I am going to be 35 in a few months. That’s 10 years more than 25, and barely 10 less than 45. In 15 years I will be twice as old as I was 10 years ago. God, I am a math problem now.
I am like a movie past its intermission. I am like a tennis match in the fourth set. I am like a car that will soon start needing changes of clutch, tyres, and God forbid, the engine.
Suddenly life seems so short.
I see a pattern in our lives. The first 10 years of our life are meant to play video games, the next 10 to prepare for IIT, the twenties to start making money and begin the rat race, and the thirties to feel like a loser who has not achieved anything.
I wonder what’s coming next. The 40s to complete the kids’ homework? 50s to pay for their college and/or wedding? 60s to spend reading the newspaper? 70s looking for the dentures?
These days I’ve been spending a lot of time pondering over what the future holds for me, what I have accomplished and what more I want to achieve, and how many more aloo paranthas I can eat before my teeth give way. I’ve even started listening to mellow Jagjit Singh songs looking for the meaning of life, while browsing LinkedIn profiles of classmates making less money than me.
I thought of bringing this topic up to Preeti one night just as we were about to head out for a wedding reception. She was wearing a beautiful silk sari and admiring herself in the mirror. “How am I looking?” she asked. “Old,” I said. Faux pas. Worst possible answer. Married people are probably shaking their heads in sympathy right now. Unmarried people, please try to stay that way.
My missus, God bless her, gave me such a long lecture that I started to look forward to getting old. It was so long that I actually got older just listening to her. She compared me with Bollywood superstars in their 40s romancing young girls their daughters’ age, she reminded me that I need to catch up with my junior, Arora, who is now partner at a consulting firm, she said we are in our golden years, and that she would kill me if we got late for this reception. She was my Krishna that evening, and I, her Arjun. She was Apollo Creed, I the Rocky of
The next morning, I announced that I was going out for a run. I wore my track gear, turned on RunKeeper on the phone and went out into the glorious morning running like Rocky training for the rematch with Clubber Lang,
Eye of the Tiger
blaring in my iPhone headphones. Another matter that I had trouble bending from the hip and had to dig for the pain-reliever spray the next day.
Then today one of the young people at work remarked, “I am going to be 25 this year. I am so old.” I looked at him and smiled, making a mental note to slash the nincompoop’s bonus this year.
Atulya Mahajan is the author of two books, his latest being a political satire,Democrazy
. He tweets as @amreekandesi
From HT Brunch, August 30
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