“Middle age starts at three and five 35”, this innocent prefix announced with the tambola number came as a bolt from the blue. At a time when I was crossing over to the other side of 30, the knowledge of the fact that I was not young any longer gave shivers down my spine. I can not forget the day when I got the rude shock of learning that I was a middle aged woman. It was a birthday party thrown by my friend to celebrate her son’s birthday. We were playing tambola and my friend’s ‘young’ niece was announcing the tambola numbers. Her casual remark while announcing the number 35 gave me a big jolt.
Till the time I was enlightened of the milestone 35, I had never been aware of the ageing blues. They say ignorance is bliss and indeed I remained in the blissful state unaware of the fact that I had already entered into the middle zone. Prior to this revelation, age nay ageing had never bothered me. From the fun filled childhood to heady teens and then breezy adulthood of 20s, life had been an exciting journey where birthdays had been landmarks for celebrations. Adding degrees, landing up with a cozy job in a prestigious college, marriage and then kids-it had been an action packed life. Though the realization of the middle age status struck me like a thunder bolt, the transition from youth to middle age was rather slow.
Then there was yet another tambola tag line to awaken me,” Men get naughty at four zero 40”. I cannot say how naughty my husband’s forty was, but I clearly remember the onset of my 40s. Even before I realized that I needed spectacles for my near vision, one of my colleagues discovered the telltale sign of 40s when I started holding the papers from a distance to read. I avoided using spectacles till the time it became impossible to do without the aid. As I inched towards the other side of the 40, I became conscious of my ageing when I saw grey strands on my crowning glory. Auntie, I had been to the children ever since the time I got married but lately, to my annoyance, I found that even the married men and women started addressing me as auntie. Recently I got yet another blow to my youthful pride when I was mistaken to be the mother of a friend of mine who is just 10 years younger than I am. Birthdays no longer bring any excitement; rather they remind me of the count down. I dread to hear, “Old age starts at five zero 50”.
But as I approach half a century mark, the news of the amazingly fit singing sensation Madonna turning 50 sounds like music to my ears. She becomes my source of inspiration driving all my ageing blues away.
(Published in The Tribune as MIDDLE on Nov.8, 2008)