Age, chapter 27 of Memory, a Novella
Written for Nanowrimo Extended
Copyright (c) Soumya Mukherjee
Act Your Age
How often have you heard this admonition?
Boy have been hearing this all his life.
At first it was called “pakami’ which is acting older than your age. Then it was called “chyablami” which is acting younger than your age. It seems he never got to act his age.
When Boy was young, he would try to act older, and wanted to be considered an adult. This did not happen. But as Boy grew older, he wanted to be considered younger, and this did not happen either.
When you are in your pre teens, a teenager seems all grown up, and a person in the twenties old. Thirties are positively ancient. You club them along with geriatrics. Entering the teens, the same applies, but with the shift of a decade. Preteens seem like infants now. In the twenties this continues, only you club the teens with the younger children as babies. We had a saying then, don’t trust anyone over thirty. You consider yourself to be the in the prime of youth, and are busy trying to change the world, whenever you have time off from chasing girls. You are also desperate to lose your virginity, and add some substance to all the lies you told your friends about your conquests and prodigious feats in this field, half believing the lies your friends are telling you.
Now come the thirties, and you consider yourself the flower of manhood. By now you are married, probably a dad (or mom, but knowing the male experience firsthand I will restrict my story to that. It is quite similar for women from what I hear, except that they mature way faster than us) the anxieties regarding finding a livelihood, a partner and a place in the scheme of things, our little corner of the world, are over. This is when you are most confident and comfortable about your place in life.
Then it is the dreaded forties. All along you thought that these guys were over the hill. Now you are one of them! Children are older, expenses higher, finances tighter, partner less patient, career stagnating, belly beginning to bulge and grey streaks appearing in the thinning hair. You are desperate to feel younger.
Boy handled this dreaded birthday by joining a gym, colouring his hair, and getting a new and younger wardrobe, and changing the model of his car. He took to teaching my daughters outdoor games in which he participated with more enthusiasm than skill.
He also did a short course in rock climbing, rappelling and other such strenuous activities, and became an adventure sports enthusiast. He tried some very foolhardy stunts for a beginner and a middle aged man, but luckily survived without major injury or worse.
The gym phase lasted a month. The hair colour speeded up hair thinning, so was discarded, but led to the grey streaks turning into grey swathes.
His rediscovered love for the outdoors, however, remained, but he tried the stunts with better gear and more precautions.
Despite strenuous efforts he soon became unable to give any competition to his daughters in swimming or badminton and they preferred spending the time with their own age group.
His wife took to gymming and stuck to it, and preferred to spend the time with serious fitness freaks rather than a huffing spouse. So Boy was back to spending the evenings lounging around the pool or the bar, with other middle aged guys getting nostalgic for the good old days.
Finally the 50s came around. Panic struck. The dreaded F word!
Boy reacted by joining his wife’s Yoga class, which lasted a week,; going on a crash diet, lost in a fortnight; quitting smoking, off the wagon in a month; getting skinny jeans and a wardrobe in line with latest teen fashions, which is still in his cupboard. He partied all night dancing to retro numbers much to the embarrassment of his kids, went rafting, climbing and trekking with kids half his age, did a road trip touted as among the most dangerous in the world although he had not driven for four years and had only been a pillion rider on bikes before, returned to herbal methods of expanding consciousness in desperate bids to recapture his youth.
Now his kids tell him to act his age.
Boy is sure that he will be able to reverse time, and the sixties will never happen
Age, chapter 27 of Memory, a Novella