Those who don’t know me, I am the man in later twenties of my life and still looking for suitable and sustainable girl to marry. (I know the second part doesn’t matter to this post, but I can’t ignore the fact). Someone very well said that age is just a number, but this two digit number is enough to fill our head with tensions. These days, I find myself in same worry by observing the impacts of age in my body. Few hairs of my head and beard turned white now, and people have started commenting on it. My weight is slightly increasing and if the trend will continue, soon I will join overweight club. It may be false alarm but I felt sometimes that my round face is turning into elliptical shape now. And the worst of all, my stomach is also struggling to popping-out. Though things are not very critical right now but I disappointed with the fact that these symptoms will grow in next five years and I will shift from ‘cool-dude’ to ‘boring-uncle’ group.
Age gives us experience, Age gives us vision and it also gives us wisdom. We spent our whole life in getting these experiences, vision and wisdom and the day we realize that we have such amazing things, we have nothing in hand expect sharing this knowledge with new generation like an old wise man. Most scary fact about age is it may or may not give us knowledge and wisdom, but it will surely give us wrinkles, weakness and worries. The people in my age group are not facing this horrible truth of age right now, but we will surely face it in future and that’s why healthy life style was put on priority by old people in spite of money and career. (Unfortunately we keep money and career priorL )
I may go didactic in above paragraph but I haven’t started this post to give lecture on age. I want to share an interesting incident happened with me last week that confused me over my age. Like all other day, I was waiting for my bus to Indore at Bus stand Ujjain. Rain is very kind over Malwa region of Madhya-Pradesh this year and it was drizzling even in the month of October. I took shelter in front of a school and was cursing myself for not keeping umbrella in bag. I noticed an old lady was passing from thereby with an umbrella in hand. She was intentionally putting her feet over water holes on road and jumping like a kid. ‘Are you late today?’ she looked at me with strange smile and asked. I tried to recognize her but I haven’t remembered. I thought she is in the age where childhood returned for a while and one does strange things like jumping in water holes on road and talking with unknown people. ‘No’ I replied to avoid her. ‘So why are you outside…you haven’t done homework today’ she again asked. Now I got the meaning of her first question. She was thinking that I am a school-going boy by looking me at the gate of school. Her confusion may arises due to my formal attire (sky blue shirt and blue trouser) and a bag over my shoulder or may be due to vision problem in her age, but it filled me with strange happiness that people are still assuming me school going boy. ‘No, I am not in this school…I am waiting for bus here’ I replied her. She went from there after giving me strange smiley look like I was waiting for my girlfriend after bunking the class.
Soon my bus arrived and I was travelling to Indore. Public transport in Madhya Pradesh is unique in some matters all over country. Here arrival and departure of bus is not counted by time. Until the bus is completely filled with people sitting and standing all over the bus till the gates, driver not even think about moving bus. I made space by sliding with the people standing in-between the seats and entered inside the bus. I put my bag on the rack and stood at the place where I can get enough air to breath. I put earphone in my ears to reduce the noise and discomfort of travel. Those who travelled from Ujjain to Indore by road must be aware about the fact that there are one engineering college and one medical college passed on the way. (I am sorry there are 4-5 or may be more than five engineering college are passing now a days but I am referring old and famous Shri Vaishnav College of engineering only). The moment when engineering college was about to reach, conductor started calling to all the students of college to come at gate. ‘Hey! Make hurry…College is about to come and we don’t have much time to stay here’ Conductor called me and said. The conductor was a man in his forties, and has clear vision and stable mental state (unlike that old lady). If he is assuming me as college going boy than it must be true that I am still looks like college dude. The happiness quotient raised by old lady has reached at top now and for a moment I got freedom from all worries of age. ‘No, I am not in college…I will leave at Arbindo College’ I said to conductor. ‘Oh, so you are in medical college, not in engineering college’ Conductor again came to me. His confirmation assures me that he didn’t have any doubt that I am a college student. ‘No, I do job at Vijay Nagar’ I said and he moved from me to make passage for other students to reach at gate.
