Monday, August 25, 2014

What Was I Saying?



So I am at this book launch in an up market bookstore in Delhi. Considering most other invitees are young, I opt for trousers and a red top. The pretence convinces nobody. I look like a red dinosaur. Just when I focus on the adage, ‘Live your life, forget your age,’ and try to ignore the fact that I belong to a handful of ‘above forty’ present in the room, Rickie, a friend remarks, “Did you notice the average age of this gathering?”
 Grrr…why did he have to rub it in?

Age is a matter of mind, they say. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter. Bah! Given a chance, I wouldn’t move beyond thirty. Who wants wisdom if it comes with increasing weight and diminishing eye sight? I’d rather be Alia Bhatt – confused and impulsive than Barkha Dutt – opinionated and wise. In a world where Housefull is a hit, and Yo Yo is a youth icon, wisdom is an unwanted entity anyway. Look, what we did to wise old MMS.

Needless to say, I am not a fan of the aging malarkey. It’s not that I’m vain or I miss my youthful looks, heavens no. I have embraced the fine lines and grey hair, but it’s about the other things that come marinated with age. Like, I walk towards the kitchen to get a glass of water, but return with a glass of juice. Oftentimes I open the refrigerator and wonder why I opened it in the first place!

The problem compounds if you are a writer and a social media addict. Your mind is fogged with a million thoughts that come and go like the monsoon clouds. Whoever disagrees never faced the embarrassment of, “What was his name damit?” The proper nouns go missing like a story in a Sajid Khan movie.
That said, forgetting names is a great way to destroy friendship. Forgetting the kid’s name is equally effective. As is forgetting that you met the person before.

Optimists say that our brain dismisses negative memories and retains the positive ones as we get older. For all I know, or care, ‘good-old-days’ could well be nothing but a farce created by those who forgot all about them. Then they also say that the mature don’t agonize over losing bets. And that they are less likely to try to redeem their loss by taking a bigger risk. Big deal! I am not into betting anyway.
And all the talk about the elderly being wise and better at managing emotions is baloney. Shouldn’t wisdom be a natural outcome of surviving stupidity? Why should it come along with diminishing eyesight?

This year, the ophthalmologist declared I needed spectacles for reading.
“But I can see. Except that I struggle to read the menu card in a restaurant.”
“Mam, that is because most people need reading glasses after forty.”
“No,” I persisted. “That is because the restaurants are dimly lit.”
He smiled and gave a card. “Please read this.”
Was it a donkey or a monkey? I couldn’t read. Time was when I won a first prize in the ‘needle and thread’ race.
“Can’t you increase the font size?”
He shook his head and smiled.
It hurt. The way it hurt when Sharapova refused to recognize Sachin.

If you are a woman, it’s all good till forty. Then you are on a slippery slope. The estrogen level begins to act like sensex on a day of volatile trading. The hormonal swings leave you as devastated as Tornado Alley in the United States. Your face begins to expand like a bhatura in hot oil. You can, of course find solace in the fact that Salman has a double chin.
If any, the good news is that with advancing age, the anxiety levels have settled for the better. I have negotiated pain, lived through loss, emerged stronger after illness and survived periods of uncertainty. I know things do change. And time does heal.

But again, what was I saying? Ah, forgetfulness. Truly. So much for aging.

60 comments:

  1. Another fine piece Di. Touched almost everything about age in one shot that too with such a well knitted fabric of words. This time I was more than eager to read the next word forget about next sentence. Best part was satirical references to society, Sharapova, Humshakals. Politically, I beg to defer on wisdom of Barkha Dutt.

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    1. So good to see you here Anuj. What about yours writing? And Barkha was just a metaphor for the lack of another name. I wanted Shabana but that would make me sixty and botoxed. And I didn't want that. :) not now.

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    2. Loved it and yes so true. Good to know that I'm not the only one. As I say, at least I will have good company when my family gets fed up of my dementia and puts me in the loony bin home... Albeit will surely forget the names but what the hell!!

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  2. You can have political differences with her hubby, but you have to give it to her for her wisdom! Plus it was only to draw a contrast with Ms. Bhatt, although I can't help liking her either, and I don't think she's dumb.
    Totally brilliant. I could relate to every sentence! And I am soon touching 40, sigh!

