Fiona was all of 22; bubbling, attractive and with the British accent I love to listen to. She and her friend Rachel were with us for a month when they had come down to research on livelihood practices of the indigenous peoples of
You see them all around you; the old men and women with sagging, wrinkled skin, potbellies ( the most disgusting sight in the world is the old women who think they are very sexy, tucking in their sarees so low, revealing their balloon-y, ‘C’ section scarred, post-partum wrinkled midriffs with pothole-like navels) walking around in colours and designs that the real young would be embarrassed to wear.
This obsession with retaining youth is more evident in Kerala than anywhere else. Some have atrocious wigs (toupees) and they strut around as if they are still in their teens.
The other day when I attended a marriage, an old lady, a former colleague , appraised my bald head and wisps of grey hair and advised me with concern – ‘ Your skin is still good, Balan, you should dye your hair’. Being polite, I just glanced at her hair reeking black dye and said I am too lazy.
Why do we pretend? Nobody is fooled into believing that we are younger than our real age. I can understand staying slim and exercising; that is good for health, but this chemical paste that you apply on hair can cause severe allergies ; it can even be carcinogenic.
Age that we must; but let us do it with dignity and cheer. Let us not pretend and be an object of ridicule.
********* Balachandran V,