And another year passes by…

On Friday, I officially became 41. I must be really officially old now, because this realisation was met with calm equanimity and much shovelling in of birthday cake with no thought for the horrific aftermaths of such gourmandgiri, normally visible on the outer perimeters of the thighs. There was no shrieking in horror, no rushing to the mirror to check how much of my face had folded up like a living work of origami, not swearing to myself that I would seriously investigate the jabs and pokes and peels some friends were getting done to ensure they didn’t look like they’d been out of college for more than a couple of years max.
I had done all my panicking last year when I turned 40 and had nothing left in abeyance to panic any more. Ergo, I was zen. Calm. I could have channeled Master Shifu, only I would have to first zap myself in a reducing kind of machine to get to those proportions, but I’m sure you get my drift.
I have, I think, officially made my peace with being a woman in her forties. When I was in my teens, to be very honest, and I wish I could smack the smarmy teen I was, I thought forty was a couple of steps away from the grave. Some years ago, at a lunch with other school gate moms, a sprightly 20 something (I am the antique piece in these gatherings because I had my son after eight years of being married and was well on my way to being fossil material by then) declaimed grandiosely that she would like to die at 40 so she could make a good looking corpse. Being a few years away from 40 at that point, I choked a bit on my risotto, had someone thump me on the back to clear the airways and chipped in that I had no intention of copping it by 40. I had a child to see grown up before I handed in my pail.
Honestly though, and embarrassingly for the child in question, in my head I am still stuck in my mid 20s. I live in denims and in the summer months, vests. I read Young Adult fiction like Twilight and have no qualms in declaring a crush on the most unsuitable Edward Cullen, even though his body is more reminiscent of a filleted salmon rather than object of lust, and do the occasional wolf whistle when the wolf boy displays rippling musculature.
I don’t feel like I’m supposed to be middle aged. In my head. In my head and the place where it really matters, parts of me are still circa around age 16 and other parts reluctant to leave my 20s and in the wondering bit of it all, I’m still at age five I think, with all the ‘Why’s’ in my head still not getting all the answers I wanted. I’m still asking a lot of questions, the only difference is that I don’t have the courage to chew off the mater’s ear with them and generally keep asking them of myself. The why’s have changed a bit though. They’ve gone from the “Why can’t I have ice cream for breakfast?” variety to the “Why am I here, what is the purpose of my life?” variety. And I do get the answer to them sometimes. Like the answer to the What is the purpose of my life question is definitely to Have icecream for breakfast.
Seriously though, last year, this time, things were rather different. I had just sold a house and was moving homes. I was terribly rattled and disgruntled. I was shaking my metaphorical fist at the sky and asking the powers that be, “Why me?” (And yes, I got my answer too, “Why not you?”) I was going through midlife crisis. If I drove I would have gone out and got myself a sports convertible. Given that I didn’t, I just went out and bought myself a slew of what I considered very unsuitable apparel for a forty year old and wore them. It was cruel on the world, I know but the world would just have to lump it, I thought. I looked carefully at my skin, and thanked the mater profusely for giving me skin that I could fry breakfast one, but which delayed them lines from settling in and taking up permanent residence with ration card and pan card. I realised that the sands of time, they were running out, unless I signed up for cryogenic freezing and such like, and I had around 10 good years left with me to make the most of it, before the body began creaking and croaking, and the joints began giving up the ghost. I’ve made peace with the steady march of the years. I’ve had a book out in the past year. I’ve written a couple of others. I’ve traveled across cities, meeting wonderful people, having readings and events. It has been a blessed year. I’ve been blessed. Now to see how Year 41 can top the previous one.


About Kiran Manral

Kiran Manral published her first book, The Reluctant Detective in 2011. Since then, she has published eight books across genres till date. Her books include romance and chicklit with Once Upon A Crush (2014), All Aboard (2015), Saving Maya (2017); horror with The Face at the Window (2016) and nonfiction with Karmic Kids (2015), A Boy’s Guide to Growing Up (2016) and True Love Stories (2017). Her short stories have been published on Juggernaut, in magazines like Verve and Cosmopolitan, and have been part of anthologies like Chicken Soup for the Soul, Have a Safe Journey (2017) and Boo (2017). Her articles and columns have appeared in the Times of India, Tehelka, DNA, Yowoto, Shethepeople, New Woman, Femina, Verve, Elle, Cosmopolitan, Conde Nast Traveller, DB Post, The Telegraph, the Asian Age, iDiva, TheDailyO and more. She was shortlisted for the Femina Women Awards 2017 for Literary Contribution. She is a TEDx speaker and a mentor with Vital Voices Global Mentoring Walk 2017.
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9 Responses to And another year passes by…

  1. Khan Mukhtar says:

    Turning to 41 years is a blessing and you already having made a name in the literally world in the form of your reluctant detective,is a butter on the cake. God bless you good luck good health and blissful married life.


  2. Cheers to that Kiran, and more :))


  3. R's Mom says:

    Wow! what a super 41 birthday post….wishing you a super belated happy birthday and hope things turn even better this year 🙂


  4. Sri says:

    Superb birthday post!!

    Happy birthday!:)


  5. Belated B Day wishes to u.
    Age is the mind over matter. If you don’t mind it doesn’t matter.


  6. Sujatha says:

    Hey Kiran, Happy happy birthday… you wrote exactly my thoughts!!


  7. shoba says:

    Belated B’day Wishes Lady K.You are young at heart and that’s what matters most.Love ya.


  8. Pepper says:

    Hope you had a happy, happy birthday Kiran.


  9. Suchi says:

    Hi Fortyandcounting (or should I say Fortyoneandcounting?) enjoyed the post, and identified with it a lot! I am Fortysixandcounting and loving it, at least, sometimes…

    ‘The answer to What is the purpose of my life is definitely Have ice cream for breakfast…’ hahaha – LOVE it! Brilliant! That use to be my maxim till some months ago, when my middle started growing alarmingly. But now, inspired by this, I’ll re-instate it as the motto of my life 😀

    Visit me at some time, I too have held forth on the trials and tribulations of midlife crises at times…


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