Today I turned forty six years old. This is not a worth remembering number like forty or forty five or even fifty. Unglamorous and un-cool a number as it is, I tend to think of becoming fifty in another four years time. I cannot be forty six or fifty alone anymore. Each year that I advance in age or each year that takes advantage of me tells me that I am not alone. I am connected to a few people directly or indirectly who also advance in age, become mature, become older and turn themselves into mellowed down and wise people. Habit has made me think of my birthdays in comparison with the age of my kids. One year added to my lived past is one year added to the living present of their lives. I have been away from them for the last one year. I have become one year older and they too have undergone the same test of time. I think of my mother; she has also become one year older, a little bit wiser and calmer. I think more of my late father. He had left me when he was fifty five years old. I am just nine years from that cut off mark. I now know how my father had felt when he was forty six years old.
At the age of forty six, I am worried about two things; my health and my wealth. Generally speaking, people start worrying about their health when they cross forty. It is then hormonal changes happen. It is when your children go to school or college. It is when they fall in love and fall out of love. It when your son comes back after a fight with friends. It is when an accident changes the course of life. It is when your partner loses interest in you. It is when you realize that you have managed a life so far and now it is the time to live. So many things happen. You either become a dry conservative or a radical non-conformist at this age. All these changes bring different kinds of illness to your life. You call it life style diseases. Some take pride in it and some get depressed by it. The more your stress level increases the more you become prone to diseases. Like any other ordinary human being I too have undergone high level of stress during the past few years which has resulted into blood sugar. Doctors say that I have diabetic conditions. Hence, I enter the threshold of my forty sixth year holding hands of a health condition called diabetes.
I underwent a period of depression once I came to know that I have this condition. I have been doing physical exercises for over twenty five years. I should not have any health conditions. All these years I have had only one prayer; let my children see me live and die a healthy life. I had seen my father suffering from all kinds of ‘life style’ diseases and closing the last chapter of his life in a very painful way. I never wanted to give my kids that experience. But the genetic passage cannot be closed down permanently. Diabetes, they say, comes because of two reasons; bad life style that includes stress and genetic transference of illness codes. If I have a health condition today, then I cannot look for any other external reasons. But I am not a meek person to go down without giving it a fight. At the age of forty six I say it with certainty that I could stop smoking and drinking without thinking twice. Almost forty days back, when I came to know that I have blood sugar, I stopped drinking and smoking on the same day. Till date I have not touched liquor or cigarette. I have intensified my work out regime and I do not feel the legendary fatigue and other symptoms that generally the diabetes patients undergo. When I look at the mirror, I feel good about myself. Sometimes, I feel that abstaining from social drinking is some kind of fanaticism or foolishness. But as I have tremendous control over my body and mind, I could say no or yes to myself and stick to it to the T.
The second thing is wealth. Once people hit forty, they really worry about their wealth. But the smart and intelligence would have made their money by this time. The rest of their life is all about stabilizing the inflow of wealth, saving it for the future and enjoying a good life. If that is the case, I should really worry about my wealth. At the age of forty six, I do not have any wealth to claim for myself. I do not have a house, a car, a job or anything that comes with a married man. By the way, I have to tell you that I have filed for a divorce in a family court. Hence, for the time being, I do not have a family either. I do not own any land or property anywhere in the world. And a portion of land that is supposed to come to me from my ancestors would come only when mother decides to give it to me. If she decides against it, then I will be completely free of wealth in this world. But I am a happy man today. I live off a suitcase, living in different places, in different people’s homes, with different people cooking and serving food for me, with no baggage, with the books bought, read and kept for keepsake in those houses where I happened to spend a few days with an assurance that I would pick them back once I am settled somewhere at some point of time. May be this is the price that I have been paying for the TIME on this earth to spend the life of a writer. And I am happy about it.
Recently, one of my college friends from Trivandrum, who is settled in the US with her family, and doing well in life took an initiative to create a whatsapp group of the students from the Bachelors and Masters in English Literature of the University College, Trivandrum, from 1987 to 1992. I happened to be one of them and I joined the group. I found all of my college mates have progressed in life and have done good things so far with their lives. In their midst I look the odd one out because I do not have a job to talk about or anything else to flaunt. I have some writings but I do not know how many of them would be interested to read me at all. But it is a happy feeling that I am in the company of a few people who all might have turned forty five or forty six by this time or would turn soon.
I try to be positive and want to keep my calm though I blow my lid off at times. I live in other people’s houses. Though I create temporary routines for myself depending on the cities where I live, when I am forced to request for food or any other support system, a sense of humiliation comes over me. But I soon overcome this negative feeling by filling myself with a sense of gratitude towards all those people who have been appearing in my life from nowhere and helping me to wade through the waves of time. Sometimes I feel that I am a tamed animal. But as the poet said, I keep a forest in my mind and there I walk like a king and talk like a king. I write from my wilderness; I have winds, darkness, moonlight, stars, coldness, rocks and rivulets, trees, hills, rocks and loneliness for company. When I write I write their memories, when I live I live their present, when I sleep I sleep their remoteness, when I live I live their celebrations. At the age of forty six, one has to be an excellent actor. But in the forest of my mind, I am a naked man, devoid of costumes, roles and dialogues. I am mute like a day’s sun and I am vocal like a night’s silence. I am powerful like a mighty rock that loves a dark cloud and I am weak like a rain that showers on a hill top. From there I flow down, like a murmur and then like a roar. In between I am music. At forty six I am music.