One day this will happen to you. Or it has, already. If it’s yet to happen, then you are younger than me, else, older. It’s not in the years, it’s in the mind.
It’s a feeling that I’m talking about, and it comes to all of us. It’s no big deal that it comes, just that it never manifests in any two of us, the same way.
I’ve heard that we come for a ‘good’ time and not for a ‘long’ time. I’ve also heard that it’s a good habit to ‘never look back’. Well, adding two and two, I figured, you just keep speeding into the future without ever looking back. Kinda like hysterically laughing to your grave. The ideal way to go would be like how RJs abruptly cut off a rockstar on the radio nowadays; mostly, just before the music dies out, sometimes even mid-sentence, fading out your favourite bit.
That is not how it happens though. Sometimes the party does go on. You are dancing, high as a kite, with your eyes closed and every time you open your eyes, there are people still around. This pub stays open pretty late, you observe.
Not long ago, on the momentous occasion of your birthday, your friends would put a candle each, for every year. Then someone figured out that it was wasteful or not worth it, and they started putting a candle for every decade. Soon, it was arbitrarily just one or at the most, two candles, on every birthday. Again, not long ago, the cake would have been a big square, and iced onto it was some cartoon-like mammal, duck or Mickey Mouse. Some of you got lucky enough to get some super hero. The cake then became smaller, and assumed the shape of a circle. Nowadays, friends just get me what looks like a Ragi Mudde or a ball of dough dipped in chocolate syrup while another friend holds a lit matchstick above the lump, for me to make a wish and blow away.
And what do you wish for? As a kid, you would wish good fortune upon your family, your relatives, your friends, and then realising that this could seem a bit selfish, you proceeded to wish good fortune, upon the entire world. Now, when somebody says ‘make a wish’, nothing comes to your mind. So you learn to pause for a moment, close your eyes, stare blankly at the back of your eyelids and then grin at everyone whilst blowing out the candle. Even this party seems to go on forever.
Things get funnier every year, though. If you see it that way, of course. You join the ‘repeater’ club. You begin retelling tales, simultaneously realising mid-way through the tale, that you’ve said this before and it’s too late to back out now. People would say, ‘that was smart’ when you figured out something. Now they say ‘you’re wise’, which is, to my mind, their polite way of saying, ‘you know this cause you’re old and not because you’re quick-witted’.
This feeling we’re talking about, reminds me about your state-of-mind when you’re down 7-2, in a game of soccer. There are about five minutes left, but that isn’t quite enough for you to score the remaining 5 or 6 goals to secure a draw or a win. So, you’re waiting for the whistle to blow, but it won’t happen. Meanwhile, you’re trying to keep the ball amongst yourselves to save further embarrassment. Your team’s morale is understandably low, so the other team manages to get the ball and owing to their optimism, they score yet again. You don’t even look at your team mates anymore, you just walk to the centre line and start again. The whistle, just won’t blow.
You begin to find it funny to call people uncle or auntie. You occasionally notice an uncanny resemblance to your grand-father or grand-mother when you look in the mirror. Friends begin to come back into your life. More reunions, more get-togethers and more parties.
And children nowadays, well you just can’t understand what they’re saying anymore. It sounds like something you used to know, but it doesn’t cut through, so you just tickle them and move on.
You begin to hear from others like you, that this feeling comes and goes in waves. So you brace yourself for a few more lumpy cakes. That’s when it dawns upon you. The only way to avoid this feeling is quite literally, to party till you drop.
No matter, if your party now only involves playing scrabble and drinking a cup of hot chocolate.
Not, the End.