Happy birthday to me!

 

Happy birthday to me!

Published: Thu 24 Jan 2019, 11:00 PM

Last updated: Fri 25 Jan 2019, 1:00 AM

If you are reading this piece this Friday morning, I have just crossed 70. I used to be 22 just a few weeks ago. I have no clue where these 48 years went, sneaking past me like a thief in the night without even a by-your-leave. Even thieves leave a trace of having been there, done that. Not so Time, fickle and fey as he is, he doesn't care a hoot as he so callously tosses the hours and minutes away, the least affected by how that passage will bruise your sensibilities.
There is something about 70 that has that senior citizen stamp of finality. Whereas 69 has a fine upstanding sound to it, like your get up hasn't got up and gone and your swash nowhere near buckled.
So in the interest of staying on the right side of the timeline, I suggested to my family (everlovin' which they surely are) that we could skip the year and just redo 69 once more, making it 70 in 2020 - a good year what with the Expo and all that.
Everyone thought it was a silly idea and spake poorly of me. (My daughter) Nandini said you can say spoke, no one says spake anymore. (My other daughter) Priyanka said why would you want to fudge your age, it's such a special occasion.
It's just a mild vanilla fudge of a fudge, I said, it's not as if I was telling a giant of a lie.
No such thing, said both the girls, a fudge is a fudge and 70 is 70 - you cannot mess with it.
That's just it. I don't want to be an overnight septuagenarian. What is a year between friends? I need time to adjust, sort of mentally slide into the groove.
You want to give me a gift that I would love, I said, make it a bonus year, what we will do is keep silent about it and then next year, we can have a party and celebrate and this year can be a dry run.
They said, no, what rubbish, we will do a family celebration now and don't look so sad.
I said you both wanted to take a sabbatical in college and after you guys got married, you took two gap years before having babies. So, why can't I just make this into gap year?
Didn't work. They vetoed the idea. Said I was being a spoilsport and a party pooper.
Then if this adjustment period from one decade to the next is not bad enough, you get the syrupy do-gooders with their tedious clichés. You are as young as you feel. Age is but a number; 70 is the new 40. You look good for your age (what on earth does that mean?). Wrinkles are only rivers where the smiles have been.
Yes, sure, I needed you to tell me that. Now, I am dee-light-ed with the shunt forward, wrinkles are rivers. for heaven's sake, from where do they drum such drivel up?
There is something about 70 that makes people give you advice like they were doling out charity covered in chocolatey concern. Tell you things like slow down, take it easy, you are not that young anymore. Put away that badminton racket and cut out this and reduce that and you are not that young anymore. And if anyone says 'you are not that young anymore' even once more, I will smack them. I have never had a high degree of tolerance for stating the obvious. I know I I'm not that young anymore. Stop telling me that every few minutes.
Also, having a role to play are scaremongers who love to interpret every physical condition as dire. At your age, indigestion could be something else. you know my aunt was only 64 (always younger than you just to wreck your happiness) and she thought she had acidity and it was.
Oh be quiet.
Guess totally outplayed, I surrendered and that is why I am now legitimately 70. So much for my clever ploy.
Somebody said this: a human being would certainly not grow to be 70 or 80 if this longevity had no meaning for the species. The afternoon of human life must also have a significance of its own and cannot be merely a pitiful appendage to life's morning.
Exactly. We count. Made me feel better. we have a role to play. There is still sand in the glass.
So, what if your kids tell you this is not your type of a movie, it is too 'now'. And no one in this generation knows who Malcolm X was.
Yes, it's true you go to a party and yearn for a chair to sit in; then you don't want to get up every time a lady comes in. All your food intake is on a quota system. The doctor talks about you in third person, like what does he like to eat or how was he feeling this morning and you want to say, hey, I am here, okay, talk to me.
And then this young whippersnapper walks by you and tells your children, hey, your dad is real cute. like old people were stuffed toys.
wknd@khaleejtimes.com

By Bikram Vohra

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