It was time to get myself to the barbershop. Balding, it turns out, also means that hair growth is remarkably uneven. Strange how all these aspects of aging are not what I imagined even ten years ago, leave alone my imaginations when I was a kid!
"How do you want your haircut?"
The question coming from him was rather funny because, you see, he was way ahead of me in the balding process. I bet he has to spend very little on hair care, even less than the tiny amount I have to shell out.
As he started working on my hair, it was, of course, time for small talk.
"Do you work, or are you retired?" he asked.
This is increasingly the story of my life.
At a recent neighborhood party, I introduced myself to the daughter of the neighbors who were the hosts, and she, too, asked me whether I was retired or working.
A while ago, a store clerk apologized for not having given me my senior-citizen discount.
I am no George Clooney, but, really? Come on, really? Do I look that old enough to look like I am of retirement age?
The practically all-grey hair on my head and my face leads people to wonder whether I am old enough to be retired.
But, I am not even fifty yet!
I suppose with people coloring their hair--even men--it is mostly only the old and retired, who have nothing to lose or gain, who walk around grey?
On top of the appearance, perhaps I come across as an old fuddy-duddy too. At least I I don't drool and nod off mid-sentence. Not yet!
No wonder a cousin told me, not too long ago, "live a little, Sriram."
Or, like the other time a few years ago when a much older colleague, who is now well into her retirement, told me that she didn't think I was that young because I was so wise! I didn't know if that was a compliment or an insult!
"Hey, don't be misled by my grey hair" I told the barber with a chuckle. "I got my first grey hair when I was 13 or 14."
Other teenagers got pimples and acne as their "welcome to the teens" gift from nature. I got them, especially right on my nose, and grey hair too. I was actually quite proud of my grey hair. After all, how many teenagers get them, right?
"My mother was grey when I was young. So was my grandmother. An uncle. It is genetic" I added.
Driving back home, I wondered why I never felt the urge in all these years to dye my hair, and maintain a clean-shaven face, and present myself as a much younger Sriram. I guess, as Popeye always said, "I am what I am."
Deal with it, world--it is your problem, not mine ;)