I had my frequently-used and the more well-known cellphone (read official) shut down on my 44th birthday. Partly because I was on a holiday with my family and I did not wanted to be disturbed by official works; and partly because I suddenly did not know how to respond to people wishing me "Happy Birthday". My other cellphone (the older one) was, however, on.
The first reward for keeping it on came in the form of a a birthday wish from a 30+ spinster. Pleasant one! She has been a regular at wishing for past several years except probably one or two recent years when she was too preoccupied with family problems. The next one was, as always, a very old friend from my hometown. The next one was from my brother and the last one was from a recent friend. By midday I was tempted enough to put my first cell on hoping for more wishes. Immediately the phone rang; it was someone from my office asking advice on some official matter. I put the phone off the next moment. The day went on without any further wishes.
Growing older is a tricky business. Turning 44 is even trickier. The body sends in signals that the decay has set in, but the mind refuses to leave the wicket. My spinster friend (actually she is friend of my wife) says 44 year old male are the ones best avoided by women in the office. They are considered dangerous; experienced but bored by monotony and are looking for opportunities and excitements. My brother says, 44 is when the obvious question pops up - Family, house, car secured; what's next? Another journalist friend (female of course) says, turning 44 is like approaching a target, a destination - the anxiety of almost reaching it makes one nervous, the way one gets jittery while approaching a landmark, like a half-century.
It seemed the world has not much of a good opinion about 44 year olds. Does everyone thinks the same way as my brother and the friend? Does they would think the same way about a 50 year old? Well, how will it feel to be 50? Or for that matter, 60? May be 70? I did not bother much to think how did it feel to turn 44. In fact, I could not. I was more occupied with the thought how my father was feeling that day. He has turned 76 on the day because we were born on the same date 32 years apart! I wanted to ask him how does it feel but did not. I was sure he was not thinking about himself. He was looking at me and wondering how the days had gone by; the way I was looking at my five-year-old son and thinking how the days went by.