements and failures.
"On the credit side I have over 80 books: novels, collections of short stories, biographies, histories, translations from Punjabi and Urdu, and many essays. On the debit side is my character...," Singh writes in the book, published by Penguin India.
He regrets that he committed many "evil deeds" in his early years like killing sparrows, doves and rock pigeons.
"I have also come to the sad conclusion that I have always been a bit of a lecher. From the tender age of four right to the present when I have completed 97, it has been lechery that has been uppermost in my mind.
"I have never been able to conform to the Indian ideal of regarding women as my mothers, sisters or daughters. Whatever their age, to me they were, and are, objects of lust," he writes.
"At 98, I count myself lucky that I still enjoy my single malt whiskey at seven every evening. I relish tasty food, and look forward to hearing the latest gossip and scandal," Singh, who was a member of Parliament from 1980 to 1986, says.
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