Monday, September 29, 2014

Fifty-one and kicking (and screaming too!)

My life has always been full of ironies. When in my twenties, it was tough for me to get to first base with any woman. After all, when the conversation starts off with her calling me 'Uncle', it becomes sort of difficult for me to think that it is a promising start of a budding romance. Talk about getting friend-zoned, I was getting uncle-zoned. And, now at fifty-one, when the 'Uncle' would probably sit easier on my ears, I get everyone calling me 'Suresh'. Ah! No! No! No! It is not that my chiseled features, wavy hair and well-toned body have rendered me a damsel's delight. NOW, I am getting friend-zoned, that is all. AND, in a few years, I will probably get child-zoned - do they not call senility the second childhood?

And, no, THAT is not the reason why I am single. In case you did not know, when I was in my twenties, all it took was a decent job, and the arranged marriage system would take care of all the rest. The designated victim bride would (wo)manfully swallow her nausea at the sight of me and consent to the wedding - dutiful daughter that she would be. Not that women are less dutiful as daughters these days, it is just that they have redrafted their duties, and a good thing too. The previous draft was good only as an instruction manual for robots. (Can someone please enlighten me about why people are so happy with 'dutiful' sons/daughters/wives/whatever? To me, if someone said that I had a dutiful something-or-the-other, it always seemed like the other person would rather jump into a fire than do whatever it was for me BUT for their sense of duty. AND, the fact that I never could understand why their doing this under coercion of duty ranked higher than their doing something willingly shows quite clearly that I was born a social misfit.)

Where was I? Ah! I was about to say that turning fifty-one had not made much of a change in my life. I never did feel my age since I had always been made to feel old, even when chronologically I should have been considered young, thanks to the absence of a few strands of dead keratin. Since I never did feel my age, I could happily think of starting trekking at 41 without a thought of creaking bones and screaming muscles. Why, I could even think of venturing, for the first time, into the thickets of Social media at close to 50. Not that I could claim to be an adept at it or even think of becoming one over the course of what remains of my life. I am yet to understand the all-important role of selfies - that a selfie a day keeps boredom away. Leave selfies, I have not even graduated from the passport-size photographs, which is all my generation knew of self-photography. I know only one meaning for friends. That is grossly insufficient - you need to know of Like-for-Like friends; Share-for-Share friends AND be ready to measure the friendships based on "Have you LIKED/SHARED my status, lately?" No! I am still a total novice at the business and likely to remain so. Which is why I shall be left with only that handful of Facebook friends I have now and not the zillions that are possible.

Not much of a change in my life, did I say? Not really true. We all mumble things about 'Age is merely a number', while scheduling the visit to the dentist to take out yet another painful tooth. In my case, the teeth are not the issue, yet, the eyes are. When you see me sitting in front of my laptop with eyes pouring tears, please do not be mislead into the thinking that I have been moved by some sensational piece of writing. It is more likely that my eyes are in tears at the thought that I will not give them surcease from the glaring monster in front of them.

AND the brain! I have reached the point where I am expecting to see myself saying, some day soon, "I am...wait...the name is at the tip of my tongue..starts with 'S', I am sure...", and without even the escape of saying, "The face is familiar...I am just not getting the name." So, if you see me walking forlornly on the streets and I do not recognize you, please do not be offended. If you accost me and find that I do not recognize myself and ask you, pathetically (like the yesteryear heroines who seemed to be genetically prone to amnesia), "Who am I?", please do not shock me unpleasantly by abruptly telling me the truth. Take me kindly by the hand, lead me to some shady nook, seat me safely so that I cannot hurt myself when I faint away, and break the bad news.

All said and done, fifty-one is not too bad. In fact, life is pretty good, indeed. AND, I can look forward to losing all my bad memories when I forget myself!

38 comments:

  1. Dear Suresh Sir,

    Happy Birthday and wishing you a year full of joy and good health, lots of fun and informative posts, interesting books and perhaps another book that you may write and publish :)

    Happy Birthday :)

    Regards,
    Mahesh

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  2. Super article Suresh (uncle). The dash of humor you have at 51 when others at that age are worried is the brighter side to the receding hairline and weakening eye sight :) well few good friends are best than plenty unmanageable :) I really liked the post... I wished you on fb but more birthday wishes again.

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    1. Thanks Shweta! I believe in that too - that a few dependable friends are far better than a multitude of fly-by-night ones :)

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  3. And I'm freaking out about turning 30 in two years here!!

    You have been an inspiration in more ways than one Suresh. Forget the friendzone or the unclezone, what matters is what you taught us and that is a huge inspiration. The humor in this space has cheered me up in gloomy days when I have no one to look back to.

    Happy Birthday Sir! God bless you with more joy and happiness.

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    1. Thanks Soumya! That's the best compliment anyone could ever give me - that I have been a source of cheer.

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  4. Isn't it always the number game? Only in this case, we would wish the increasing numbers to be of our neighbour's. Had a cousin whose age refused to budge beyond 25, even in the railway reservation form. She did not realise she was holding up a queue of her cousins. I completely agree on the change in the definition of friendship with the advent of social media! hope you had a good birthday!

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    1. Hahaha! Well - I left a long gap behind me which no-one was in a hurry to fill :)

      Thanks and, yes, had a great b'day bash.

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  5. The last para reminded me of Aamir Khan in Ghajini movie.
    Hope the day never comes when we lose our basic memory.
    I'm sure it's never gonna happen with you, Sureshji :)
    Best wishes!

