On turning 40…

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It’s that time of life when you’re neither young nor old. You’re just you. For me, that happened on 25th Dec 2016. They say life begins at 40. Some others say ‘Naughty at Forty’. I’d say, I’m confused whether to say the glass is half-full or half empty. Yet some others rave and rant about mid-life crisis. Some also cry out loud about Andropause (a.k.a. male menopause). Since I’m new to forty, I’m still learning the ropes, I’d say.

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I sometimes look back with mixed emotions, at the 40 years I have lived already. Infancy, childhood, teenage… all gone by. Never noticed the clock ticking and the fact that time few… away. However, reality is a bitch that slaps everyone hard in the face. I got that slap too, when infants that I once cradled in my arms, now are teenagers waiting to shed their ‘teenage’ label, closing in on 20. People that gave me sound advice and sometimes too much of it are mere garlanded photo-frames now or maybe turning in their graves as I type this. Small-time entrepreneurs who once pedaled bicycles selling milk, vegetables, bread, fish, newspapers etc. now setup out of their cars. The stereotypical baniya/lalaji who once provided us monthly and daily needs on credit now stares at me from the wall, where he’s hung up neatly and dusted every few days.

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Oh those days, when it was OK to cry, fight, run from problems, steal, tell lies and get caught sooner or later, skip school classes, steal glances at your childhood crush hoping she sees and at the same time hoping no one else sees (although mostly, the opposite happened), copying from the student sitting ahead, beside or behind you (I mastered sign language for this purpose). When I could say SORRY and not feel sorry for having said that. When thinking about death was not just forbidden, but also considered foolhardy. When I wanted MORE friends. When aches and pains were short-lived. When saying NO to a dare/challenge was an OPTION – however, was seldom used (it’s not an option anymore). When going to the doctor was for pussies, something to be shunned (fearfully – at times). For me it was… sticks and stones cannot break my bones. Words could hurt me, though.

I vividly remember the day in 8th grade, when I went to the first-day-after-Diwali-holidays wearing trousers (a.k.a. full pants) and the whole class applauded. Man, I had no place to hide. Now I wait for December when it’s OK to wear shorts and flops to work.

When riding bicycles was the only option I had since my dad could not buy me a moped/motorcycle/scooter. Now although I have a bicycle, I ‘can’t find time’ to ride it. The days, when listening to elders was infra dig and now youngsters-not-listening-to-me ANNOYS me. When I was, young and had a gargantuan appetite for learning. Now I have a similar-sized appetite for imparting that knowledge – no takers, though.

Those days are gone. Here’s an interesting lowdown on the before and 40 life and things that changed – for good and for bad:

Before 40

Turning 40 and thereafter

Getting nappies changed Changing baby’s diapers
Riding bicycle out of necessity (monetary) Riding bicycle out of necessity (health)
Stealing glances at childhood hoping she notices Making mistakes and expecting the wife does not notice
Ever increasing number of friends Ever decreasing number of friends
Friends and a best friend True friends, best friends, just friends, friends for benefit (I don’t have any, I swear), Facebook friends, Cab/bus/train friends
Learning Teaching
Large drink – Horlicks, Bournvita, Boost, Viva, Complan etc. Large drink – JD, Black dog, Romanov, Absolut, Jim Beam etc.
Cuts and bruises Aches and pains
Broken knees, elbows… bones Broken hearts
Either vegetarian or non-vegetarian Vegetarian on Saturdays/Mondays/Tuesdays
Knew the VALUE of things Know the PRICE of things
Mom knows best Mom, you don’t have a clue
Dad/Mom, can I borrow Rs…. ? Dad/Mom, here’s Rs…. for the ….. you wanted

OR

Honey, I need to borrow Rs… to go shopping

Fed up of hearing “don’t do this… don’t do that…” Fed up of saying “don’t do this… don’t do that…”
Have feet…. Will dance Sorry, I have 2 left feet
Hey look… That’s my daddy/mummy Hey look, that’s my son/daughter
Look ma… no hands!!! Don’t look at me ma, my hands are tied
I slipped and fell Who the fuck pushed me?
Hey, I’m sorry Say sorry!
Went to the doctor? Who? Me? Naah!!! Man, I have a doc’s appointment tomorrow
Waiting to get into a relationship (Sometimes) waiting to get out of a relationship
Shaved my head since I liked Jason Statham Shaving my head since even Jason Statham doesn’t have a choice
Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me. Ouch… Sticks, stones, bones, words – every damn thing hurts.
Mom… please… no glasses!!! Hey… how do I look in these glasses?

There are a few things that don’t change though:

Before 40 Turning 40 and thereafter
My tummy hurts, I can’t go to school My back hurts, can’t make it work today
Let’s meet at the playground, we’ll have fun Let’s meet at Dinty’s pub, we’ll have fun
Get your gear, we’re going cycling Get your gear, we’re going cycling
She’s/he’s cute She’s/he’s hot
Son, tidy your room. It’s a mess Sweetheart, please tidy your study, it’s a complete mess
After a tiff: I’ll see you later. This is not over After a tiff: I’ll see you later. This is not over
I completed my homework, just forgot to bring the notebook I completed the assignment – forgot to get the files
Guys, check this out… my new … (gadget) Guys, check this out… my new … (gadget)

And the list goes on…

I refuse to give in to negative feelings like the mid-life crisis, male menopause etc. Let’s face it… if you’re forty, you’re forty. Gray gracefully. Flaunt your bald pate (if you have one). Stop chasing 20-somethings in skirts or you’ll have your 30-something chasing you with the traditional wooden rolling pin. Very soon you may have a 20-something in skirts at home too, calling you Daddy. Accept challenges/dares… after all, you’re married and hence it’s been-there-done-that at least once. Stop putting your foot in the mouth… they don’t belong there anymore. Feel young at heart but behave your age. Learn to cook – women still dig men who can cook – it’s never too late. Contrary to popular belief, old dogs CAN learn new tricks. Get out there on the playground at least for some time every day – your body (especially your pot-belly) couldn’t thank you enough for this. Don’t count your age – count your blessings. Have only a few but meaningful friends. No matter how hot the blonde/brunette/redhead at the office is, never mind her rack and booty – NEVER CHEAT on your wife. After all, she’s the one who’ll wipe your ass once you are all gray and incapacitated.

Forty is not dirty – it’s naughty. Enjoy. 50 may not be the same – so don’t look back (I’ve stopped). Rush ahead with full steam – all cylinders still firing. You live only once… 40/50/60… I couldn’t care less.

HAPPY 40 TO ALL MY PEERS!!!

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3 Comments

  • Monisha

    Oh my god!!!! I just loved every bit of time. While you are greying, let it happen graciously…

    Reply
  • good post – meaty and long for readers like me. emotionally wistful & sentimental, though.

    liked the use of tables.

    would suggest a greater sprinkling of line art to break the long text.

    Reply
  • That is the best search system in the world

    Reply

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