Whenever I go out of my house, may be for a cup of tea or to meet a friend or for some work to some place, I either walk or take the auto rickshaw or bus or the underground railways, I have a favourite pastime, to look at (hopefully not end up staring) and observe people. The fact that I do not have any personal means of transport and not enough money to afford a cab all the time makes sure that I am surrounded by people even when my commute is not too long. Now it is quite a cliché that my favourite out of all the people to observe are the little human beings. Yes, they are adorable, most of the times that is and if they are not, at least it’s fun to watch them irritate the crap out of whomever they are with. Now, my second favourite people to observe are the middle aged and old ones say from about 35 to 80 or above. It’s actually quite easy to distinguish the 35 from 25, lack of excitement in general is the first sign, lack of too much hand or body movement while talking is another. It is pretty intriguing how 10 years of being in the same bad world can change people’s perceptions. They learn to accept, they don’t fight for change in the auto rickshaw, they silently take an empty seat in the train without much ado and immediately almost close their eyes to avoid glares from older or more tired commuters and they are the ones waiting patiently in a queue even if it is as long as 50 metres long. Funny thing is how this attitude towards the world changes with another 25 years of living experience added to the file. How do you know someone is close to their 60’s? Well apart from the greying hair and wrinkles which people easily cover up these days ( the repertoire of hair colours, anti wrinkle creams, and oh I have heard yoga works too!) you would recognise them by their frowns! They frown almost at everyone and everything, refusal of the auto driver to give him change, or the young chap sitting on the senior citizen seat on the bus or the fact that he has to bear with a group of college girls screaming their lungs out when they see their crush in the train or the worst of it all, if they have to be a witness to young love.
Well it is not like I despise any of it, on the other hand I actually understand. It is okay to be grumpy I guess. The world is quite a shitty place to live in most of the days unless you are deliberate enough to not let anything affect you. To gracefully age is not something that everyone can master however I am pretty sure everyone tries. In a city like Calcutta where the traffic is absolutely bonkers and the population (oh let me not even get there) can drive you insane, especially if you are not really having a good day. May be once you reach home, see your children or grand children you smile and feel the load of the whole day getting lifted off your shoulders. Also how would you know you are being so closely observed by a neurotic woman! May be you would have behaved otherwise and hold the frowns!
The thing is I am not being judgemental, I am simply observing. I have also noticed that when age starts affecting body metabolism, people start developing quirky habits. People who are around their high 40’s or 50’s say they would not eat meat at night as they cannot digest it properly. Your body cannot handle alcohol the same way anymore and you definitely have to go quite easy if you do not want to wake up with a hangover. My mom and dad have this weird thing, if they don’t wake up at 7 am and have a whole cup of hot milk tea they can’t take a dump and it follows by a grumpy day! Many people actually start reducing their milk intake with age because their bodies can’t digest it anymore. Reducing sugar intake is what I see in almost every middle aged person these days.
So, the reason why I started thinking about all of this and started writing this post is because I realised something about myself recently. By recently I mean in the last two months, I found out that I cannot take a dump the next day if I don’t have a cup of hot milk the previous night. I never realised my body would be so much dependant on it till the time I went travelling and hence out of schedule of my night ritual of drinking milk, and could not poop for 5 straight days! And trust me, if anyone has ever had the problem of not being able to shit would know what I mean when I say it was freaking painful. Finally in the fifth day I thought my tummy could not handle anything other than milk and hence got myself a glass full of hot milk and finally in that night I found my release! I have always had this drinking milk at night ritual, my whole family does it since forever, since the time I can remember. I have also gone travelling before with the ritual breaking and I spent my days looking at new places and people and eating new food without a worry about my body’s metabolism! So what changed now? Well the answer is simple and glaring at my face! I have aged. Age has affected my body’s metabolism and got me dependant on milk for me to be able to have a frown free day. It scares me really, this is just the beginning, I know. So many other things will happen to me and changes I would have to accept but at least I shall be warned. This was like my warning bell. I can’t believe that it started so early, but it is okay, if not anything else I will try to achieve mastery in the art of ageing gracefully. And, this blog post is my first effort to do so. Hope my choice of words were not too disgraceful.
Disclaimer: I do not intend to hurt anybody of any age by this post; I have people in my life who I love between the age of 5 to 85. Whatever is written should be taken lightly and only in the purpose of humour. Also, this post is based on observations with no fixed parameters or controls, hence I am just speaking my heart out and categorising or generalising in any way is not my intention.