Folks, I turned forty day-before yesterday.
It is hard not to get emotional on your 40th birthday. You listen to Kishore Kumar singing "Jindagi ke safar mein
gujar jate hain jo mukam, woh phir nahin atey..."(In life's journey, the moments that pass away, they never return). Then you start thinking about some memorable moments with friends and family, and that makes you happy again.
I have done the math and I believe the cost of the
candles exceeds that of the cake once you break into forty. At forty you break-even! And you want to break free. You sing "Oh how I want to be free baby" and you know that Queen still rocks.
Well it is good to see that they now make candles in the shape of numbers. So I was given just 2 candles for my birthday cake, one the shape of "four", another the shape of "zero"! Now that saves candle money and pushes the break-even point further away.
The four reminds you of the four seasons of your life, the four runs that you scored for the first time when you played cricket, the four friends that
made night outs worthwhile, the fantastic four heroes of your childhood comics, and the fourth dimension i.e. time.
The zero reminds you of the balance between the
positive and the negative. It could also imply "a
total failure". You take pride that the zero was
invented by some great Indian mathematician. Of course, the Babylonians and the Greeks might disagree. Swami Vivekananda once spoke for an hour on the spiritual significance of zero. I think that should settle the debate. Well, one is an optimist so you want to zero in on the positive. You want to live life to the fullest and you want to keep smiling. Until the zero hour.
At forty you also think about the infamous Jeetender ads about 40 plus "energy tablets". Now that was before Pfizer saved the world. But I think this has a lot to do with how old you feel in your
mind. It’s all in your mind, as Dr "Fraud" would have us believe. We men never think that way, do we? And if we do, it is merely a Freudian slip.
At forty, you listen to old songs and you think what a genius Kishore Kumar was when he sang for Rajesh Khanna: "Jindagi ek safar hai suhana, yahan kal kya ho kisne jana..." (Life is a pleasant journey, no one knows what shall happen here tomorrow).
Rajesh Khanna drives at a breakneck speed. Hema Malini is all giggles, while she holds tight and tries not to fall off the bike. Remember she had both legs on one side. Like in the golden era. When most heroines didn't spread their legs, around bikes. Of course now it’s going to be a different movie, the heroine would drive the bike, while the hero sits behind with legs on one side.
In this song, Rajesh and Hema drive into the beautiful sunset. The song continues "Maut ani hai, Ayegi ek din, Jaan jani hai, Jayegi ek din...Eisi baton se kya Ghabrana, Yahan kal kya ho kisne jana" (The end is inevitable, it shall come one day, why get unsettled about such trivial things, no one knows what shall happen here tomorrow).
Go ahead, take a break and watch it for yourself: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gl3QGn8QkX0&mode=related&search=
While I blow the candles and come to terms with changing my party line from "I'm in my thirties" to "I know I don't look forty", I do make a wish that we all keep smiling.