Staying young

I believed in the old adage that a man is as old as he feels and a woman as old as she looks. When strands of grey appeared on my pate, I wasn’t overtly worried. I maintained that after all getting old is a natural phenomenon and one should not go against the tide.

One evening my son’s friend came home for dinner and as we were talking, he asked me whether I had retired from service. Since I had almost 10 years to reach the retirement age, I told him so. But I started wondering whether I am looking older than my age. My wife suggested that I could get my hair dyed and get a facial done, but I vehemently opposed her suggestion. One of my friends attempted to dye his hair and actually got into his death bed because of some chemical reaction.
A few years later I went to a school reunion and met many of my class fellows. One of them remarked to others that I am having a distinguished look. I asked him whether he meant that I am looking old. His silence was revealing and once again a thought came to me to make an attempt to look young.

Some time later I attended a wedding. When I went to wish the bride, her mother directed the newly weds to touch my feet asking them to take the blessings of a grandfather. I was visibly embarrassed as both my children were still in college and I had not even thought of their marriage. My wife reasoned that our first child is already 20 years old and had she got married at the legally permissible marriage age, we would have definitely become grandparents. Hearing that explanation, I didn’t bother over the matter.

The other day I was a chief guest for an important function and the media covered it extensively. One newspaper reported that I am a retired officer. I got annoyed and spoke to the editor whom I had known since childhood. He apologised for the faux paus, but gently reminded me that had the government not increased the retirement age, I would have naturally retired from service by then. I was speechless.

As I sat brooding over the editor’s comments, I received an e mail from a friend which said that life is not measured by the breaths we take but by the moments that take our breaths away. Remembering such moments, I realised that I still have the energy of a middle-aged man and free from ailments people of my age suffer from. I am still a teenager in my thoughts.

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