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Wake up and smell the old people!

india Updated: Oct 21, 2012 00:44 IST

It’s been a strange week. A Haryanvi khap leader went on national television to declare that rapes were caused by chow mein, a conclusion he arrived at via the scientific method of being dropped on the head as an inbred baby. At the other end of the scientific spectrum, a man jumped from the edge of space and landed, as expected, in an ocean of lingerie. But most important, while all of this was happening, I discovered that I’d almost turned 40.

That’s because I came across a recent survey, which claimed that 28 was the new 40. A thousand men and women were polled to find out when they thought youth ended, and the age they agreed upon was 28. (Of course, this doesn’t apply to Rekha, a woman who looks like she is held together solely by make-up.)

Age is a real talking point amongst us 20-somethings, because we’re self-absorbed babies; only in our 20s do we start realising that playtime is over, and it’s time to man up. Unless our name is Rahul Gandhi. The survey also asked respondents to identify the top 10 changes in behaviour that signal the end of youth. Listed below are some of those responses, in no particular order. Feel free to check which ones apply to you, and in true 20s fashion, proceed to the nearest bar regardless of your score.

You have no idea what the number 1 on the charts is.
This is true. At this point, I can’t even identify a David Guetta track from a Pitbull track. All I know is that one of them is a French DJ, and the other guy has collaborated with every man, woman, child, desk, lamp-post and dung-beetle on this planet. Then there’s something called a Nicki Minaj, which is what happens when Lady Gaga has sex with radioactivity.

You stop going to nightclubs.
Yup. That’s because most clubs are filled with kids who were born around the time you started reading this column. It’s amusing to see them stumble out at 2 am, overclocking their one remaining brain cell to try and answer the various questions rattling about in their head: “Dude bro dude where did I park my car dude?” “Bro why is this girl throwing up on my shoes bro?” “How long do I have to hold her before I can make out with — oh never mind, I need to throw up too bro.” As far as I can tell, teenagers exist only to serve as ads for birth control.

You now prefer homemade food to restaurant food.
Yes. Because at some point, your body starts getting nostalgic about fat and tries to hold on to it the way Pakistan holds on to Kashmir. The fat from your beer-and-chicken lollypop diet at 21 has now made a permanent home for itself in your body, and will continue to stay there until you’re cremated, at which point the whole place will smell like a pub.

Oh, and speaking of home stuff, I must admit that ever since I got my own place, I get kicked about the most random things. The other day, I was actually excited at having bought new dishwashing liquid and fabric softener. That was when I almost qualified for spinsterhood, but thankfully, I don’t have a cat.

You prefer to buy property instead of renting it.
Yes, but given our property rates, the only thing that most 20-somethings in Bombay can afford is a kitchen sink. In Virar. Not even a kitchen. Just the sink, marketed as “200,000,000 sq ft (super built-up area, if you include the sky)”.

Your career becomes more important than your sex life.
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! What’s a sex life?

You start looking for a husband/wife instead of a boyfriend or girlfriend.
This is only partly true. It’s actually the world around you that starts looking for your future spouse. And it’s weird because I see marriage the same way I see acid — it may work great for some people, but I’m convinced it’ll make me want to jump off a building.
So I don’t know about you, but according to this list, my score is ‘Haha what rubbish! I’m not old. Your mom is old.’ And just to prove that, I’m going to go out and do something fun, like jump off the edge of space. Right after I’m done with laundry.

Ashish Shakya is a writer and a stand-up comic. He co-writes the TV satire, The Week That Wasn’t. Sometimes he’s even sober while doing so.