Tonight when the clock strikes the midnight hour and the seconds needle sails past in too much of a hurry if you ask me, to usher in the new day, moi steps delicately and one hopes with the right foot forward to the wrong side of half a century. Egad! Did I just say, half a century??!! Ummm… Uh-oh… that means I have been twiddling my thumbs here on Earth, far away from my home-land (which of course is Neptune for the info of any newbies around), for fifty long years, which translates into a whopping six hundred in months, two thousand five hundred or thereabouts in weeks, ____ in days, ____ in hours, ____ in minutes and ____ in seconds all of which I am not willing to write down for understandable reasons. Some wise guy who is better in computation than moi which is like the whole population on planet Earth (I recently asked the Penguin how many zeroes were there in a million and he went into paroxysms of laughter) is going to come along and punch holes in my calculations. And we cannot have that can we, especially when moi, already in a slightly distressed state of mind might get slightly more worked up at the implied slight and punch the poor know-it-all of a puncher-of-holes giving him/her a black eye, the half a century not withstanding.
Now the curious readers among you might be wondering about the slightly distressed state of my mind. In the meantime, some others I am sure are already going snigger snigger having jumped erroneously to what seems to them obvious conclusions, attributing the slightly distressed state to the phobia women have of advancing years. Hello!! Beg your pardon dear Jumpers to Erroneous Conclusions. It is not merely women who go all coy and secretive when it comes to age. In my long innings, I have seen an equal number of men if not more, worried about the same advancing age and hiding it from all and sundry securely under wraps and trying to pass off as younger than they actually are. A friend of mine once told me that when he replied ‘Forty-four, Male, India’ to that all important question, ‘ASL??’ familiar to netizens all over and that which sets the ball rolling in net conversations, it was received with an incredulous, “Aww come on now! How can that be?? Men on the net are all either in their mid-thirties or late twenties!! Are you sure you are forty-four??” I rest my case.
Anyways what bothers me as I step tentatively into the golden fifties is not the advancing age or the attendant bonuses, the wrinkles, the graying and falling hair or even the failing eyesight, the creaking joints or the errrr… ahem… splutter… splutter… oh aahh well umm… the increasing girth. Phew, there I managed to say it. These are all (for moi) minor irritants to be faced with equanimity if not total disregard. The problem, a trivial thing actually, no great shakes, lies elsewhere. Now that the golden fifty is at my doorstep, there will be more of those unobtrusively raised eye-brows at moi and her ways. I will have to face even more of that (to moi) mystifying and unclear phrase ‘Act your age!’ thrown my way, not directly (for very few would dare) but indirectly via sugar coated and brightly gift wrapped ‘innocuous’ remarks.
This ‘Act Your Age’ or its close relatives, Dress Your Age, Speak Your Age et al are phrases that I have never really understood the meaning of. Act your age?? Now what would that mean?? Hmmm… let me think. Does it mean that each birthday comes with a set of instructions on how to behave the following year?? Something like: Here is your fiftieth birthday. Hence forth you shall dress in such and such a way, deport yourself in such and such a manner. You don’t do this, you don’t do that and don’t you even think of doing something else altogether. Blah blah blah and blah. Is that what it means?? Or perhaps are such instructions for groups of years??
Do the instructions change over time or are they supposed to hold good for years and years altogether?? And pray who are the pompous asses (mind you, I do mean the animal though why asses should be considered pompous is beyond my limited intellgence) who make these unofficial rules?? And why do people follow the instructions of a bunch of pompous asses (reference is to the animals again), blindly?? Why do most of them even think it should be followed blindly?? I remember at five I was walking behind my little brother with a plate full of curd rice and veggies trying to feed him. I don’t remember anyone telling me, ‘Act your age! Go out and play!’ But I am sure they will bundle me off to the nearest lunatic asylum if I were to act like a child again. Why??
