Friday, December 3, 2010

Old, Older, Oldest!

Weird fact: a total stranger asked me my age in total seriousness today. I was buying something from her shop, and she popped the question.
Weirder fact: I told her my real age. Just like that.
Weirdest fact: She pondered over my reply, and said "Hmmm... well, you're older than I thought." It's weird because I don't know whether she meant to insult me, or to give me a back-handed compliment by meaning that I looked younger than my age. In which case, regardless of how old I looked, I take it to mean that she felt my years were not few by any standards. As compliments go, that would have been one of the most back-handed ones I've ever received. I had to look really far behind to be able to see it.

I went to get a dress tailored today, since some of us thought it might be fun to get together for dinner, where all the ladies wore LBDs (little black dresses). The dressmaker, without any instructions on my part, immediately began looking for dress patterns that were short,yet mature. Ouch.

Is it my imagination, or am I getting older faster than I am inside my head? And why is everyone reminding me of my age? They almost always get it wrong anyway. The "underestimaters" think I'm a college kid (haha) and the "overestimaters" (whom I hate) look at my profession and label me as nearing forty. Not cool. What is more important anyway - your mental age or your chronological age? Inside, I'm just the age I want to be. Outside, I'm getting a little too old to mix with certain groups, dress in certain ways or do certain things.

Which got me thinking. Why this obsession with youth anyway? Granted, no one wants to get old and wrinkled, dependent upon younger members of the family. But when did this kind of attitude towards old age start? If we look at old texts, the Bible or folklore for instance, the old were venerated, respected, obeyed, almost worshiped. Now of course, the times are a-changing as Dylan would say. But what exactly are we achieving in our perennial attempts at everlasting youth? What kind of values are we inculcating in the younger generation?

Youth is fine, if it characterized by innocence, energy, curiosity, beauty - in short, all the finest qualities that one has in one's youth. In our society today however, being young seems to be equated with having a total lack of responsibility, accountability and remaining a baby. Being a baby doesn't always mean that you are youthful. If one isn't careful, one could end up being a 75-year old baby.

I see a lot of post graduate students still addressing their parents as "aanu" "aapa". C'mon, I think they can safely go past the baby-talk at this stage. Just call them "Kanu" and "Kapa" for goodness'sake! I may sound overly grouchy, but behind this babytalk is an accompanying lack of maturity in the way they relate to adults around them. If you're over 18, you're considered an adult. Period. So act and talk like one. Which is why I abhor the way the term of address, "U" is being used nowadays. Prefixing "U" was a way of showing respect to a person older than you, and it indicated good breeding, humility and propriety to know who to address as such. What is rather amusing and irritating now is that people prefix the "U" not so much as a sign of respect, but as a way of letting you know that they are younger than you. I swear people that I grew up with, who called me by my name just like everyone else, have suddenly started adding the "U". And it sure as hell isn't because they have suddenly developed a new-found respect for me! Which is why, I'm guessing, fellow blogger and friend Calliopia resents people adding the "U" in front of online nicks :) C'mon, it's a nick!

Anyway, I'm rambling on, which just goes to show that I may be a little more "senior" than I would like to believe. Oh well.

To end on a more upbeat note, something of mine is getting published by OUP, slated for release on December 9th. Here is the link, and I say something because it's an anthology, and I was asked to submit poems, articles and translations. I have no idea what they picked out. But I got my name on print, so yay!

Am off for a short holiday next week, and will be back and posting on the work I've done on the Aizawl Thunders soon. Ciao!!