Since this weekend happens to be my birthday, I will not churlishly bring up the topic of Barkha Dutt brazenly copying stuff from me into her CV. After all, the true spirit of becoming a wizened middle-aged man lies in totally ignoring the petty things around you, and maturely focussing in on more relevant aspects of life, like how to fool the world that you are still a youth and not a wizened middle-aged man.
But how long can you pull off this charade? I mean how long can you stop exhaling and keep that paunch seemingly tucked in as if you are a flat-stomached youngster? Even Kamal Haasan gave it up a few years ago.
Also, take it from me, this strategy never works. Every time I desperately pulled in my potbelly to pass off as a youth. I think nobody ever mistook me for a youth, they unambiguously saw me for what I was: A desperate middle-aged man desperately pulling in his potbelly to pass off as a youth. I believe I would have done less damage to my image if I had just stood there with a placard that read: ‘I am middle-aged’.
(Also, middle-aged men, whether you suck in that tummy or not, but never ever get anywhere near that monstrosity called: Low-waist pants. The youngsters have a good excuse for wearing them. And that excuse is stupidity of youth. If a photo of yours in low-waist trousers is what has offended Kapil Sibal, I am ready to concede that he has a genuine case for completely censoring the internet. And damn the Lokpal Bill, what the country direly needs now is an extremely draconian law that brings to book all the morons in low-waist pants).
But let us face it, the eagerness to look youthful is seemingly hard-wired into us. So what are the various options? How do they stack up against each other? Let’s check out.
Physical exercise: Rippling muscles, broad chest, enormous energy, enviable endurance…which middle-aged man doesn’t dream of this? And all you middle-agers you can acquire all these provided you had started working out in your young age. For, middle age is that period in a person’s life when he or she is in a physical state that technically allows them to acquire only flab, sometimes even when he or she is actually starving.
To hanker for a chiselled figure during your middle-age is fine, but remember most of the muscled hulks end up as intolerable jerks. And Your Honour, allow me to present my first, and what I believe is the clinching evidence in this case: Salman Khan.
Also, look at it philosophically, when you are anyway going to die, they don’t give you medals for dying healthy and fit.
So that takes us to the medical intervention of
Botox: Modern medical research and related innovations constantly seek to better our lives in ways that we could never have imagined. For instance, today when you go to a doctor, you know he will put you through a retinue of tests and scans. But at the end of it when he tells you that everything is clear and that you are perfectly healthy, it will be very reassuring to you, especially considering the fact that you went to the doctor just to complain that the litter box outside his clinic was overflowing.
Botox represents the smartness of today’s science, as it addresses and attacks the core problem of wrinkles. Botox works on the commonsense logic that if there is no skin there can be no room for wrinkles, and so it sucks out all the muscular tissues, leaving out just the bonal features. Or at least that is how it seems to have worked with Nita Ambani.
Looking at her smooth features, it is impossible for us to hazard a guess on her age. Only high-end biologists, who specialize on skeletal remains, can now determine how old she is.
And actress Sri Devi is another example. But in her defence, it should be said she is now completely ready for whatever sequel they plan to make on Mummy Returns.
And so we end up with last method, which I believe to be the most natural and effective way to look young, and I call it
The Dev Anand way: At over 80, when he died recently, people were raving about how evergreen his looks were. So how did Dev Anand manage this? The trick, when you analyse it deeply, is simple: Dev Anand started looking 80 when he was 40. So when he actually became 80, people said he had the same looks that he had when he was 40.
In a sense Dev Anand has only plagiarised the strategy of Tamil comedian V K Ramaswamy, who, I think, pioneered the idea of ‘looking old when young, so that you can regain your young look when really old’.
VKR didn’t mind this blatant copy of his original plan. In that large-hearted spirit, I think I’ll also overlook Barkha’s plagiarism: Of taking my birth date and using it as hers.