This reminds me of the time I read a discussion going on at a blog post about the way people dress. One of the comments was by a young lady in her late twenties. She said it was funny how some older people tried to dress like younger ones. Her exact words, people in their thirties trying to dress like those in their twenties or teens. That comment of hers made me think. Do you have a dress code for people of the 30s/40s/50s etc?? And are they barred from wearing the latest in vogue popular with other groups?? Who says so and why should it be adhered to?? Do you mean to say as soon as one reaches 30 he/she stops wearing a certain kind of dress associated with the twenty-somethings?? Oh yeah?? Says who??
To my question a young boy asked a counter question. Would you go out with an eighty-year old man dressed in the latest teen fashion ripped jeans and some sort of tees or open shirt revealing his gray haired chest was what the boy asked. I was simply amazed. I mean is this a question at all??
I replied: Whether I go out or not with an eighty year old man dressed in the latest teenage style of dressing is entirely my personal choice. But the point under discussion is whether the eighty year old man has the right to wear ripped jeans (whatever they are) and an open shirt showing off his gray haired chest. And if it is just a matter of your aesthetic sense being offended, how about looking away and letting others be??
The ideas that we have about how each age group should behave, dress, act, speak are nothing but what we are used to because that’s what we have seen the majority of people doing most of our lives. How about coming out of this limited way of thinking and asking, why it should be so?? Why should something seem right just because we are used to it, because a large number is following it?? A few years back a married woman down south would not be allowed to wear anything other than a sari Why?? I don’t think I have heard one valid reason as yet. But it was considered an iron clad rule.
I cannot agree with people who make remarks like, ‘That dress doesn’t look good on her. She is fat’ (Who decides which dress looks good on well proportioned people?? And why the discrimination?? You mean if you don’t fit into others perception of what the right size is, you cannot wear what you like??) or ‘That color is too bright for her age’ (Who decides which colors suit what age??) or …… it goes on and on. You know the ‘n’ number of things people have to say about what suits whom. When we say such things, doesn’t it just show our taste in things, mostly the result of conditioned thinking. Does that mean it is the right one?? As long as the person wearing it is comfortable, what’s anyone else’s problem??
During one of our many ponderings, the senior son told me that there is coded information in one of our genes that makes us conform. Conformity is to ensure survival; those who conform have better chances at it, I believe. But then if there is only conformity, there will be no progress. Maybe that is why you have a sprinkling among the herd of those with the conformity gene missing, those who are willing to question and make others think and others who go out and do things that are different. Perhaps I am one of those non-conformists, Though I have not yet gone out and done anything spectacular, I certainly question what most seem to take in their stride and I hope I do make people think with my questions, at least a handful.
…and oh yeah by the way, I refuse to act my age! 😉
This post is written in a hurry as deadline approach-eth. Any mistakes shall be corrected on the morrow when moi has had her beauty sleep and is fresh as a daisy. But before I go,
Happy Birthday to moi 😀
Happy B’day Ma!! See you soon … 🙂
Me: First to comment eh?? Thank you Monu! 🙂
Happy 50th, Shail! I’m sure you’ll be rocking even at 50 more. Enjoy the special day. 😀 50 is a milestone.
Me: Thank you OJ! Indeed it is a milestone in so many ways. 🙂
Sankaran Nampoothiri said:
Aging has never bothered me, infact to the contrary, I have actually enjoyed every passing year. An apt anology, to the way I see Life with every year behind me, would be that of reading a book at different stages in one’s life (when we see so much more or so much differently) or like viewing the very same scenery from a different vantage point an up-mountain road. The same sights look different, the same experiences bring richer insights, the same looks have deeper meanings, the same words have broader base..
It’s an experience for me to actually celebrate a friend touching fifty, I know I am not that far away. But I must confess I am actually looking forward to it!
Meanwhile let me just say this, “Shail, you rock!”
Me: Interesting analogy you have given Sankaran. Who is afraid of aging anyway?? Not me! Errrr… on second thoughts, I do wish I had a second set of eyes as a stand-by, not to mention a second pair of legs too. Oh ahh well, I guess I have to do what I can with the ones I have! 😉 😛
Thank you Sankaran.
