Life begins at 40! What the wag said might hold true for many. To start with, it certainly is a point in one's life when Father Time begins to ring an alarm bell. Of course, he does that through the PYTs and not-so-handsome lads when they begin to address you as 'uncle' or 'aunty'.
Uncle! But I'm hardly 'old' and all set to enjoy life as it comes, one thinks.
But one look in the mirror and 'The Truth' dawns: Age is finally catching up. It is a battle against white hair in the ascendancy or a receding hairline, as the case may be.
One resorts to desperate measures to stem the tide. A pair of scissors in hand, one carefully scans the mop of hair left on the pate and below the nose (I am talking of men, you see) to catch hold of any turncoat (read, white strand) and (s)nip it in the bud.
It is easy, initially. But as the clock ticks, turning more and more hair into shades of grey and white, one faces an uphill task. Advice from friendly neighbourhood barbers and more experienced peers is eagerly lapped up to turn the tide (into a darker shade!).
Homemade remedies, and costly ones readily available in the market, come in handy. But alas! Time stops for none. The failure to win the battle against a receding hairline and plummeting confidence gives way to a sense of resignation.
One begins to look at the brighter (or hairier) side of the story. 'I am much better placed than those who have gone bald,' reasons the mind. 'At least, I don't have to make efforts to cover my pate with whatever hair is left,' goes another strand of internal logic.
For the middle-aged, increasing girth leads to no mirth either. Initially, one tries to puff up to show off that perfect chest-waist ratio to the fairer sex. Watch how pigeons on your terrace try to attract the female of their species!
But sooner rather than later, one no longer scouts for clothes one likes, but those one fits into easily. Belts are no longer considered fashion accessories but ingenious contraptions that keep ever-plunging trousers, perched precariously on a bulging waist, on a tight leash.
Does life really begin at 40? You decide, while I rest my case.