After fifteen minutes, I too left the bus at Arbindo Medical college and travelled by city bus to reach Vijay Nagar. City buses in Indore are like old monuments without maintenance. The outer bus walls are decorated by advertisements and they look like running advertisements of Airtel and Idea rather than public transport. The interior of bus is smelled by dirt and dust, and corners are colored by betel-spit. Seats are ruptured from various places and cushions were popping out randomly from everywhere. I found one seat without any crack and sit there. After ten minutes, a beautiful teenager girl entered in the bus and tried to find seat. She was damn beautiful and ‘lotus in mud’ is the best example to compare her beauty with city bus. No need to say, all boys and few men (including me) were looking at her only. Though she was not in school uniform, her innocent face and teenager look was telling me that she must be in the last year of higher secondary or first year of graduation. ‘This is girl’s seat, could you please shift to other seat uncle’ she asked me. Her beautiful face and soft tone didn’t make me realize for a moment that she called me uncle, but the moment I realized I felt uneasy. She took my seat and I shifted to men’s seat…sorry unreserved seat (poor men don’t get reservation of their seats anywhere except bathroom…that’s why I love god and hate laws). I never bothered when unknown beautiful girls called me ‘Bhaiya’ in buses and trains, but ‘Uncle’ was really hurting me at that moment. Suddenly dimples at my face were turned into wrinkles, and my entire happiness quotient that was raised due to old lady and bus conductor had come at ground level. I found myself not the same men who got girls attraction so easily due to his boyish charm few years ago. The thought of being uncle in front of new age girls disturbed me all the way in the city-bus.
In next fifteen minutes, I had reached at Vijay Nagar Square and was crossing the square to reach at office building. Crossing Vijay Nagar Square in Indore is like battling in war. It takes ten minutes to cross the square and you have to be alert like an army man otherwise any car, scooter, cycle or even pedestrian will hit you. I was crossing the road, but the other side of square had a jam due to patch work at the corner of square. All the cars and buses were stopped and it also paused me by crossing the road. I stood there for five minutes but traffic was not moving even an inch. Drivers were putting all their frustrations at horns and I found myself helpless in doing so also. ‘Hey…take this teddy…only fifty rupees’ one boy came from footpath and tried to sell soft toys to me. The kid was not more than ten years of age and his condition showed me the ground reality of all our child labor laws. ‘No, I don’t need it’ I said to the boy. ‘Sir, please take it…for your children…it will make them happy’, He requested me again. I may purchase a soft toy from him by feeling pity at his condition, but there was no chance now. It was okay for me till uncle, but this boy had crossed the limit by assuming me father. I accept my age is not of playing with teddy, but it was not of being daddy too. My bitterness for that teenager girl had converted into anger for that kid but it also made me realize that all age symptoms that I was observing are not fictitious.
Soon traffic had opened; I drank my anger and crossed the road. The distance of sixty kilometer between Ujjain to Indore made me met four different people and all of them have different perspective about my age. I was school kid for old lady, a college student for middle aged bus conductor, uncle for teenager girl and father for toy selling kid. The way perspective was changing for me, I thanked God that infant can’t speak otherwise I was called as grandpa also by any baby that day. But jokes apart, that day realized me one thing, age is not a number to worry but age is a milestone to celebrate. It really resides in us how we look at our and other’s age. Old lady has still had childhood remain in her so she was jumping over water holes and that is why she saw a school kid in me. Bus conductor was too hurry in dropping college students and so he saw a college student in me. Teenager girl may grow by body but her mind was still child so she was calling uncle me, and toy seller kid was so desperate in selling toys that he assumes me a father. Nobody cares my numbers, everyone assume my age by their purpose and attitude. Same way, we should also define our age by our work and attitude…not the number. It’s we who make the barrier of age in our mind and define our self under those boundaries. Sometime break this barrier and see how much life remains in us. Isn’t it true or not…BTW what’s your age?