16...that I am definitely not anymore. In fact, almost a decade has passed since then. And anyways, I feel that it is just a hyped-up number.Wonder why other birthdays don't get this kind of attention. No wait, there's 13 when The Wonder Years begin (also known as The Torturous Years for the parents). 18, the legal adult age or for some an age when they can officially bring out the whisky bottles from their hidey-holes. And for guys at 21; if they haven't managed to get a girlfriend after school or college, they can get a girlfriend for life through their parents.
That's it. After that, every birthday becomes a reminder that you are nearing the dreaded age, the thirties!! As far as I am concerned, I have never bothered to hide my age. Last year, I couldn't remember my age at times, and thought that I had already turned 25. So this year, when I finally did cross 25, it was no big deal. Except for that one moment, where I freaked out, and tried to think of all that I have accomplished (the list was too small) , mentally compiled a list of my bloopers (sadly it was too long) and checked my head to reassure myself that I don't need to color my hair yet (Yeaaaahh!!.....touchwood). But later, better sense prevailed, and I reminded myself that I have so much to look forward to. Things are just getting started.
But there were some subtle and some not so subtle ways where other people reminded me of my age. The jokes about looking old were the most mundane. But this one took the cake, my voice sounded old! Now, I am pretty sure that I have not started rasping or wheezing. I didn't bother telling that person, that the male voice breaks after puberty. Does it mean that we should call 16 year olds uncles just because their voice has started sounding like their dad?? And then there are those friends who take great pride in having studied in the same class with me in school or college in spite of being born a year later. Like the timing of their conception and birth is some kind of achievement!!
I have a habit of tuning out comments (be it good or bad), it turns out to be a boon in situations like these. But it is quite hard not to snigger. Have I passed any such comment? Sure I have (I never said I was a saint). But not out of malice or with the intention of one-upping anyone. I wonder how I would feel about this five years from now. Would I still be able to brush it off as lightly as I do today? For now, I am just going to have my cake and eat it too!!