Happy bday didi.You know what my mom and you are of equal ages but when I first saw you on yahoo you sounded much younger.Might be you were growing old but you stopped aging since some time.Tell us the secret “Why you dont really look like you are going to be 50
Me: Thank you Lahari. Lol, beats me Lahari. When I look in the mirror I find someone older. Maybe it has to do with your eyes! 🙂
Shail, 50! Yooo hoo!
Happy Birthday to one of the best bloggers around. You are an inspiration. I am a fan.
Me: Thank you Solilo 🙂 Ahhh that’s where the breeze is coming from. I was wondering…! 😉
“Growing old is mandatory;growing up is optional”…
Age is just a number…i know that u are still a child at heart..
Have a wonderful year ahead…
Me: Welcome to my page Nivedita. And thank you. Age is indeed a state of the mind. 🙂
Bob Hoff said:
What a great summary that you have written above about the “personal rights of individuals,” the “wrongs of prejudice” and “outsiders having personal expectations for others,” and the “ingredients of healthy and positive human relationships.”
While I join others in wishing you a very Happy Birthday, because of your wisdom, vivacity, and great intentions for your personal life, I choose not to see you as being 50, but rather as being “ageless.”
Another fantastic post from a fantastic lady. Thanks for sharing these stimulating thoughts.
Me: Bob, as usual you have it perfectly. 🙂 Thank you for the lavish praise. You bet I am grinning from ear to ear. 🙂
Latha Jayaprakash said:
We just seem to be made in a similar mode. I am 5 years elder to you but still have not been able to accept and act my age. Tried for sometime but no one seemed to like that too, particularly my dear hubby.
He kept saying don’t try to change, be yourself. So I have accepted and still continue everything as I used to do when I was in my younger age.
Me: Latachechi, I think I differ with you on that. I have accepted my age and have no issues with it. When I say I won’t act my age, I mean that I will do things my way not because a bunch of ‘know-it-alls’ think it should be done that way. Freedom in thought and action is more what I mean.
And I am certainly not anything like I used to be when I was was young and don’t do things the way I used to then. I have come a long way. ‘Being myself’ at all times as far as I can is certainly my motto, but it means I am prepared to listen to my heart and brain in most everything I do, not to popular wisdom which most people seem to accept and follow blindly.
Ente Iswarah!! 1,576,800,00 Seconds,26,280,000 min. 438,000 hours,18250 days approximately.
This post is written in a hurry as deadline approach-eth………..orelse, it would have been another loooooooooooooooongest post!! Rakshepattu!
Ok. let me complete the custom….Wishing you a happy Birthday!! Cake- marakarathu!!
Me: See, I said, some wise guy will come along and give the minutes, seconds et al. And here you are Maddy! BTW you really really surprised me with that birthday message sent via Club FM 94.3. I kept saying ‘Oh my God!’ throughout the duration of the call! 😛 I will send you the recording I got of it from your friend. Thanks so much dear friend. You cared enough to surprise me! Thanks a lot. (And if you say ‘no need of thanks between friends’ I am going to hurl a ton of those red bricks at you! You know I don’t agree with the popularly held belief on ‘thank you’ and ‘sorry’. I certainly believe in using those words!)
Cake kittum ivide varumbol.
I bow to the pretty, young and talented Shail. I hope a couple of decades down the lane, if I’d think, act and look like you, i’d want to be a couple of decades old right this moment:-)
Happy b’day Maam! You make my Orkut time worthwhile!
And here’s to another beautiful, healthy and happy 50.
Me: Wow wow and wow to that comment! Oh sigh, I wish I could have that cutie pie of a daughter of yours 😛 😉
Thanks for the wishes Laxmi.
Happy Birthday Shail.
We love the way you are (on the blog). You don’t have to act any age.