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    1. Did you watch Alia Bhatts new video on AIB where she makes fun of her stupidity. It's brilliant. And thanks for reading. I refuse to believe what you just said about your age. No way.

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  3. Another cracker of a post, Alka. It's impressive how you can write a witty post around ageing - which to be honest, is a sensitive topic for many. And going by the photos, I disagree. You (nor Rickie :P) looked out of place - Age as they say, is just a number for you guys. Oh, before I forget (sigh! I think it's starting to affect me too!) - loved the reference to the "good-old-day" phrase :)

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    1. Apna Rickie is young, I hope he doesn't kill me for including his name in a post about aging.
      And thanks. If I can burst crackers, I am young.

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  4. hahaha :D not laughing at age but the wit that has come with it. Or was it there in your 20s too? :D

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    1. It's recently acquired Jas. I discovered my witty side while writing.

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  5. Alka, with each change in your profile pic you appear younger than before! Actually, I too forgot what I was about to write as I got carried away in reading this post:)

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    1. Never trust FB pics, go for the ones on the voter iCard or the one on the passport.
      :)

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  6. Oh boy! I laughed my way through this one. I think it is the multiple things I do more than age that has affected my memory. I go to the fridge, open it and then gaze at it like a moron forgetting what I wanted :). Loved all the puns! Now that I am slowly inching towards my 40th birthday -- face like a bloated bhatura in hot oil -- scared the shit out of me :). Lovely witty and humorous read.

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    1. Look at Rani Mukherjee or Aishwarya Rai's face. Not everyone is as lucky as Madhuri or a Simi Grewal. But you have nothing to worry. Something tells me you are genetically blessed.
      Glad you liked it. Loved your latest post. Touched my heart.

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  7. haha . If U can feel better I have such symptoms in my late 20s . I guess tha shud make u feel better :)
    And I think these things are pretty common= forgetting y u went in to kitchen etc . It means that the grt mind is working on some thing else :)
    anyway fun post as always and My bestest wishes for ur book........

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  8. and god knows y u thot u were a red dinosaur :)
    Saw the pics. U looked awesome

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    1. Thank you Afshan. But truly, the place was buzzing with twenty somethings.

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  9. I laughed through each word and each sentence.. Btw Alia proved us all wrong by taking potshots at herself. Have you seen the video? hats off to that girl :P
    As I grow older, I am sure to stare at my face in the mirror and wonder how much it looks like a Bhatura in hot oil :P

    P.S- It wasn't just 'a' book launch, it was your book launch :)

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    1. Saw the video and fell in love with the girl. She redeemed herself with that video.

      I was 1/27th part of the book. So yes, it was my book launch too. :)

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  10. This was a hilarious one, Alka! Really. As someone much above 40, just a couple years shy of the big 5-0, I enjoyed every sentence of it, especially the references to wise old MMS and the mention of "wise" and Burkha Dutt in one sentence. Really? I mean, really? :D But I assume that's the point you are trying to make ;) We tend to make such strange assumptions when we get to a certain age! Jokes apart, I don't think you looked like a red dinosaur, you looked lovely in red. A wise woman who loves her colours :)
    A thoroughly enjoyable read, this one!

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    1. You are kind Beloo. This was a fun post, no substance really.
      But I enjoy such rants off and on. Glad you liked it.

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  11. Alka, only you can make the entire process of growing old and wrinkled sound so funny :)

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  12. I can relate to this post where there are thousand stuffs on the head..forgetting whether I stirred sugar in the coffee, sipping a tasteless coffee or sugary. You are not alone! haha! You have companion in this world full of words:)

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    1. Glad to find company, Vishal. Sach mein.

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  13. Ha i might be an old fuddy duddy but you can't fool me after i have seen your pics on FB.And you belong to a class distinct from Barkha or Shabana.

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    1. FB pics are misleading Indu. One should go by the pic on the voter I card.

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  14. Hahaha! Tell me about it :) The number of times I have opened a cupboard only to enter into a trance trying to figure out exactly what I wanted from it. I shudder to think of the time when I shall be trying to figure out where I am, and am panicked that I shall, like the yesteryear heroines, wake up to the eternal philosophical question, "Who am I?" :) Only it will not be self-realization or amnesia but Alzheimer's :)

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    1. Suresh, I switched on the iron today and forgot all about it. But it was due to an interesting chat on Indiblogeshwari, so I cant blame the age!
      :)

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  15. haha..Alka you are hilarious... I'm having these symptoms now itself.. Infact it began in my college days... I check if I have the house keys in my bag 10 times even after knowing well that I do...And I can't remember that curtains are called curtains

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    1. You are sweet, Naba. Ha ha, I do that too - check if I have switched off the gas burner.
      But curtain waala kuch jyada ho gaya, no?

