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What’s common in Joan Rivers, Jane Fonda, Nicole Kidman and Simon Cowell, apart from the fact that they are all celebrities? Every single one of them has undergone a medical procedure to look younger.

Isn’t it a tad bit surprising that in a world where 60+ people comprise about 11 % of the total world’s population, all we see are men and women racing against time, trying to look younger and younger? The desire to look young is so intense that some of us would go to any length to be frozen in time. This desire is being fuelled by the media and the advertising industry by the plethora of products for “age- arrest”. Be it the anti- wrinkle cream, stretch mark removal gel, under-eye serum or Botox injections, there is a product to make every part of your body young and beautiful.  The advertisements promise  smoother skin,  eyes without crow feet and wrinkles  so that you can look at least 10 years younger than you already are. “Can’t wait to look younger?” asks a 45 year old Indian actor with a heavily made up face. I am afraid not just this actor but most of us would also respond in the affirmative to the question.

Everywhere I look, I see this frenzy of not wanting to look your age if you are any day above 30. This is reflected in everything that we do or say. It’s “cool” for a 40 year old to dress in a tight t-shirt, torn jeans and use the language that is borrowed from the dictionary of a 20 year old. Why shouldn’t it be? After all we have films where 40 year olds proclaiming they are “young at heart” by romancing 16 year olds, where 40 is the new 30 and 30, the new 20. Men and women have stopped aging. Soap operas take generation leaps every six months but there is neither a hint of salt  in their hair or a wrinkle on their face. You can easily mistake the grandfather for the father and the father for his son! Fifty (50) year old celebrities grace the cover of the magazines looking like a 30 year old, women as young as 25 flock to the dermatologist to get a shot of Botox and the bride and the bride-groom end up spending more money in an effort to look younger rather than on the wedding itself.  

 We live in such a youth centric culture that anything even remotely regarded as old has no place in it. It is either discarded or is forced to become invisible. The adverts and the various forms of media portray youth as the epitome of success and attractiveness. If you aren’t young you aren’t attractive or cool.  The older lot has just two options, either to be young through their actions and appearance or to disappear into oblivion.

The ultimate compliment that anyone can pay someone is to say “You sure look so much younger than you actually are”. It is as if I would stop being the person I am the day I start looking my age. People come in all varieties. People, who look their age,  people who look younger and people who look older than their chronological age. That’s the whole beauty of being unique. Trying to standardise and homogenise the way a person should look is robbing away that beauty.  

Why are we made to feel ashamed of ageing as if it’s a disease? Why do we have to wage a war against every wrinkle, every ounce of extra body fat, every strand of gray hair; that hair that very proudly declares we are moving up the ladder of maturity and  wisdom and  not just in numbers. Is it because youth represents second chances that life gives, missed opportunities that can be rectified, the future is all for you to have. Whereas we consider growing old  the anti- thesis of youth, or so we are led to believe. NO second chances, no future to create, only memories to savour. We think by looking young & acting young, that time can be turned back.

 Being young is no doubt fun and exciting but being constantly in the fast lane tires one out.  With age comes stability, the ability to enjoy the smallest things of life.  With your chronological age advancing, your desire to stop and stare at the daffodils also advances, there is no fear of peer pressure or of imitating the next person to advance up the economic ladder that society wants you to climb. If youth is like a steep waterfall which thrills you to the core, advanced age is like a silently flowing stream that can make its way through the stones and pebbles in front of it. Each has its own beauty and season. Each stage has its own charm & grace meant to be enjoyed. Let’s embrace the changes that our body and mind undergoes & celebrate it.

Age is not just a number. It contains within itself all the experience  and the wisdom that a person acquires over the years. To deny the process of ageing to take its own course is to deny the beauty that the 40s, 50s & the 60s ( 70’s & 80s too) bring with them. Each gray hair  and each wrinkle has a story to tell. To not allow them to exist is to deprive yourself and people around you of the joys of growing old.

I will NOT dye my greying hair, because I’m addicted to life & all it has to offer regardless of my chronological age. 



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