Me: Thanks Shilpa. You bet I won’t be acting any age! 😉
I never tell anyone that Iam closing in on fifty years of age. I say Iam twenty year old man with thirty years of experience. And for once, my mom agrees with me. She says” yes, you still behave like a twenty year old”.
Interesting subject to dwelve on and something that can invite a lot of interesting comments and opinions.
And by the way, do you think you could write like a fifty year old or a twenty year old? I think writers never feel the age and some like you don’t look the age, either.
Wish you a very happy birthday
Me: Interesting that you should say that. I got an sms on my b’day that went, Wishing you on the 2th anniversary of your 30th birthday’! 😛 Lol
Of course one cannot write like a 50 year old or a twenty year old, though some people have asked me how I can write romantic poems/stories at my age. Can you believe that?? And I bet you these same people would not have turned a hair if I had written children’s stories. Funny to say the least.
Thanks for the wishes and … ahem… the compliment too
My My it is truly great that you have turned fifty
you are right, cutting years is not the way to be thrifty
Let each passing year make you more and more nifty
and may you live for another half a century.
Me: I was waiting for your four-liner! 🙂 Janmadina ashamsakalkku nandi.
Happy Birthday, Shail! And you don’t look a day beyond 19 😉
You completely rock!!
Me: Pal, you pulling my leg???!!! 🙂 😛
Thank you for the wishes.
Happy B’day, Shail.Hope u remain forever the mischievious child we all love so much…tc.
Me: Yeah the mischievous child who was imprisoned somewhere inside. 🙂
Thanks for the wishes Los
Preeti Shenoy said:
I agree 200% with every single point that you mention here. My rgards and admiration for you has only gone up after reading this post. You have voiced so beautifully what I too believe in.
Happy b’day Shail.
And may u never ever ‘act your age’ 🙂
You rock, lady! 🙂
Me: Preeti, you agree??! Wow that’s nice. Not many people would I know. 🙂 Thank you. thank you thank you!! 🙂
Birthday wishes come your way
From friends near and far away
So Shail has turned fifty
Her words are ever nifty
Many blessing upon you for forever and a day!
PS: In Gujrati, there is an adage: ‘Khaavu-peevu man ne gamtu — pervu-odvu jag ne gamtu’. Roughly translated, eat and drink what you will, but dress and drape at others’ will.
Me: Ahh, it is sayings like these that are the weapons the know-it-alls use to keep the rest in line and that I hate so much. 🙂
Thanks for the wishes Gulshan, Queen of Limericks. 🙂
Happy Birthday!!! 🙂
50 or not I think you were born this way 😀
all bubbly and spirited and stuff 😀
the admiration grows stronger after reading this post 🙂
as for the dressing sense?
people can wear whatever they want…but sometimes some people..whether men or women..wear stuff that seems as if they are trying to hold on to something that’s long gone..its a desperate effort and it shows…one feels sorry for them…because they dont realise that age has nothing to do with the clothes one wears but more to do with how young a heart is…
come to Delhi and I will show you 🙂
Me: Thanks Indy for the hugs and wishes! For you I have a long reply. Kindly bear with me.
“….but sometimes some people..whether men or women..wear stuff that seems as if they are trying to hold on to something that’s long gone..its a desperate effort and it shows…one feels sorry for them..”
Well I have some points.
1. Couldn’t it be the outsider’s perception that these people are ‘trying to hold on to something??’ The outsider is after all are conditioned to view it as such.
2. Couldn’t it be that these people simply like to wear these type of clothes?? Maybe wearing such new types is their interest just like some people eat new dishes, watch new movies, go off to climb mountains or swim the seas etc. This could be the love of their life, their ‘adventure’
3. Is it a crime to try and hold on to something?? Is it a crime to be desperate when it comes to dressing, or even talking and walking in a way the rest of the society considers not appropriate?? (And you must understand the ‘accepted’ appropriateness changes, what is not today will be in a couple of months or years.)
