Though it may sound strange but the truth is that I was really very happy when I turned forty as throughout these years I carried the vivid picture of my mother in her forties, blissfully happy and content at having acquired sons-in-law for two of her daughters and like the long forgotten ONIDA’s ad “neighbour’s envy, owners pride” displayed her new found status with a sheen unmatched by any of her friends. Don’t we all believe in the adage “Like mothers, like daughters”!
Like a true daughter to my mother, I too had thought of a similar work plan to take shape by my forties when I could happily flaunt my new-found status draped in exquisite sarees, conveniently hiding tyres’ of fat around my midriff! And why must I hide accumulation of fat (and also my financial status), as don’t they say that life starts afresh at forty. At least for my mother it did. Fat purse or the fat person, in our society, stand for prosperity. So I was bent upon displaying my prosperity by my forties to make people jealous. How I had looked forward to life at forty for me!
My dreams shattered away as I touched forty. It was a phase of life where all that I had envisaged for myself, evaded me. My forties turned out to be a dreadful time in my life. Instead of hooking suitable matches for my teenaged daughters, a la Mrs. Benette of “Pride and Prejudice” fame, I was busy filling up forms of various competitive exams that they intended to take, seeking guidance from friends and foes alike on the most competitive coaching institute, and even slyly was acquiring information about how much money they charge as capitation fee, sorry tuition fee, in various professional colleges of Maharashatra and Karnataka! And my mom during her forties would be busy collecting copies of horoscopes of prospective candidates for our marriage and the only persons she would frequent would be the Pandits. And here I was going to different coaching institutes, with forms for admission, in my purse. How I wished to run back in the time machine to have the kind of life that my mom enjoyed.
It was not the only predicament that I had to face, there were many more, and serious ones at that. In order to act and look like a super mom—TV perfect, to the staple diet that my daughters were religiously fed, I had to acquire quite a handful of gray hair (which I tried to catalogued by applying henna). I had dreams of having a complacency on my face that comes from a sense of achievement but I had achieved nothing significant by this age. The contended look that I had dreamed of for my forties is replaced by a look of anguish, uncertainty, and vulnerability.
Leaving apart the look on my countenance, there were other serious issues to be taken care of. How excitedly had I waited to eat whatever I may crave for as adding few kg. Was what I really wanted at this age. But what to say of bulging tyres, which I waited to add in my forties, the Madonna posters peeping from my daughters’ room make me feel guilty for adding even a kg. to my well maintained weight. And the layers of Kanjeevarams in pastel shades that I was waiting to wear all these years are looked down upon my son and he prefers me wearing a designers’ suit, which looks like ordinary handspun Khadi draped in a shapeless manner around a human form.
Oh God, why all this was to happen to me. Had I waited so long for all this to happen to me in my forties? I would happily barter my life with twenties, thirties or even fifties but never forties.
And then they say: “you have come a long way Baby!”