Rolling Stones cut “Forty licks” to celebrate 4 decades of their career. Celebs brag “life begins at forty” to break the uneasy ice of age, “naughty forty” to emphasize that it’s not that loose a body. Is age just a number? If so, there must be something uncanny about 40. End of youth? Middle age? Choice between grey or bald? Health toll? Diet control, spectacles, repentance, disillusionment? At first I was jotting down loosely on the questions that spin in my head. Later I found a pattern, a clustering around death. [Info: I read a few days back on how Mendeleev found the Periodic Table in his dreams.]
Now that I’m 40, does it work in my favor to last till 60? Will I be asleep when I die? Will it be painless? Will I be able to make enough money? On a second thought, will I leave behind a goldmine for my near and dear ones? But do they really benefit ? Does it fall short? Will they be capable to handle money? Is there another chance? Do I still live the way I did? Do I run any chance of being famous in the remaining life? What happens to my dreams? Friends, more of them – will that help to feel less wary?
Death is quite over-rated, next only to God (followed by planning and corruption, precisely in this order). [Trivia: Both death and God are esoteric, but death is not purely psychological.] All the above questions are irrelevant to our discourse. They are valid at any age, not just 40. Let’s skip the passé to something sincere.
Magic of 40
I hate to generalize stuff. But I can’t live without attempting. That’s what 40 does to me. It’s an age to appreciate how a sun-soaked hemisphere and its sun-starved cousin gel to form an earth. My rebel meets my conformist, my bucket-to-tub-and-water-to-vapor ascent meets my diabetic ‘Sulabh complex’ exigencies, my principles meet my free spirit, my Mrinal Sen meets my Yash Chopra. A man gets jealous of the child in him, an astute me befriends the gambler counterpart, and so forth. [Being nice: I could extend the line further, but still wouldn’t sound poetic and would remain loud.] I don’t challenge an artistic integrity that seamlessly moves from a ‘Trump’ed Hillary to a ‘demon’etising Modi meme, or a science that sells mobile phones (or apps, if that sounds softer) for a living. I adore the creativity in the background jingle of a deodorant commercial. Take an earthquake or a child abuse, a suicide or a terrorist attack – I can utter all in the same breath. I don’t get shocked as I used to, anymore. I sport a beatific smile on my face that I outlived a Jim Morrison by an ocean or a Swami Vivekananda by a creek already, without making any difference to anyone. I feel, rather I believe, that I deserve to do things I wished but never did. Done with image building, now it’s about how I’m to myself. I spare a thought on how to “break on through to” my “other side”. [QnA: Falling short of push? Sleep and retry.] Bid goodbye to the stranger in you.
Sukumar Ray died at 35. His old man (from ‘Ha-ja-ba-ra-la’) proposed a theorem on counting age. Age can be increasing or decreasing. Post birth it grows till 40 and then the counter retraces its path backwards. Once down to 10, once again it rebounds to 40 and so on. Once you cross the initial 10Y of your life, age is necessarily a vector with a value ranging from 10 to 40 and a direction (up/down). The proponent of this theory, that good old man, backed his algorithm saying he didn’t want to grow old (60, 70 or 80) – he refused to die old.
Unbelievable guidelines laid out by a genius! As opposed to popular belief, 40 is the best anti-ageing cream I can be a model for. Instead of growing 40, let 40 grow on you. It’s definitely a high. Go for it, kid… oops, wait for it.