So one fine morning you turn 40. You wake up just as you always do, and realize that you could very easily mistake the sunlight streaming in through the window pane for the morning before, or the morning after. The bed sheets appear ruffled as they usually do, your hair, or rather what is left of it, looks disheveled, and your mouth tastes weird.
The first thing that I probably did when I touched 40 was to look up a few positive quotes about life on the internet. Soon, I meet up with a close friend, who gives me one hard look up and down, shrugs and with a peculiar nod of his head, states that ‘life begins at 40’. I tell him that despite his optimism, he does not sound that confident.
Ageing is not something that we all do gracefully, and I can only envy those men and women who have over the years, learned to live their age. Its strange that it takes a while for the truth to set in, and when a few people who have always spoken to your eyes, very casually shift their glance upwards on to your balding pate, and immediately look down, as if in apology, you tell yourself that the years are fast flitting by.
Given the fact that I remain in the company of my students all the while – youngsters who are mostly in their early twenties – it requires quite a lot of drilling to remind yourself that your college days have long flown by, and that you are still in college, for a different reason altogether. And then comes that wacky comment from some wise mouth, who suggests that if I had been married quite early, I would have had kids the age of my students! Thank you very much, but that rejoinder does not help one bit, comrade!
So here I am, closely analyzing how the world has changed since I turned 40, and soon heaving a sigh of relief at having discovered no visible, radical transformations that have transpired overnight. And then, as I merrily recline on the passenger seat of an evening train, along comes a pretty girl who occupies the seat opposite to me with a smile, and very politely asks how long it would take for the train to reach Trivandrum. Amazing scenario, except that she addresses you as ‘Uncle’.
The shudder that hurriedly struggles down your spine, makes your face look as if the last drop of blood has been mopped off it with a blotting paper. Alarmed, the girl looks at you, and wonders if she had committed some gross mistake. Even as you mumble an answer, you take a few deep breaths in, and almost immediately look out of the window, suddenly developing a huge interest in some non-existent scenery. You tell yourself that the worst is over. There is definitely more to come, but it will all be fine.
And then, like a torrent, it all comes down in a flurry even before you know it. The signs, I mean. A visit to the ophthalmologist doesn’t go that well, since she merely smiles and prescribes you glasses for the blurred vision, stating that this is quite common among men who are forty-plus. I have never been a mirror person, and yet find myself darting those furtive glances towards it every time I pass by. As for the forgetfulness, you pretend that its selective remembering. And as you bend down, you almost start expecting your spine to let out a creak. And the ‘Uncle Syndrome’ rages on, like there is no tomorrow.
I am 40 plus and all ready, world. Give it to me. More…Yeah!