24/01/2016 12:04 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST

I'm Not 40 Yet, Goddammit!

Celebrating milestone birthday
MachineHeadz via Getty Images
Celebrating milestone birthday

I will be turning 40 later this year. And I have been so looking forward to it. I've even been working up a few distinguished strands of silvery grey in my sideburns to match this milestone. Each time I bump into a billboard featuring George Clooney, turning 40 looks even more promising. Not that there is any resemblance. But heck, there is an aspiration.

However, over the last few months, people around me have let me down. They have done so by robbing me of an entire year of my life. The 39th year of my life. The year that I am currently living. My current age. In their heads, I have already turned 40. So now, I am more intent on reappropriating my 39th year and living it. I refuse to be 40 when I am technically 39. And it's not just a number. It's a darned fact.

My wife has made it abundantly clear that I must "start acting my age". The age that she keeps referring to is 40.

My dear wife is the biggest culprit here. Each time I have behaved as a "typical" man or a husband in the last few months, she has not merely told me off. Instead, she has made it abundantly clear that I must "start acting my age". The age that she keeps referring to is 40. Well, not true. I am not 40, I often protest. I am 39. And she just retorts with, "See that is exactly what I am saying. You are not bothered about the more serious things I just said." So I have to apologise for "not acting my age". Not acting my "wrong" age.

How can I forget all my friends, whom I adore so much? In all their affection, they so politely make it their priority to label me 40 years of age in our conversations. I shared with one the other day that I had a niggle in my left knee that was bothering me. "These things happen when you are 40 dude," was his compassionate response. Another close friend labelled me "40" as well for a random eyesight lapse while I was trying to read a distant street sign. And any memory lapses on my part are all of a sudden attributed to me being "40" as well.

Any memory lapses on my part are all of a sudden attributed to me being "40" as well.

Then, there was that gentleman at an office reviewing my passport a few weeks ago. In his attempt to afford me a compliment he messed it up too. His kind observation was that I didn't look 40. Dear sir, that is because I am not 40. Just yet. I am 39. I didn't say this, of course, I just smiled vaguely.

My gym instructor is another culprit. When I requested a review of my current training program, he said, "We have a program starting for members who are 40 and above, in a few weeks. It is tailored to the lifestyles and capabilities for that age group."

"I won't be eligible for that for another seven months", I clarified. Once again, with a vague smile.

Last, but not the least, you know you are doomed when your own mother lets you down. Your very own, biological mother. "When did you grow up from this toddler to a 40 year old man?" she blithely exclaimed recently. I tried to think of a comeback but couldn't. So I held myself together and walked on. That vague smile coming in handy, yet again.

So, friends, Romans, countrymen, for another seven months to come, I am not 40. I am 39, and if you wouldn't mind, I will like to live the rest of this time being a 39 year old. At the end of that, I will happily embrace the "George Clooney" phase of my life.

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