Old by Indu Balakrishnan

I recently celebrated my birthday. And I had a ball, as I always do. Despite the lockdown and everything that came with it, I had a wonderful time. My daughter made it really special for me. Booked surprise calls with my school friends. Made a photo album. And then we all went out to dinner. All in all, it was the perfect day. 

Birthdays are something to celebrate. I thoroughly believe in it.  That’s one popular point of view. And then there’s the other. There are a few who despise it. Makes them realise that they are older. It’s all in the mind isn’t it? To some, it gives them a reason to celebrate their existence and everything they have achieved so far. To others, it might just remind them of what all they are yet to accomplish or what they wish they had by this date. 

Simple thing. In India, age is always related to what you should have done. While women face it more than men, the distaste about it is very much in the air for both genders. If the girl is not married by 25 and mother of two children by 35, she is not settled. Boys have it somewhat easier, but they do receive the judgement once in a while. 

But the question is very simple – what is so bad about being ‘old’? You have these Ayurvedic medicines and creams and hair dye that tell you to hide your age. They do not make you feel better. They just put you under pressure by holding a gun to your head and pointing out the grey hair and fine wrinkles that you might have otherwise blissfully ignored. Doctors insist that once you hit a certain age, you need to get a list of tests done to make sure everything is working. You are almost forced to believe that the moment you hit a certain age, you are bound to stumble. 

All these points are enough to make the word ‘old’ an insult. I have to tell you. My best friend and one of the coolest persons I know is a fifty year old. Despite having lived through the dark ages and ‘been there and done that’ a lot, he’s still versatile enough to try new things. I’m here to tell you that being ‘old’ can be quite hep too. Don’t let the numbers hold you back!

The lockdown is officially a year old. There are people who refuse to count 2020 in their calendar as they could not do what they wanted. It was a year that wasn’t. So they are as old as they were before the pandemic hit. Hey, whatever floats their boat. Yes? But having said that, the waves are still hitting us. But time ain’t standing still. So let’s stop adding so much stock to the age and do what we want to. Age and capacity have nothing in common. Ask Milind Soman. Or his mother! 

As cliche as it sounds, you are only as old as you think you are. 

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