[Disclaimer – All characters in this article are fictitious and bear no resemblance to any person living or dead. Any similarity with anything living or dead is purely coincidental. The ‘I’ in the article DOESN'T refer to me. It refers to a fictitious character]
Reaching my late 30s, I was going through what typically men in this age go through. I wondered why the college going girl in my neighboring flat address me as uncle. I wondered why the dark ‘clouds’ which once eclipsed my shiny moon-head are slowly uncovering the it – emitting moonlight (so bright that when I stand close to a wall my moonlight projected on the wall makes a kind of halo over my head) even on a new moon night.I wondered why I start breathing heavily when I climb up to my flat (2B as opposed to 13B where Madhavan lived) after screaming at the security guard for not getting the lift repaired.
But then, I was not a typical man.
I watched the King Khan endorsing Fair and Handsome. I knew that Santoor soap lets your skin understand your age out. I had heard of knothole potions. I had seen Rekha. I had seen Hrithik in Koi Mil Gaya. I saw hope. I didn’t want to suffer more. So, I searched the Internet to find if there is something available which can bring my old days back when I was not ‘old’. The 300th link pointed me to a research scientist who claimed to have a medicine to reduce age. His name was Bhagawan Khushi.
Bhagwan Khushi, was temporally 86 years old but biologically looked like a 20 year old person. I explained him my problem and asked him to give me a potion to reduce my age. I agreed to transfer to his name my 2BHK flat – the only property I had. However, I would still need to pay its EMI.
I wrote an email to my wife saying what I was planning to do. Then, I drank Bhagwan Khusi’s potion and, alas, I became four years old!
And what an experience I was going to have!
When I saw myself in the mirror I was pleasantly surprised seeing the black dense forest on my head. My college-going-neighbor Priyanka, while coming from college, dropped by to collect money for flood relief. She couldn’t recognize me. She lightly pinched my cheek and kissed me. I couldn’t believe it. The uncle-calling girl, actually, kissed me! While going, she delicately ran her fingers through my hair and bid me ‘tata’.
Wow! It was fun being a baby again.
I played that whole evening - ran around the house. Took a used syringe and filled water in it. In the bathroom, I scared the lizards off by aiming a jet of water from the syringe at them. I made the bathroom completely wet and jumped on the accumulated water. In the dinner, I made boat out of vertically cut ‘patal/parwal’ and let it float in a pond of daal enclosed by a wall of rice.
The next day, my wife took me to a children’s carnival. And for the first time I enjoyed myself without alcohol! I mingled with other kids of different communities, religions and castes. I played with them without conspiring against any other kids. I didn’t worry if the children of Uncle Sam were happy with me. I treated them as equals. I was fearless. I didn’t care if there was a bomb planted at the site. Neither did I plant a bomb. There was a bag full of gold moving at almost lightening speed. I didn’t care to run after it. I didn’t care if I had enough money for my food after 10 years. I didn’t show partiality towards kids of my state. I also didn’t bribe the organizers to get me the cheat code of the game. I played with all the kids. I was just enjoying myself.
I was free. I was myself.
The carnival got over. And for the first time I had a deep sleep – that too without Larpose. The next morning my wife took me to a school where she had arranged an admission interview for me. The interviewer showed me pictures of weird flowers and asked me their names. She then asked me to sing some nursery rhymes.
I, somehow, got admission. And that marked the end of happy days.
Immediately I joined 3 tuitions. I joined swimming class followed by singing class. I did homework till late evenings. It became a pain to carry the 5 kg bag to school. Surprise tests became nightmares.
I, then, yearned to become older soon – so that I could come out of this mess.
[I don’t know if he went back to 30 years life again. All we know is that he was not satisfied neither when he was a 30 years nor when he was a baby. Every age comes with its challenges which seems too huge for that age. If he were a baby again, he would have wanted to be an adult. He would have been as happy as or as sad as he is now. Of course, the complexities in his life would have decrease – something which he experienced in the Carnival.
As Gertrude Stein puts it – A ROSE IS A ROSE IS A ROSE
PS: Bhagawan and Dev, and Khushi and Anand are almost synonymous]