Image courtesy of Sira Anamwong at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Got myself a haircut, clipped my nails, showered and shampooed, wore that new bright bluish suit with a red necktie matching my shoes, junior was kind to lend me his coat pin, then poured some jazzy perfume (can’t remember which) and looked myself in the mirror. Saw the man in the mirror and liked him, instantly. A 48 years old hunk, a few extra pounds with lots of greying hair, the boyish look and a killer smile (or so I thought), things looked perfect. We were going to a friend’s daughter’s wedding. It was Friday night, beautiful weather, would get see old friends, lots of them, it will be fun. Jokes and laughter and good food. What could be better than all this?
That’s exactly how it turned out to be. Found more friends in one place then I could count them. There was music and man talk and more laughter. In between good desi food we shared life’s predicaments and reminiscences about the days gone by. That’s when I noticed the balding, once good looking gentleman sitting next to me, how he had grown that paunch! In the yesteryears he’d looked dashing. And then I noticed Tariq, the guy sitting next to him, his hairline had receded more than ever, and those dark circles around his eyes! Man he’d lost his looks to the vagaries of time. This took me on another visual exploratory trip and I started noticing all of them one by one. Azhar the once darling was more serious and business like, and that hair dye he used was a dead giveaway, didn’t suit his old haggard face one bit. Next it was Azam, the sucker had grown horizontally, more than he could handle it. There was Anees, the tall guy, his face made me focus on his wrinkles, man he had aged. Hashim, with the dark grey suit, he thought he looked good, well he was wrong, he didn’t need those long grey side burns with a jet black hair dye to his head. And Amir, well he just wasn’t his old self. Mahmood, had none of that old looks left in him. And yet I noticed more of my comrades, all going old, and grey and paunchy and wrinkled. These guys needed a good make over, they needed to spruce up their looks.
My indolent thoughts were interrupted by a hand placed on my shoulder. Who was this, wait a minute, Waseem! He asked about my well being, as we hugged each other. And then he asked me if I was ok? Sure as hell I am ok, I am in the best shape of my life, minus the greying hair, the wrinkles, the few extra pounds and all. That’s when he said something which shook me. He said I had lost my touch, I looked old and haggard and tired and over weight, grey haired, worried, “is everything ok?, its only been three years and you’ve changed a lot”. As if he had read my mind, as if he was making the same observations about me that I had been about him, as if everyone else was thinking what I was thinking. Strange as it may sound or seem, getting old is inevitable, sadly we only realize when we see others, not ourselves. The mirror may show the damage done to us over the years, but we never realize it, until we see others.