Has fifty become the new thirty?

So screams an article in the newspapers at me, with a picture of Madonna used as an illustrative point with her being the poster girl of this new movement. I almost did somersaults. By extension, I am still in my teens. Oh well, yes, that might be pushing a point, well late teens if you must be absolutely finicky about details. But well yes, teens is where I am at. Given the current outcrop of pimples and oily skin and dress and self image angst, I’d fit right in. Only not agonising over any boys, discounting of course, the fruit of my womb who causes enough agonising to last me a lifetime.

Yup, yup, all those who tell me fifty is just a number know that I am waiting with the seasoning to have you eat your words right up when you reach there. And I have just twelve years left. And nothing done yet with my life. Oh well yes, I made a child. My most momentuous achievement. But nothing for posterity and that is a damn sobering thought that makes me want to shut myself in a chamber and meditate manically till I come upon the purpose of my life, etc, etc.

Therefore, now, having realised that I have just 12 good years left, after which I go down the hill, what should I do to live it up and be a young whippersnapper, albeit with progressive lenses on them spectacles?

For one, have decided to chuck out all the old and unused and unwanted stuff in my wardrobe. I am not as ruthless as the husband who just throws out his clothes by the shovelful while the watchmen and drivers and housekeeping staff wait with open arms. Once a quarter, we have this ritual where the man runs out with many clothes and keeps them on the shoe cabinet and the want thems come up fighting each other with sticks and brooms to garner as much loot as they can to themselves. So if you happen to visit and see a rail thin housekeeping type with a Diesel original held up with a sturdy belt and a hope and pray know that largesse has just happened.

I emptied my cupboard. In mean that in the metaphorical sense. I took out all the clothes I dont ever use seeing as I am now twice the size they are, looked at them ruefully and put half back in again. The husband snorted derisively and spouted some gyaan straight off the self help book he was reading at that very moment about attachment to external self image and fear of confronting reality and such like. And only shut up when I threatened to chuck a stilleto at him. Yes, I churned out the shoe drawers too. And I am proud to say I gave away four pairs I never ever touch. None of which were big ticket numbers so I have no guilt. The horrible wooden and silver wedges that I havent worn since the day I bought them, but hang onto the hope that one day I will have the courage to justify the good money I spent on them, remain wrapped in bubble wrap. As pristine as they were three years ago when they were bought. And somehow I cant really see the maids sashaying around in Charles & Keith.

In keeping with my newer youthful demenour, I chucked out all the kurtis. Kurtis are for the shapeless. I have a shape. Even if its veering towards the round these days, its a shape, right? Chucked out three bags. One black shiny patent leather Esbeda, which had the studs fallen off in awful manner. One fake Versace, with a peeling handle. And one gold number which I had so tired of. I felt so virtuous you could have read a book in the light of my halo.

In our house of course, chuck out is a relative term. I take out whatever I am not using, have not used for the past decade, donot ever intend using, and hand them over to the mother in law who oohs and aahs, and bemoans the lack of thrift present in the current generation and carefull wraps the discarded stuff in plastic and old bedsheets and tucks them away into the loft. In case. I might ever need them again. Never mind if the white ants and insects get to them first.

Can anyone explain to me my newfound fetish for gold and leopard print? I seem to be picking up stuff in gold and leopard print like I just wandered over from the Playboy mansion. Did a headcount of all I possess over the weekened and found amongst other four gold bags, one copper bag, one leopard print bag, infinite gold shoes, and one leopard print number. And I just truly absolutely, unabashedly adore them. I go shopping with every good intention of buying a simple and sober black or grey number in the shoes and bags department but come home clicking my heels with delight bearing aloft gold and leopard print stuff. Any psychologists here who could give me an insight into this new and strange phenomenon? What does the love for these signify?

Rather unseemly, I would think given that I am hitting the furious forties in a couple of years. Or is this desire for bling, and brights, just a knee jerk reaction to suddenly realising that I am now in the league of oldies who become invisible to people. You know, you’re standing in a line and people cut right in. You’re at a table in a restaurant and you need to do dance on the damn thing to get a waiter’s attention. You’re at a supermarket and people reach over you to get at what they want, or dont move a quarter of a centimeter while you wait politely for them to move their butt.

Does Madonna have to dance on tables to get noticed? Nah!

Seriously though. I think becoming mousier has a lot to do with it. Mousier and more comfortable in one’s skin. So comfortable in fact that one disappears into the background and is sometimes surprised to look into a mirror and find one’s reflection there.

Going to put my eyes in and my highest heels on and cut a swathe through the crowd. And yes, that fire engine red lipstick while I am at it. And if anyone asks me if I’ve had my gender realignment surgery yet, I’m going to pretend I didnt hear it.

After all, doesnt your hearing start to go at thirty?  I’m at thirty-teen now. Let me dress my age.