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    1. I hope so too - where will I go for a six-pack :)

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  6. I call you Suresh and will continue with that...that I now understand I'm much younger, is not going to affect it anyway... :-P..your writing always makes me smile and sometimes even I got inspired ... :-) and congrats on completing the half-century.... :-D

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    1. Friend-zoned is quite OK with me :) Thanks, Maniparna

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  7. Happy Birthday Mr.Friend-zoned. :)
    I must say that if a 20's person connects to your thoughts and your words, you are not really old and age is definitely a number.
    and about your concerns in the last second paragraph, well I already am forgetting names and faces at 25. So if you see me somewhere, lost.....please break the bad news to me and buy me a pastry.

    Happy Birthday again!

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    1. Provided I remember you and provided I remember what a pastry is, Red :)

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  8. I never quite thought that you would succumb to the temptation of running the 'rat race' with the 'numbers game' of who is older. But I sure am glad to see that you are not necessarily growing wiser as you are growing older.

    Just kidding, and you know that. Here's wishing you a happy birthday again Suresh, hope you have a good one this year :)

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    1. I was not aware that I had, in any way, compared my age with anyone else, Jairam - and you cannot run any rat-race without such comparisons :) It takes at least two to run a race :)

      Thanks for the wishes - and, yes, I do know you were kidding :) Ah! Ambiguity again. I mean kidding about the rat race, not about the wishes :)

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  9. Pray, 51 is not old at all ! What with the world ready to vault us to 200 years of living, with the new stem cell research, 51 would probably be still a child :)
    I rather like your quote on dutiful as I never wanted to be dutiful 'somebody'. As you rightly put it, it rather defeats the purpose of being a willing/interested party to a forced party.
    That aside, with George Clooney and various other interesting personalities becoming double after their 50s, me thinks now is when you are in your prime to search for that elusive partner :)

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    1. Hahaha! AND now that women have stopped calling me uncle? :)

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  10. Aha, as always, hilarious! And belated birthday wishes, sir!

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  11. Suresh you have ache din coming--i have been there or AM there in fact.It is a pleasure to be accorded special privileges on account of post 50 status.

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    1. Mere tho din hamesha acche hi hote hain, Indu :) Can always find something to take joy in

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  12. Happy Birthday, Suresh!
    On a visit to Mumbai a few years back, I found most hawkers and salesmen, irrespective of age, addressing male customers, irrespective of age, as 'Uncle' (used to be 'Bhaisaab' or 'Saab' earlier) and female customers as 'Sister', except for the very old women who were generally addressed as 'Madam' or 'Mataji'. Took some time getting used to being called 'Uncle' by random guys, some of whom were older than, or slightly younger than me!

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    1. Hmm - in my case, though, it was clearly because they did think I WAS old enough to deserve to be called uncle :)

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  13. Age is only a number as they say:) Put 51 the other way round and it is 15;)
    Many (virtually)HAPPY returns of the day dearest Suresh:) May you have at least 51 more;)

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    1. Thanks Amit! NOW I can put my age the other way around and start dating again :P

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  14. Bang on with the definition of dutiful :) and I am unable to stop envisaging you on the road calling out "Mai kaun hi" :P btw I think the grass on the other side is just more green that's all. In 2012, I was on my way back from an onsite trip with a really loaded check in bag. The airline official who was checking me in saw the weight of my bag, gave me a sympathetic look and said " books eh? Returning home for the Sumer vacation?" The problem with being considered young is that no one tends to take you seriously and that sure can be frustrating :P

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    1. I have had the worst of both worlds :) When I wanted to be taken for young, I got old and now that I want to be taken for old, I get young (Well! younger than I am - not young young, if you know what I mean) :)

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  15. Belated birthday wishes, Suresh. 51 is an auspicious number and hope this year is as wonderful as you want it to be. I am happy that you have lived your life according to your choices and are comfortable with the path you have chosen. When I see people stuck in lives that they regret and almost loathe, it makes me sad, very sad. Very few actually take charge of their wishes and make them reality.

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    1. Quite true, Rachna! Very many actually have not questioned themselves about what they really want

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  16. Here's wishing you another happy year, Suresh. You must make a promise that if you do lose your mind you will keep your wonderful sense of humor!

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    1. Thanks Mary! I can assure you people will laugh - with me OR at me :)

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  17. Happy birthday from one Uncleji to another.

    I'm a wee bit older and a granduncle a few times over. I too started on this blog thing recently (seriously, I mean).

    It's not too bad, the eyes go first..... In my case the nose went too.

    http://sloword.wordpress.com/2013/01/28/nasal-blues/

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    1. Hahaha! In my case, my nose had gone before I entered this world :)

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  18. Belated Happy Birthday! I have become a big fan of your blog .. and thanks to you, I am reading your blog when I should be finishing some work :-p
    Love your style of writing and the fact that you don't take yourself too seriously. Keep blogging! :)
    And you have acquired a new follower :)

    http://everythingthatclicks.blogspot.com

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  19. Arre, who says age has got anything to with anything...? See, I'm happily 18 still, in my head and mind (who cares if the body might not agree sometimes!)

    Here's wishing you a great year ahead...may you keep writing more ( irrespective of whether you have water trickling down your eyes or not) and may you keep trekking and doing all that you love (even if you forget who you are!)...Stay blessed!

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