Sunday, May 21, 2006

Youth and Age

The police are getting to be very civilised these days. I had to visit them in order for them to okay my new passport and was asked to present myself at the nearest chowky last week. The only minor lapse occurred when I called to ask if they were open and if so, till what time. The receptionist or whoever answered the phone barked, “It’s all written on the form!” When I said sure, but couldn’t he tell me anyway, he barked a second time, “It’s all down on that form!” OK OK, I said, I will take a look at it and come along at the right time.

After a short wait in a small and rather cramped parlour with a bench at one end and some chairs along the wall facing the bench, we were asked to sit down in the investigating officer’s room. Polite doesn’t quite describe the guy who "interviewed" me. He was required to fill in some forms with mundane details such as where I was born and how long I had lived in Bombay, and seemed positively concerned and friendly while doing that. The second officer by whom I had to get the form signed at a later stage, was even more chummy if that is possible.

He looks at my mother and then at me and asks who is who. I tell him, well, I am Uma and I have come to get police clearance for my passport. I point to my mother and say "That's my mother." He shakes his head and says, “Mother is looking younger than daughter.” Such a nice guy, I tell you. Needless to say Mother could not have been more pleased. This statement just about vindicated the one made a couple of years ago when my mother had taken her mother for an outing to the race course and the elderly gossipy women who used to gather there had (according to my grandmother’s maid Saru) remarked on how my grandmother looked younger than my mother.

It figures, folks. My grandmother looked younger than my mother and my mother looks younger than me. That can only mean one thing. That I look older than my grandmother. Ok, what’s all this psychotherapy about if it doesn’t teach you to accept the facts of life? Right then, to answer your question, yes I think I can live with the truth.

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2 comments:

firoze hirjikaka said...

Age is all in the mind...some short sighted individuals have told me I don't look my age...i attribute it to faithfully following rafael Sabatini's dictum " I was born with the gift of laughter and a sense that the world is mad."

Stardust1954 said...

I have a little story about age...kids can make one feel like a dinosaur!

While I was over visiting my niece and her little family back in November, her 4-year-old daughter, Kaleh was sitting on my lap looking at a book with me. One of the characters on one of the pages was an old woman. Kaleh looked at me real close after looking at the cartoon gray-haired lady. I said "She is very old, isn't she?" Kaleh nodded. I then asked her "Am I old?" Kaleh tilted her head shyly and said "Yes," as she sort of gave me an embarrassed smile. I then asked, "How old do you think I am?" and she studied my face and then responded, " Forty-three" and I laughed a little and said "and that is old?" and she nodded again. I told her, "I have a secret, I am even OLDER than that! I am fifty-one!" Her eyes got big as saucers and she said, "WOW...are you older than Gootgamy?" (Gootgamy is her name for MY mother, Kaleh's GREAT grandma!) I was stunned at first but then laughed and laughed! I told her that no, I am old, but Gootgamy is VERY, VERY OLD! Kids can make your self-esteem plummet in an instant sometimes!