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I am participating in the 30 Days Letter Challenge where you write one letter each day. The 30th in the list is a letter to, ‘Your reflection in the mirror’. The last one has been a little late coming due to reasons beyond my control. Though written much later, I am going to put it where it belongs, the last day of August which is when it should rightfully have been written


Dear Reflection In The Mirror,

The nose looks rather red, eh? And the eyes puffy. Well, what can you expect? I have been having bouts of sneezing since morning. In fact my next door neighbor asked me if I have caught a cold. Sigh. It is not a cold, nor is the season (rains!) that’s the reason (that rhymed!). The culprit is the large quantities of bleaching powder that the house-help thought fit to spread on the slippery cement walkway behind the house.

I am not a science person (you may read that as ‘My science teachers were an uninteresting lot’) and so cannot tell you just what happened when all that bleaching powder met up with moisture and air (and their respective party members they house within them). I only know it was nothing good, for the next thing I knew they had joined forces and unleashed an attack on poor old (totally harmless and defenseless) me. The result? This reindeer-nosed and cried-buckets look I am sporting. Add to that hair with mind of their own. What a picture. Ugh.

Going beyond the present *new* look though, I notice the wrinkles that have in recent times crept in silently and taken up residence on the skin, the prominent laughter lines (thankfully no frown lines, not deep enough to leave an impression yet anyway) and the glaring streaks of white (as yet only half way through in length) on my mane, on either side of my face. A normal mid-fifties face, I’d conclude. And yet, I am told often enough that I look younger than my chronological age. In fact I have been told that so many times, and almost all my life that I developed this irrational fear that something terrible was going to happen to me. I swear. Silly superstitious me. Now though, I know better.

It has puzzled me since long, just WHY people thought I was younger than I really was. But now I have found an answer. Okay, it is mine, my personal ‘find’ I mean, the answer. You are not obliged to agree with it. Here it is for what it is worth: It is not the texture of the skin, or the abundance or color of hair, or even the attire (Yes, I have been ‘told’, accusingly at that, not wearing a or b or wearing x or y is what made me look younger) that make you look younger or older. It is your eyes, the life left in them, that decides your age, whatever the outer manifestations.

In other words, it is an aura you project, a non-jaded one, not artificially created, but one that comes from deep inside you, that makes people *feel* you are younger than your chronological age, in spite of your wizened appearance. Recently my blog bro, the Count had this to tell me out of the blue, “Hey sis. I wanted to tell you that although you’re biologically over 50, you feel so much younger” He also added that there are ‘people in their 20s, who feel so much older’. Notice the word he used? ‘Feel’ not ‘look’. And there it is in a nutshell. The ‘feel’ that others get is what decides your age in their mind.

There is another thing I notice about you (as if I could miss it!). You have started taking up more and more space in the mirror. There was a time when there was less of you and more of the mirror. It is now the other way around. Stick arms have morphed to arms I dare not shake a stick at. I will leave out the rest of what’s taking up more space. We know between us, don’t we? Why should we let the world into our secret, right?

So that’s it. But you know, don’t get this all wrong, that I am just you, the reflection in the mirror. I am NOT. I am much much more than what you reflect back at me. In fact every human is more than his/her reflected appearance. But the question is, how many among humans have the time or the inclination to notice or to look for the real person over and above their reflection?


The one reflected.

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©Shail Mohan 2014