Thanks for the kisses and birthday wishes | Daily News


Thanks for the kisses and birthday wishes

I am resting after the big bash thrown in my honour on Thursday, July 5. You see, although I did pass the landmark big Seven O many monsoons ago, I am feeling 17 instead of 70 something.

Allow me to thank everyone who sent their heartfelt 'happy returns' wishes to me during the week. Had a jolly good blast too in the company of all you loved ones. I reiterate I was born on the fifth of July.

Well you know, it is the day after the day the most powerful nation on earth celebrates its independence with a great deal of shouting and shooting and fireworks. That is the day all Yanks get dewy-eyed with patriotic sentiment and sing 'The Star-Spangled Banner' and 'God Bless America.' They will sing along, that is, until the second verse begins and nobody knows the words.

One of their favourite 4th of July traditions actually takes place after the holiday is already over, when the idiots, drunks and pyromaniacs start uploading their near misses with fireworks. As the night skies around them exploded with spectacular showers of pyrotechnics all my relatives and friends in Yankee-Doodle-Dandy-Land started calling and wishing me on the occasion.

I am appreciative. I think it is really nice. Imagine the whole of the North American continent, some 10,000 miles away celebrating their National Day, which according to the International Dateline falls on my birthday.

But let me tell you that the pain of ageing is not something you want to remember when you are turning 70. Which to be perfectly honest was actually some four years ago. Oh, all right I am not ashamed of my age but I do not want to shout about it from the rooftops. Although that is what the dreadful little grandkids have been doing weeks before the big day.

Now where was I? Oh yes, as I was saying I do not want to proclaim my age from the rooftops. It is just that I cannot get on the rooftop because my back is kind of sore, and my knees are getting creaky. But does that bother me? Not at all. See, I am still young enough to kid around.

Ok as I have said before I am considered old, bold and uncontrolled. But if I had observed all the rules expected of a chappie of my age I would never have got anywhere. You see at 70 something I believe I have aged to perfection. That is because as the Americanos say, age 70 something ain't for sissies.

Though it may sound absurd to some of you old fogeys ensconced in the safety zone I feel younger at 70 something than I felt at twenty. Ooh-la-la, I never thought being this old would be this much fun. My get up and go has not got up and gone yet.

As for me, I believe that inside every older person is a younger person wondering what the hell happened. Looking fifty something is great particularly if you are sixty something. Some people reach the age of sixty before others.

And I really do not feel like I am getting older. Make me 15 years younger for a day and I would feel a difference, but right now, I feel as though I can do all the things I did when I was 21. I am sure I am naive about ageing. I have probably gained weight in the last 15 years, and I have definitely lost hair. I might be a step slower, and not just when I have two toddling grandkids clinging to my legs.

Suddenly, just a few years after you were the world's hope for the future, you are part of the past. You are a 'Sir' instead of dude, 'machang' and mate. Still I am grateful that despite my age I did not have to suffer the indignity my old classmate Vijay went through. Poor Vijay was sent to the supermarket by his wife to buy some diapers for their grandson. He approached a smart looking female supervisor and inquired in which aisle they stocked diapers. She gave him the once-over and responded: "Adult or baby?"

Someone told me that there is a Sri Lankan born every twenty minutes. Do you know what this means? It means there is going to be one more young person in a country that already seems to be overrun by young people. I do not know when the whole world became so young. I can remember when I was young. Back then, the whole world looked pretty old. But now, everywhere I go I see young people. And they are getting younger and younger. People in college, people starting off in business and new parents.

Last year soon after my birthday I was at a popular Colombo shopping mall. I noticed a bevy of smart young lasses who looked rather familiar. They reminded me of my youth and the girls of our joint school music society. They were soon joined by a gaggle of matronly dames who appeared to recognise me on sight. Aha, so these were their mothers who stomped the stage with me at the joint Ben-Shepherdian concerts.

I remembered Rani who stepped forward saying: "Hello Gaston. Remember us? I am Rani." She gestured towards her friends: "You must remember Ramya and Verna? We observed you looking at our little ones. Must have reminded you of us when we all on stage together!"

Regaining my composure quickly I said: "Gosh Rani, Ramya, Verna they are all the spitting image of yourselves when you were schoolgirls! No daughters could have looked more like their mothers!" Rani's tinkling laughter in honeyed accord with the others echoed through the shopping mall as she quipped: "Off by an entire generational gap, Gassie Boy! These are our grand-daughters!"

Then they all kissed me! Twice over actually after I mentioned it was my birthday! Greetings of the same 'smackeroo' variety would not be taken amiss, but only from my favourite feminine readers.

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