Where age was just a number

“Aren’t you the one who used to sport two long plaits?” squealed out one portly lady, once a slim beauty, but now a grandma of three. “I still remember how you used to opt for the end of the bench so as to accommodate your long legs comfortably!”

This was how we greeted one another during the recent reunion to celebrate 50 years of our graduation! Most of the greetings were not complimentary like “I remember you as the girl with Sharmila Tagore style hump on the top of your head” or the joke directed at the wispy girl (whom our teacher used to address as ‘the broom stick’ ) in our Physics class when the theory of ‘heat expanding bodies’ was suggested as a weight-gain solution for her.

Yet, nicknames, personal idiosyncrasies, anecdotes and past faux pas were all dug up and taken in the right spirit as attempts at fitting the faceless names and nameless faces in the jig saw puzzle of the last 50 years despite the badges announcing our names and batches and a healthy well-deserved jog for the brains on the wrong side of 60s or early 70s!

The event had the usual fun and glitter that a celebratory function has — competitive games, songs, dances — yet the ‘penguin walk” of the elderly participants with their failing knees appeared far more natural and authentic than the formal practiced items; there were suggestions for competitions like prizes to the one consuming the largest number of tablets, the one with the highest BP, sugar and cholesterol rates. The conventional photographer cajoling us to say “cheese” being advised to say ‘salads’ or ‘tofu’ instead in view of our cholesterol levels, gave a comical twist to the programme.

While I congratulate the present generation of elderly for leaving the thresholds of their prayer rooms and bed rooms, aching bodies, and complaints about all and sundry for their woes, big and small, to retreat to their golden days, I am equally proud of the younger generation who saw this event as a boost to our ageing bodies and sagging minds, and egged us on to attend it. 

My friend, Kanaka’s grand-daughter who gifted her a bottle of nail polish making her promise that it would be sported for the event, youngsters eager to share our experiences of the occasion and my daughters-in-law suggesting the sari I should wear for the D day. It is these little things keep the World going and the World of the grand old is no different! 

This reunion was a contact point for our elder siblings too, many of whom were classmates!

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