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    2. arey nahi main na aisi hi hu....yaad hi nahi aata naam jab aana chahiye! :D

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    3. It's a mean thing to say but there is solace in numbers. After this post I am so wickedly glad that regardless of age most are in the same boat.;)

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  16. As always,your post is good.
    But,I have an objection..........................Why,Oh,Why.....Barkha .....
    For God sake

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    1. Ok forget Barkha, let's put smart like Shabana.
      :)

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    2. And make it worse...How did you get the list of those whom I cant tolerate?

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    3. Ha ha , I don't love her either. Which is why I said, I'd rather be Alia-confused and impulsive than be any of these ladies- opinionated and wise.

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  17. http://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/with-salt-and-pepper/oh-to-be-young-again-and-it-dawns-after-all-youths-not-such-a-bargain-oh-to-be-content-with-the-age-that-im-in/

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  18. With my birthday around the corner,this is is the last thing I needed to read :/ Think of yourself as a good matured wine - warm, soothing and heavy with wisdom. Who gives a damn about weight?

    This post tasted like a glass champagne, bubbling with wit. Love it.

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    1. Purba for the book launch, me and Saks decided to wear a sari but the damn blouse refused to fit. Then the gathering was so young that this post forced itself here. :)
      Thanks. Any compliment from you is a treasure.

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  19. I laughed out loud Alka. My hidden fear is that on my 40th Birthday (that is unfortunately very close) the lettering on the birthday cake will suddenly turn hazy and blurred :-)

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    1. Nope, that won't happen. You will read it clearly.
      On a wicked note, I am not so sure about the message on the card.
      ;)

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  20. Alka, at your book launch you looked just fine. And I had more grey hair than you, remember? ;)
    Witty post. Loved the effortless associations you made - Alia Bhatt, Sajid Khan and even Sachin. Quite your trademark style. How vast is your mental canvas when you write?
    As for forgetfulness, though I'm a year older than 30, I can beat you hands down. Oh, and I'm typing this with my spectacles on. :D

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    1. That was after I used ten bottles of L'Oreal.
      I enjoy making these associations. Like Arnab enjoys political controversies.
      :) :)

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  21. Such a fine piece Alka. And you know what really struck me - about forgetting what you started out an action for, sometimes forgetting names - I found it adorable. In youth we are stuck in a warp of requiring to be perfect all the time, isnt old age a nice excuse to be imperfect and in that imperfectness, we appear more human :)

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  22. waittttttt first let me HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HAHA yeah have a hearty laugh ...

    face like bhatura I thought that was NORMAL.. I had it years back ... OH DAMN i guess i forgot then that it was NOT NORMAL :(

    Bikram's

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    1. Would you believe it Bikram? I was on your blog while you were here. Unfortunately could not comment from my IPad.
      And that Wordless Wednesday pic was truly - Wordless. What was that man doing beneath the plank?

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    2. he he he .. Sleeping .. he was DRUNK :) completely sloshed

      and hey I emailed you .. 12 days ago.. did you get it :)

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  23. hey love the post ! and great articles and congrates on reaching the top sites,.............i will be back visit to often.

    facebok-site

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    1. Thank you and you are most welcome, but which top sites?

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  24. And I am still struggling with a number I don't even want to acknowledge. I am living in denial for now. But, your post made perfect sense

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    1. So good to see you here Akanksha. Truly.

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  25. Specs and forgetfulness don't come with age, Alka. They just come..like they came to me while I am still a small kid :)

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    1. I was talking about reading glasses that come with aging. Given a choice, I'd prefer to forget how many candies I ate, rather than forgetting my editor's name. :)

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  26. Where is my earlier comment? *sobs*

    I am always 26, I think in my mind, I am stuck at that age. Forgetting is my specialty, specially numbers. With age it's getting worse. But still I love it.

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    1. And I love you. You are like an adorable doll Saru.

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  27. Forget about the face going like a bhatura . . . . . . . I am more worried about things going wrong in the upper storey, the memory.

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