I sometimes wonder what life would really be like if this universe was devoid of all reflective surfaces.

Imagine if there were no mirrors and we didn’t know what we look like!

What foundation, then, would our towers of Vain be built on?

What would become of our narcissistic pursuits?

Would we even bother to doll up and blow vanity bubbles?

Or seek reciprocity in vanity-fueled quests?

Be passionate? Be alive?

Natural beauty takes 2 hours in front of the mirror, says Pamela Anderson.

With no mirrors around, a multi-billion dollar global cosmetic industry would possibly be consigned to flames of redundancy.

Beauty would then truly lie in the eyes of the beholder.

Going about our morning ablutions, we look at the mirror and strike a spontaneous connect with our alter-ego.

We smile. We grimace. We explore random expressions…seeking perhaps a subconscious validation of our existence in this world.

Reassuring ourselves that we are still alive.

Vanity, ego’s wild child, lives in a world of its own.

It is nebulous and can crash at the site of unaesthetic proportions. So when we look into the mirror, we have already decided what WE want to see.

No wonder they say that a monkey is superior to man.

When he looks into the mirror, he sees a monkey!

Each one of us has our own private affair with the mirror.

My mirror and I too have spent some blissful decades in perfect harmony.

But of late, this affiliation seems to be on the wane. Our mutual trust is giving way to mounting trepidation. Age is catching up with my one-time siliconfidante.

It’s losing its ability to reflect the ‘true’ me. It only believes in surface appearance (although a school of thought says, thank god mirrors show us our appearance only).

Show me a guy who says that a mirror never lies, and I’ll show you, two liars.

During my salad days, whenever a bubbly me peeped into the mirror, a mint-fresh face smiled back, giving me a quick vanity rub.

Today when the same vivacious me looks at a mirror, it throws back an unfamiliar wrinkly face that deflates my 100-watt smile to a zero-watt sulk.

It’s clear that I’m no longer the extraordinary vision that used to set its pulse racing.

Once I shared a karmic connect with my alter-ego camping on the other side of the mirror.

Today we are as disparate as geese and cheese.

I am still the young chirpy girl who loves to sing in the rain, dance with abandon, wear the freakiest of clothes and lead a bohemian lifestyle with all caution thrown to wind.

But my alter-ego is this stodgy matron with a unicolour personality palette.

A predictable wife. A predictable mom. A predictable grandmom. Living life in a prescribed manner.

Time is gradually tolling my routine faculties and I can see my memory slide down the retention ladder with sadistic glee.

Time is also reflecting in my invisibility to strangers.

Epoxy eyes now just slide past me, salesmen look through me and young men at parties couldn’t care less whether I wore an LBD or Santa’s costume.

People often tell me I look younger than my years and express shock when I mention my age. You are not, they say, and I assure them, with grim relish, that I am.

Then I notice them scan me from the corner of their eyes for tell-tale signs of augmentation jobs.

Suddenly I start feeling like a creep in a sheep’s clothing — the proverbial mutton dressed as lamb.

I don’t really know whether to rejoice the moment or regret it.

Each one of us has earned a slot within our peers’ Attribute Recall Parameter through a USP (unique selling proposition) — a kind of epithet deployed by them to remember us: intellectual.. smart.. intelligent.. humorous.. witty.. pretty.. and so on.

While most attributes, like wine, only improve with age, the last one, like beer, comes with an expiry date.

So in the prescribed checklist, if pretty is what you are ticked against (for some reason), every fresh wrinkle that sprouts on your face are bound to give you a dollop of extra grief than usual.

In my case, as mother nature merrily goes sprinkling wrinkles on my face, I worry about developing some sustainable faculty (blogging, for instance !).

As Emily Fox says, “at the end of middle age, nearly every blessing is hinged to a curse that has fallen on someone else. At least I don’t have varicose veins; at least I don’t have a bald spot; at least I don’t have a dowager’s hump.

Surely there’s a diminishing utility in these kinds of comparisons, which extend seamlessly from minor gloating to deadly schadenfreude. (At least I haven’t lost my mind. At least I’m not alone.)”

I also have a JV with Emily Fox’s claim that as decline starts ascending, our understanding of fellow women improves.

The camaraderie deepens as our sags and wrinkles unite us in kinship.

Why just women, I understand men better too.

Their insecurities. Their triumphs.

And their testosterone subjugation. How could I have missed it as a teenager?

My empathy meter is better calibrated now.

I react less, understand more.

The rough outer layers of my personality are peeling off.

A serene sweetness is being unravelled gradually.

My mood colours are less borderline. I no longer pendulate from pits of melancholy to peaks of ecstasy. I am candid yet compatible.

Laconic, yet lively. I am better at containing my impulses and reigning my reactions. The moral nonchalance of yesteryears is gone.

The buoyant self-destructive disposition has given way to conscientiousness and prudence.

My mind is still agile but the innards feel a bit fragile.

Drinking binges have dried to a trickle.

An extra shot of vodka or a reckless indulgence in fried comforts is enough to make me feel poisoned.

I can no longer pop a piece of chocolate randomly in my mouth. As the appetite shrinks, awareness of the difference between gourmet and gourmand expands.

I am more disciplined about my workouts, my eating habits, about popping my garden-variety pills — those potent arrows in my quiver of rejuvenation.

Though not exactly gasping at the thought of personal extinction, I want to do my bit to supplement mother nature’s effort to keep me healthy till my last day.

My efforts are less a byproduct of the vagaries of vanity, and more an attempt to establish a deeper connect with the inner me.

When I look good, I feel good. When I feel good, I feel healthy. And if health is wealth, I feel like a million bucks.

Life’s good and as for the Youth gone Yonder, I can only sayThank You for the Music. To say otherwise would amount to ingratitude.

So chronologically I’m going to grow forever, but biologically, I pledge to be Forever 21.

And here’s how I’d like to sum up my half -a-century-plus on this planet ….


As a Bird-Brained Teenager, Confusion Reigned my Heart

Now the Mind and Thoughts are Together But the Body’s falling Apart

Rekindling the Bedroom Romance is now a Big Fight

It takes all Night to do What we did all Night

They say Age is an issue of Mind over Matter

If you don’t mind It doesn’t really matter

But Matter it Does When things get Badder

The Memory goes Shrinking the Body gets Fatter

Earlier Make-up was optional It’s now Mandatory

Without it, This Gori would Look pretty Gory

My Beauty-Spots have now morphed into Age-Spots

Hubby whispered last night Can I play join the Dots?

My spirit of Adventure is kissing the Dust bin

For every ONE night out I need THREE nights in

Never imagined Discos and Night clubs would become a NO GO

Even Midlife Crisis happened a Lifetime ago

They say Age is just a Number Don’t fret and Fume

I say if Age is just a Number then Jail is just a Room

But Life is what I make it To Be or Not To Be

And today I’m the youngest I’m ever gonna be

So let me grab this moment Without sulk or Strife

Because today is the FIRST day of the Rest of my Life

My hair has turned grey but Life is colourful

A deeper Connect with Myself makes it Meaningful

My Body may be Waning but my Mind is Seskier

I now take my Decisions with no trace of Fear

What Age has taken away, Wisdom has Compensated.

I now firmly believe Youth is truly Overrated.

Seeing the price of Immaturity that Youngsters have to Pay

Youth Is Wasted on the Young I simply HAVE to say

My life is now embellished with More Layers, More Fun

And I’m forever Optimistic….FOREVER 21



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Puja Bhakoo

Author, creative writer, ad professional, poet & acclaimed tapestry artist Puja Bhakoo enjoys dipping her pen into every political, social, and spiritual pie.