About Kiran Manral

Kiran Manral is the bestselling, award-winning author of ten books. She was a journalist at The Asian Age, The Times of India, features editor Cosmopolitan, India Cultural Lead and Trendspotter at Gartner Iconoculture, Senior Consultant at Vector Insights and is currently Ideas Editor, SheThePeople.TV apart from consulting on independent research and media projects. She was shortlisted for the Femina Women Awards for Literary Contribution in 2017. The Indian Council of UN Relations (ICUNR) with the Ministry of Women and Children, Govt of India, awarded her the International Women’s Day Award 2018 for excellence in the field of writing. Her novella, 'Saving Maya', was long-listed for the 2018 Saboteur Award, supported by the Arts Council of England in the UK. Her novels 'The Face At the Window’ and ‘Missing, Presumed Dead' were both long-listed for Jio MAMI Word to Screen, and ‘The Face at the Window’ was also shortlisted for the South Asian Film Festival 2019 . Her books include 'The Reluctant Detective', 'Once Upon A Crush', 'All Aboard', 'Karmic Kids-The Story of Parenting Nobody Told You', 'A Boy’s Guide to Growing Up', 'True Love Stories', 'Saving Maya' and ’13 Steps to Bloody Good Parenting.’ She also has published short stories in various magazines, in acclaimed anthologies like Have A Safe Journey, Boo, The Best Asian Speculative Fiction, Magical Women and City of Screams.
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13 Responses to Has fifty become the new thirty?

  1. Suki says:

    Am I too late to ask for any S-sized ones you might still have lingering around?


  2. Suki says:

    er… forgot to add the ” 😛 ” . Freudian?


  3. aneela says:

    Oh Im the same when it comes to the “gold” bags…in my case i guess it comes from decades of a very “austere” childhood..the nuns in convent schools (and anything bling is a sign of the Devil)and a mom who was busy channeling the British Royal Family when it comes to rearing kids (you know Alice bands, hair cut in the perfect U-shape, puffy dresses, white socks…yaagghh) and same “sensible dressing” in the twenties accompanied by low self esteem.. So well when I hit the 30s (accompanied by the new mantra of rather than worrying what people think of me I now preoccupy myself with WHAT I think of people!!)I guess I became more comfortable in my skin and didnt worry what people thought of me as I paraded with my big bags with gold studs!!
    and Kiran though what I know of you and your life is only a “virtual” image…no way should you fear being ignored as the mousy wallflower…you have loads of spunk and even when you are in your fifties you will be a fiery fifty…no dodgering aunty ji.


  4. Priyanka says:

    Congrats – on cleaning your cupboard and letting some of your stuff go.
    But, I will take my current rotund shape, falling hair, and almost non-existent knees and chin over being a teen again!! Thank God, those days are over.. No more obsessing over oily glands, their unsightly products, gangly limbs, knobbly knees and finding your place in this world. Once is enough [shudder]..


  5. 🙂 i am reading books by the light of your halo! Loved that line!


  6. d says:

    “And nothing done yet with my life…”

    Nothing?? Your blog alone counts for a whole lot K. Never ever worry about not doing anything in life. You’re doing plenty . Just imagine how much we(your faithful readers) would spend on therapy if you ever forgot to post ? You are regularly treating the down-in-dumps and the depressed. If that isn’t a bona fide purpose in life, I’d like to know what is!


  7. sraikh says:

    I agree with the above commenter. I look forward to your posts everyday 🙂
    And throwing things out means one thing in my book. TIME TO GO SHOPPING AGAIN 🙂


  8. Silvara says:

    Ohhhh…I love your blog – it’s hilarious and love your fashion style. I also have a pair of leopard print shoes that I am dying to wear out…!!

    I’m a hoarder as well and have many many clothes that I have given up on fitting into again….


  9. chandni says:

    listen, next time, keep some for me. I am an expert at utilizing hand me downs and I susupect my best stuff is what has been passed down from my sister 😀


  10. dipali says:

    In which case I’m approaching thirty- something!
    And I chuck out stuff ruthlessly:)
    And I’m often invisible, despite the avoirdupois.

    Inside of me, I’m timeless. You too, Babe.


  11. Orchid says:

    You rock babe..so nothing else matters really!! but lets get a look at the swanky you with the fire engine red lipstick and all..i am looking for some inspiration myself!
    btw love the new header!


  12. phoenixritu says:

    When I get to be fifty – which is soon, I’m going to dye my hair red and get myself slutty clothes. Have to do that at least once in my life …. 😉 Being old is when you start believing that life has passed you by. So rock on!


  13. Manoj says:

    Yes. The fifty is now twenty, not thirty. The sixty is now thirty. Look at Amitabhs and shobhaa des of the world. And please change the tagline of this blog if you can :
    “Over the hill, and overweight. Wrinkles, grey hair and the
    assorted accompaniments of ageing. Fighting them tooth and nail.
    Guess thats why they call me the old battle axe.



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