4. Does it hurt anyone if these people try and hold on to something they think they want to??
5. Where do you draw the line?? How much can we hold on to and when and where should it end and most importantly WHY?? For example, do you feel a fifty year old woman wearing a salwar kameez is inappropriate dressing?? You probably won’t think so coz you have seen enough of them in that dress. But in my place I am one of the rarities. Not many in my age group do so and certainly not for formal functions like weddings. So for them I am inappropriately dressed and ‘desperately trying to hold on to something’
So isn’t all this just relative??
When you say desperately trying to hold on to something long gone, you are talking exactly of the point I am trying to say. What is long gone?? And why should it bother anyone that someone is trying to hold on to it?? You have a favorite book with yellowed pages, and you try every trick in the book to hold on to it and keep it intact. Is it any crime if a human does it to himself/herself if they so wish it?? Why is aging gracefully (who decides what’s graceful?? Someone described it and the rest of us believed it. Even what the word ‘graceful’ means changes with time) such a big deal?? Isn’t it for the one aging to decide how he/she wants to age?? Is it for others to take that decision??
Why are we so bothered with the way others behave, dress, talk…. if it doesn’t hurt us in any way?? there are things that should bother us, a simple one being people throwing trash on the road, not how they try and hold on to something however long gone, which according to me is none of anybody else’s business.
I have rambled a bit. I re-iterate, all this is strictly my personal opinion. 🙂 As far as I am concerned if I see a seventy year old woman with purple hair, I would probably marvel at her spirit and admire her for her individuality.
loved the reply Shail and took a few lessons from it as well 🙂
sorry if that hurt you in any manner..
I was thinking more of Hindi movie stars when I wrote the comment here …..and yes of some people here in Delhi whom I know personally too…..
again it is true that even stars shouldnt be judged but thats how I honestly feel 🙂
I dont think I am personally affected if someone wears what they want to……
it has no bearing on my personal fortune..
when I see someone wearing clothes that he/she appears uncomfortable in and yet they persist in wearing them….I wish that they would be more comfy in their skin…….well again my personal opinion 🙂
how do I know its uncomfortable or how much they fidget and keep pulling down sleeves and pulling up necklines when they go down?
like you said its relative 🙂 so what I have written is my perception..and its not the right perception OR the wrong one..or even the ONLY perception..
it simply is how I see them at times..
and yes to be honest I do cringe at times…
as for the 70 year old with purple hair?
whether I like her or not depends on her ‘attitude’ (again attitude as I see it which again might be wrong OR right)
is she wearing it coz she has the panache to carry it off and coz she is just like that?
crazily loony and absolutely delightful?
or maybe she doesnt not have the panache to carry it off but wants to try it nevertheless?
I think that absolutely fine too.(not that she is asking for my permission)
chances are that she is loony and delightful and cranky too 🙂
coz I do know someone who is adorable and just like this (except for the purple hair she has streaks of various colours) 😀
so again my opinion differs from person to person…..when I speak of people who dress in a certain manner, its not a blanket statement or even a generalization..its a statement based on the few people I know….
and yes its relative 🙂
could I also know about the blog where the comment was made? 🙂
Me: Ahhh there Indy, I made you think! That’s what I was trying to do. Of course we cringe sometimes, at other times laugh openly or subtly at people and their ways, wonder whether they cannot have a better dress sense…. so many things. They are after all our ‘perceptions’ which we have a right to hold and we are free to even air them. But at the back of our mind it is always good to remember that it is only our ‘perception’ and that that perception maybe the result of ‘conditioning’ consciously or unconsciously; and that conditioning exists in all of us to a lesser or greater extent. When one is aware of this…. then victory is ours. Why?? When we are aware we will never go to extremes… we are able more to laugh and good-naturedly so at things we find ‘funny’ rather than let them grate on our nerves which I think is a good thing.
Well, that’s my philosophy.
And no, I am certainly not hurt. I welcome views as that gives me an opportunity to rearrange/review/correct/change/see more clearly my own views… and it makes me think which is very important for me. So, thank you .
