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Tell-tale signs don’t lie about your real age
I am heading towards a chronological milestone before the end of this year. My family wants to celebrate this event and announce to the whole world my age that I have jealously guarded as my very personal data. I am not overly enthusiastic about their plan but, at the same time, do not want to be a party pooper.
My reticence to disclose my age has been bequeathed to me by my father. None of his four children ever succeeded in finding out their exact date of birth. There was no birth certificate officially issued in his era. I have no official birth certificate either, having been born in pre-Independence days in a small village. The custom there was to inform the village ‘munsif’ of one’s child’s birth, for him to record in a dog-eared register. So it was not difficult to follow my father’s tradition in dodging my children’s queries to find out my DoB.
Most Indians have two birthdays every year - an actual DoB according to English calendar, and their ‘star’ birthday. Since the latter is a moving target occurring on a different date each year, my children have never been able to work out my DoB.
But now the whole world will know soon. In fact, half the world already knows as I have to declare this to faceless persons at the other end of the phone every time I make any enquiry of a financial nature. Indeed, you disclose much else as well, like your dog’s name and other identifiers. So much for privacy!
However much one may try not to reveal one’s age, some tell-tale signs silently and stealthily creep up on you with advancing years. Any amount of standing in front of a mirror muttering “Oh, not bad” won’t minimise the ravages that age has wreaked upon you. It is just an exercise in delusion like my youngish looking picture on this page.
As the years advance, grey hair acts as a dark reminder that your colourful youth is a distant memory. Critical senses like hearing and seeing fade away. But counter-measures are available.
Glasses not only help to regain sight, they can also be used as a fashion statement. But sticking hearing aid in your ears still has a stigma. The ‘never stoop to conquer’ attitude of younger days may continue to prevail, but a stoop seamlessly conquers the spinal cord. If only a pharma company could develop a Viagra for vertebra, what a boon it would be for my bowing backbone!
Our fridge too serves as a cool reminder of my growing old – gracefully? Fridge magnets from various eateries that once adorned its door are now replaced with ones from medical specialists. In fact, they hold the door in place.
The bedside cabinet is bursting with capsules of various colours. The kitchen pantry too has changed its look with new fad health foods replacing my once favourite cake mix and cream bikkies.
Memory is another faculty fallen victim to the vagaries of advancing years. As a born AMP (absent-minded person), I used to spend hours searching for my keys and wallet. Now added to the list is the mobile phone, modern miracle time-saver. But I spend more time looking for it than using it. It is more mobile than myself, left easily anywhere in the house, car or garden. Friends christened my previous phone not Black Berry but black brick, because of its size and weight. Now I have a smart phone, maybe to make up the loss of my smartness with slipping with years. It is a BP (budget-priced) item. I have no burning ambition to buy a new Samsung or an iPhone that will burn a hole in my pocket. My new phone is stealing hours of my shortening life span due to its slim size rendering it harder to find. Wish someone would invent a microchip to be embedded in one’s arm to function as a phone so that it is never misplaced. Don’t see that happening in my lifetime, though…
Meanwhile let me not forget to turn up at the event my family is planning to celebrate my life journey of having sighted a thousand full moons.
It is a privilege to have travelled this far.