Sunday, September 28, 2008

Twilight Years

Middle age had crept up on me before I realised it. Yet the harbingers of change were unmistakably there within me. I ought to have recognised its insidious advent and progress - when I read, with interest, in the newspaper that the government would provide sufficient fianc├ęs to all eligible and needy women to start cottage industries;
When the cyclists jeered at me as they overtook my car, pedaling at 30 kph;
When, faced with a three-foot-wide puddle at my doorstep, the doubt crept into my mind if I could jump across it without splashing the mud (odd for someone who was a triple-jump champ at school);
When my knee joint vied with the un-oiled door hinge for the top spot in a 'creaking contest' and when my favourite baingan ka bhurta caused my belly to bloat like a blimp, producing far too harsh symphonies to the accompaniment of creaking joints;
When looking at myself in a full-length mirror it occurred to me that, if encountered by a charging bull terrier, I would be too frail to fight, yet too fat to flee;
When the Bhagavadgita still proved to be a hard nut and Mills and Boons romantic novels seemed more like the frenzied outpourings of those who had water in their brains (So, I took up Deepak Chopra);
When pumpkin halwa, allegedly a home-formulated equivalent of the virility pill, started appearing with greater frequency on my dinner table, more by design than by accident (considering the skyrocketing price of pumpkins);
And finally when my friends began' to compliment me about looking younger (implying that they thought I was growing older).
Indeed, the 19th century American humorist Franklin P Adams hit the nail on the head when he wrote 'middle age occurs when you are too young to play golf and too old to rush to the net'.
But as far as I was concerned, it was Victor Hugo, the French novelist, who put my predicament in its proper perspective when he said, 'forty is the old age of youth and fifty is the youth of the old age'. This new insight made me yearn to attain the youth of the old age instead of ruing the lost (old age of) youth.

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