lalita larking

An obsession with cryptic crosswords. Everything else falls in place.

Location: Kolkata, India

Monday, September 11, 2006

Age cannot wither her...

I should have been reading Darwin's Watch, racing through the Discworld story first, then settling down to the science bits, occasionally moving my lips as I encounter big words. Instead there I was, fretting and trying to work out something. This is numbers and as I have repeatedly told you, Dear Reader, I don't do numbers. The resident mathematician tried to be helpful, but he kept confusing me.

"Take a baby," he said. "Twelve months after it is born, it is one year old on its first birthday, right?"

I cautiously admitted it sounded about right. You never know where mathematics goes next. "So," K said, "On your ninth birthday you are nine years old, and so on and so forth." After verifying this, counting on fingers of both hands, I had to admit he was right. "So on your forty-ninth birthday, you will be forty-nine," he concluded triumphantly. It seemed so unfair.

"Wait," I said. "Surely the day a baby is born is its first birthday? By that reasoning, twelve months after birth it would be a second birthday, and the baby will be one year old." I was quite pleased with this thought.

"It doesn't make sense, Lali." Said K. "Why not?" I asked.

"It would be your fiftieth birthday, and you will still be forty-nine." He said, with entirely unnecessary relish, I thought. Then he rubbed it in, by singing Oh my darling, Clementine.

Approaching fifty is no joke, folks. I've been doing the math, and I tell you, it isn't nice. And in these moments of mild gerontophobia, it is clear spouses are of no help. Nor are friends. It is bad enough to have too many young friends who read that I dislike being called "Auntie", and have taken, with great glee, to calling me "Mami" and in one case of extreme cheekiness, "Mummy." It is worse imagining their taunts about senile dementia when I turn fifty.

But on the other hand, I read that the fifties are the new forties. If that is the case, the forties are the new thirties, and the thirties are the new twenties, so the teens are the new childhood when all parents stage a protest and say, get potty trained now, or else, probably.

Let's leave diapers out of this, you say? Quite, I agree. And I am not ready for incontinent diapers for senior citizens yet, after all.

But it is not so much fear of age and aging that makes this particular milestone appear so unattractive. There are so many women who are much older than my approaching forty-nine, and who are scintillating and wonderful. Take Rekha, for instance, or Sophia Loren or Shabana Azmi.

It is just that realisation hits, that our allotted span is nearly half done. It is taking stock, deciding whether you have lived as you had wanted. It's looking back and wondering how you could have been so naïve and gauche; or idealistic and full of dreams. It is slowing down, feeling one's body age, realising that you may feel twenty, but you most definitely aren't twenty.

"I have to update my profile in Orkut, then." I said. "Let it be," said K. "Who is going to sue you?"

"But that is lying," I said, "And you know that's a sin." I grinned.

"And lying she knew was a sin, a sin. Lying she knew was a sin. Aah, Rickety-tickety-tin." We chanted in unison and fell about laughing.



Anonymous Rajesh said...

And when is this great day approaching, oh ancient one? Is it today?If so, happy birthday.

5:31 pm  
Anonymous Non Sequitur Man said...

Lived a whiner,
All her buddies were online

7:42 pm  
Blogger Lalita Mukherjea said...

Rajesh- Yeah, be like that. See if I care. It is 13th September and mind you, send me a nice message. So there.

NSM- You too? Boo hoo.

8:45 pm  
Blogger Rimi said...

I love K! He sand 'Oh my darlin' Clementine' to you! I love him!

I also love non-sequiter man above. He's just hilarious.

And for you benefit, Mum, I insert here my trademark evil laughter :D

(Btw, ORkut updates automatically. Not to worry)

9:59 pm  
Blogger Rimi said...

Ahhh! Overlook typos. Pretty please?

9:59 pm  
Blogger Lalita Mukherjea said...

Sheesh! She falls in love with visitors.
K I can undestand, I fell in love myself, but NSM? Next you will be saying you want your own Anon Secret admirer. You are welcome to him, by the way. I dislike such persistent Anon behaviour.

Mum, is it? you evil young person. Typos are treasured only, dear.

11:22 pm  
Anonymous Ash said...

If you have quite finished larking about. Post something serious, please.
Happy birthday.

11:58 am  
Blogger Lalita Mukherjea said...

Ash- Excuse me? There was some serious content in that post. I take umbrage. I do, I do.

6:12 pm  
Anonymous Rajesh said...

13 September. Present mam.

Happy birthday, Lali. May all your crosswords be good today and always.

11:16 am  
Anonymous WA said...

Happy Birthday Lalita

12:29 pm  
Blogger Lalita Mukherjea said...

WA- To misquote both the song and Nilu, aadum neram idu dhan idu dhan, WA WA WA. I having a great day, thank you.

1:28 pm  
Anonymous badari narayanan said...

Warm wishes for a very Happy Birthday

2:09 pm  
Blogger Priya said...

Indeed, age can't wither this lilting lark nor can it steal away the ebullience that marks a forty-niner;) Tally ho, Crossword Queen. I'm glad to know you are having a great day, so far. May we be blessed with lots more pickle as the Maami herself gets pickled:D Muaah love you, dahlin';)

2:49 pm  
Blogger Lalita Mukherjea said...

Rajesh- Thanks.

Badari- Thank you.

Priya- Cupboard love, eh? *winks* Thank you dear.

3:21 pm  
Blogger M (tread softly upon) said...

Came over from Priya. Fell in love with your blog. The posts I mean.
And on that note, Happy Birthday!

12:48 am  
Blogger anantha said...

Missus Em! First time here, came here via Nilu, actually. And definitely remember you from that WA WA WA song! IR had a worrrrst chorus!

Actually I digress. Happy Birthday!

3:31 am  
Blogger Lalita Mukherjea said...

M- Thank you. Do visit again.

Anantha- Thanks. *grins* I couldn't resist it, it was so apt, na? Do drop in again.

9:11 am  
Blogger neha vish said...

Dei. Appy Burday. :)

3:04 pm  
Blogger Lalita Mukherjea said...

Neha- Thank you. I had a lovely day.

5:24 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Persistent anon behaviour... But I join the chorus, Lali. Happy Birthday. Keep entertaining us. You rock, lady.


Secret admirer

9:14 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:03 pm  
Anonymous theothernilu said...

Actually, you were misquoting theothernilu. :) Minor correction etc.

3:03 am  
Blogger Lalita Mukherjea said...

Theothernilu- Boo hoo. I am so sorry. Forgive me, please?

1:34 pm  
Anonymous Prophet of Doom said...

Sorry for the super-delayed wishes ..

( Belated ) ....

Joyeux Anniversaire !

Alles Gute zum Geburtstag !

Janm Din ki badhaai !

Wadhdiwasachya Shubhechha !

Piranda naal vaazhthukkal !

1:55 am  
Blogger Lalita Mukherjea said...

Ram- Thankoo, thankoo muchly.

9:39 am  
Anonymous theothernilu said...

Dei, No drama! :)

2:56 pm  
Blogger Lalita Mukherjea said...

theothernilu- I will be a drama queen if I want. So there.

3:08 pm  

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