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Ageing Disgracefully
Text by Rupa Gulab and Illustration by Vinita Chand
Published: Volume 14, Issue 4, July-August, 2006

She yearns to look 35 years old again and would willingly sell her soul to Beelzebub to rid herself of wrinkles, crows' feet and sagging skin. Then, admitting that she is a wimp who cannot deal with the pain and the repercussions of age-defying treatments, the 40-plus novelist, Rupa Gulab, settles down to a life filled with laugh lines

After hitting the 40s, I've discovered to my horror that crows' feet look way better on crows. They just don't suit me one bit. What makes me even more dyspeptic is that, despite my failing eyesight, I've noticed that a lot of women 20 years older than me look about 30 years younger. Hey, I've seen them air-kissing on television and Page 3! Okay, so the rest of their bodies don't quite match their youthful faces but so what - they still look more presentable than I do.

I foolishly assumed that it's because they have led squeaky clean lifestyles in their youth, loading up on colourful organic salads (an euphemism for insect-infected, puke-inducing, ridiculously expensive raw veggies), spending quality time with their personal trainers, using sun block religiously, shunning nicotine, alcohol and French fries and other far-sighted strategies. Unlike poor old self-indulgent, myopic me. But no, my savvy women of the world friends say, it's because those older women have pawned the family silver and broken into the pension fund to pay for cosmetic surgery and Botox jobs, among other things.

The real tragedy is, I cannot - absolutely cannot - bring myself to do what they're doing. Not because I'm an annoying never-been-waxed or blow-dried earth-mother type who heartily booms, 'You shallow person, ageing is a natural process, enjoy!'

Not at all. The truth is, I yearn to look at least 35 again. I would willingly sell my soul to Beelzebub for it if need be; but I cannot deal with the repercussions and pain. So, I'm a wimp, big deal.

Obnoxious Aussie actor, Russell Crowe, has made me realise that going under the knife to look hot just ain't worth it. It may, as he said about steamy Basic Instinct star, Sharon Stone, make me look like an orang-utan or a startled chimpanzee. Why should I suffer acute pain to look like an extra from Planet of the Apes? That's not my role model.

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