A couple of years ago I, my friends and most of the acquaintances of my generation touched the fifty yard mark. And thence dawned the enlightenment that the days ahead will certainly be a bonus. But when I reflect, the fact is that life is too fickle and the succeding second in time is in itself bonus. But it took damn fifty years to realise that! “Ha, foolishly lays the head on the shoulders of Man!”
I disliked being reminded of the knell of fifty. Forty was an interesting dawn as, “at forty one turns naughty”. But my sister and C too, wanted a small luncheon or dinner for the occasion and some of my close chums who were in Thpuram at that time assembled at my sister’s home.
It felt awkward to play VIP and blow the candles out and then slice the cake. An Anglican hangover conveniently imbibed by us! An amusing anecdote one of my friend Tomy narrated on the occasion that aided in casting away the timorousness of the birthday cake affair was his summing up of the birthday bash that a class mate of ours threw at a star hotel, when he turned fifty a few weeks prior to my birthday. He said in his customary humour,”Hey that fella P celebrated his menopause party the other day .
Besides the jest, the statement was a reality jolt. The identical syndrome that haunts women when they near fifty or get into the fifties! Though men have not any reason to fret and be subdued by mood swings of the threat of menopause and the psychological fear of losing the uniqueness of women hood ,"fertility”. And physiologically men are fabricated to have a very long innings when it comes to matters of arousal and amorous life... But the fact remains that at least for some like me, the reality check has begun.
This is not just about sexual life that gives much thought. But it is the subsumed fact that lies, Vis a Vis the greying of hair and whiskers, the deposit of fat around the mid riff, the increasingly somatic existence and the enlightenment that the downhill ride has begun. While holding in gratitude the fortune many like me who could live so long with insouciant countenance, solemn thoughts for the many that perished before they could bloom and in the pinnacle of their salubrious lives!
This seems to be the age and time when I feel more like the odd man out in a group which is more in their early forties or even thirties. I’m sure some may dispute this. It also could be so. And it again must be the mind that plays the poker. The Kafkaesque age in one’s life! Strong and brave are the ones who tread forward with nonchalance. Why not?
I have a very good friend, who is my age and who we all see leads a life of quiet and unhurried. The slightly receding hair line garnished with salt and pepper, a sporty beard- and he refuses to think that he is an Uncle Tom. He believes and lives that he still draws the awe, the glances of the young and the middle aged of the fairer sex. This alone is not the end game that is all about. But it is the measured and calculated steps that he puts forth in life, that perhaps make him some what a lovable odd one out.
Now, I also recollect an oxymoron like remark someone made to me.And he certainly was not an M.C.P and harboured no derogatory feel to the opposite sex either.He said, “It is disheartening to fly Kingfisher and Jet, because the stewardesses may want to use the salutation, ‘Uncle’, while in the discomfort of an Air India flight, one can call the stewardess, Aunt.”
He was expressing the anguish that the elixir to sustain youth in life is still a myth.