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It happens to all women. One minute they are going about their business and the next, wham, they vanish. They are simply not there, not a trace! This occurs roughly around the fortieth birthday;you are busy squinting at the cake when Mankind presses ctrl-alt-delete on you. And then begins the battle for visibility. Like Ash bravely fought at Cannes. She bulges, they said, seeing her for a minute or two.
When you were younger you couldn't get into a lift without strange men ogling you non-stop till you got out. But now, after you've painstakingly trained yourself in the art of staring into space and pretending to be a deafmute if they try to chat, the creeps get in and urgently look at themselves in the mirror.
There was a time you could get away with political incorrectness as you were 'just so different' and now you are, like, psycho, with people saying 'calm down' every two minutes to you as if you forgot to take your dementia pills. This is called middle age, as opposed to what no one ever called 'early age'. So you are just you till that day you can't carry off skinny jeans anymore. Someone will say, 'Oh, you still wear shorts', like you should walk naked now that you're over 40.
Okay, okay. Take a deep breath. You haven't disappeared, you have just gone the way of fine wines and matured. Kind people, also incidentally younger, will tell you that you are 'ageing gracefully'. Like that's uppermost on your mind, to please global audiences by inaudibly fading away wearing age-appropriate clothes as the serene senior citizen in insurance ads.
So what does one do?
Report yourself as a 'missing person'. File your stats, stampsize picture and general details so that police officials will turn up at your doorstep and 'find' you from time to time. They will say, 'There you are!' and you will say 'Here I am!' and everyone goes home happy.
Get married or, if already married, have an affair. This will distract you from the business of invisibility with a 24/7 voiceover in a detestable baritone on all your flaws, which will include your looks, family members, job profile and even your fingernails. Suddenly you want to disappear or commit homicide, which will have you reappear in a very 'wanted' kind of way.
Go all retro. Hum the Doordarshan signature tune and trash MTV and FB as modern evils at every opportunity. Establish yourself so olde worlde, there's no doubt about your vintage. Glower, frown, sulk and moan about the good old days. Shake your head sadly, saying, 'What do you know? You are just a baby!' Preface all your rambling stories with: 'When I was your age...' and end it with some really dumb dênouement. Meet the ageists halfway - if they think you geriatric, you think them infantile. Go in for a sex change operation so that you get to play in the other team. An extreme measure but fun. For the first half of your life you get to flutter eyelashes and the other half of your life just enjoy the view as a pot-bellied man. Too many birthdays do have their brighter side. You get to go your way, do your own thing without being called 'immature', 'too young', or worse, 'a woman'. You can travel anywhere alone and be out late. Be brutally frank and tell it like it is since people cut you some slack for having been around a considerable time. Deflect idiots with an 'elderly' gaze;if the retard persists, doze off. Some sort of soul shift takes place and the home front finally starts to make sense. Curtains, carpets, cutlery, crockery are no longer unsolvable mysteries of the universe. Housewifery becomes a default internal mechanism;you delegate, instruct, nag on autopilot. Instead of writing poetry on existential angst, you now run your home in your sleep.
Sartorial mishaps and saying the wrong thing no longer lead to insomnia. After Madonna flashed in Istanbul, everyone got their knickers in a twist except her. It is very sweet, really, how the world will act embarrassed on behalf of the ageing Eve.
And sex can only get better as there's little time for the 'nahin-nahin, I'm not that kind of girl' routine. And nobody thinks you are a good girl or a bad girl, they can barely remember you are a girl. You can be moral, you can be immoral but remember this: mortality rate among women is 100 per cent. All girls die, the bad and the good. Especially the good.
The thing that undoubtedly gets better with age is talking about men, which goes from whisper-wink-giggle-nudge to a booked-out comedy. Women have traditionally bonded over boys and this doesn't change with age - they just go from 'ooh' and 'aah' to 'ha-ha'. You know you are over the hill when the punchline is a man.
Ladies of a certain age will not bite their lower lip and whine on and on about ex-lovers like the annoying Ana of 50 Shades of Grey. They will instead whip out a contract that will have Christian forget the ABCD of BDSM.
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