Aunty…aunty…aunty…remember the Godrej hair-dye adv.? A teenage dude addresses the husband as ‘Anna’ (Brother) and the wife as ‘Aunty’ followed by an echo whispering inside the lady’s head ‘Aunty…aunty…aunty’. All for what? A single streak of gray hair! The lady turns miserable and seeks the help of Godrej hair dye. Her head is now all black again, she gets the apparent feeling of youthfulness and the same teenage dude now calls her ‘Akka’ (Sister). The adv. ends.
I didn’t give a second thought to that adv. when it was first telecast as I was definitely in my prime youth then. Now that I am crawling slowly into the early half of my later twenties, I get sudden visions of myself playing the aunty in the Godrej adv. Not that my hair has turned gray but because of the many role transitions that I’ve gone through over the last two to three years. Honestly, it doesn’t make me miserable like it did to the aunty and surprisingly I am even proud of it. Soon after marriage when Vijay and I moved into our new apartment, our neighborhood kids started calling us uncle and aunty. It felt strange in the beginning but seemed right too. Come on, we do address folks more than 20 years senior to us as uncle and aunty. Why get upset when kids 20 years younger to us call us so? That doesn’t mean I’m cool with the title. I’m cool as long as the caller’s age justifies it.
Coming back to the my pride in getting old. First and foremost, age draws respect. I personally believe that maturity of thoughts does not come from age alone, rather it comes with the experiences that one goes through in life. I’ve seen people much younger to me speak with great wisdom and people in their reigning 50s behaving immaturely. Still, it is a common prejudice, especially among the senior population that all older folks are wise and younger ones are irresponsible. Why? Because age draws respect whether it is warrantied or not. Population percentage is another contributing factor. At any given time, the number of oldies outnumber youngsters. Among oldies, I include middle-age people who assume themselves to be older than they are and wear a coat of ego and prestige.
When I was much younger, the first impression that I made to my seniors by look was this – ‘Small puny girl. What will she possibly know of life?’. Some went further to assume that I was just another dumb dollie, batting her eye lashes, getting carried away by lovey-doovy dreams and cry at the slightest provocation. Assumptions before knowing a person! It took considerable time and effort every time to beat that prejudice, make a mark and show my spunk. Age was my disadvantage! Now, I don’t have to take that extra inconvenient step of convincing. The road is just smooth and straight.
When it comes to the co-aged male population, a young female is first looked at as a candidate for flirtation before she is seen for what she really is. The same applies to young men as well. Carnal instincts! Marriage and parenthood removes that hormonal pull and makes us likable from lovable. Many might find that too difficult to accept but trust me, once in that role, it gives you freedom of self like never before.
As against fighting age with artificial creams and lotions, why not for a change get old with grace? Compromise on faded and designer jeans for comfort fits. Trade glossy stuff for classy ones. Drop the seductive smile and flash a confident charm. Look straight and act poised. You will be acknowledged as someone who knows his or her ground and act so. Subtle make-up and smart dressing is the secret.
Though I advocate aging as a positive phenomenon, I still condemn the idea of resigning to it as fate and leading a life of a recluse. Beauty is skin deep but physical fitness is deeper, much deeper. No matter how young or how old, hitting the gym or doing whatever physical activity that we’ve been doing before is something that shouldn’t be given up. Reaching 60s with no cardiac or diabetic condition, with a happy heart and an in-exhaustive child-like zeal towards life is success. That is getting old with grace!
I might still be relatively young to comment on old age but I could set standards to conduct myself when the time comes. That is precisely what I am doing in this post, setting a code of conduct for a later me. I wouldn’t develop any aunty affinity, that’s for sure. At the same time, I’d watch out and save myself from aunty-o-phobia. Wouldn’t you?