The blog I read was at sulekha.com and I don’t even remember which one it was… I do read a lot and comment and this was almost more than a year back. Besides if I remember correctly, the blog was not dealing with this topic directly… but some of the comments took this direction. And I wrote the post about my views on that comment which set me thinking (and where I got the comment about the 80-year old man) at blogliterati.com where I mostly used to write questions that I had. I did not log in there for months together. Later on I found the page does not even exist. 😦
thank you! 🙂
coz yes that did make me think 🙂 and I did take a lesson from it 😉
now tell me did I make a smart move or did I make a smart move when I decided to ‘stalk’ you, Ushus,Solilo, IHM and Ritu? :mrgreen:its for lessons likes these 🙂
They are after all our ‘perceptions’ which we have a right to hold and we are free to even air them. But at the back of our mind it is always good to remember that it is only our ‘perception’ and that that perception maybe the result of ‘conditioning’ consciously or unconsciously; and that conditioning exists in all of us to a lesser or greater extent. When one is aware of this…. then victory is ours. Why?? When we are aware we will never go to extremes… we are able more to laugh and good-naturedly so at things we find ‘funny’ rather than let them grate on our nerves which I think is a good thing.
uncanny how Solilo too made me think on the same lines on a different issue 🙂 more on India and how we are as a nation 🙂
thank you one again for this 🙂
Me: So you are stalking me eh, and you also call that a smart move. Lol. I am gratified by that response! 😀 I love reading all of those who you have mentioned! And you who are wise beyond your years too!! 🙂
typos galore 😀
Ushus and IHM too make me think like this!
*one day I am going to get brain damage from all the thinking* 😀 but serisouly?
those lines I LOVED 🙂
Me: Yep, Usha and IHM rock! 🙂
sooooo sorry for coming here late….belated birthday wishes,shail 🙂
Me: Thanks Deeps! 🙂 Glad you are here though I have been absconding from all around!! 😛
quoted your words somewhere today 🙂
Me: Where?? where?? *curious as a cat Shail*
Happy Belated Birthday Shail. Hope you had a terrific one. Cheers 🙂
Me: Thanks so much Chris. So nice of you to drop in. 🙂
Pingback: The blue blip | Shail's Nest
Pingback: About some special people | Shail's Nest
Agnija Bharathi said:
From one non-conformist to another, Happy Birthday! Rock on girl!
Thank you! 🙂 I guessed you were one, reading your comments at IHM’s 🙂
Abha Midha said:
A lovley lovely post. Just be yourself….. that winning smile and a graceful manner. THAT wud be acting ur age :). wishing you happy 50s 🙂
Aww.. thank you 🙂
Congratulations!! on Hitting the best 1/2 century innings of your life! Shailji 😉
I still dont get how I should act at my age, so well, I cant tell another to act their age. So there you are free because of that technicality *giggling* I like the way you are Shailji, so just BE.
Thanks Rashmi! 🙂 Lol @the technicality 😉
Pingback: Birthday special | Shail's Nest
Usha Pisharody said:
Where am I in the list of commentators above? Makes me wonder if I was on sick leave. That would be the only reason I wasn’t here! Oh dear!
Shail, I *heart* this post. For you say all that I want to, and do, to many hereabouts, family, relative, ‘friends’ 😀 You SO rock!
And as I approach my golden, I shall hold all these bits and pieces of wisdom, and go on and not conform, as I have always not. 😛 😛
Belated (awww… a few years isn’t much), wishes, for back then 😀
And how did I happen to miss your comment?! And bravo for that ‘and not conform’! 😀
Usha Pisharody said:
I rarely did, even way back 😀 Conform that is – and more so do not, cannot, will not 😛 Now! 😀
You missed my comment? Hawwwww! 😀 Lol!
Pingback: Fifty-five | Shail's Nest
Pingback: Not good enough | Shail's Nest
Pingback: Birthday babble | Shail's Nest