Saturday, April 6, 2013

What's age got to do with it???

                              Beautiful family portrait .... I fell in love with the baby... she had the softest, prettiest hands! And that's us at the Opera in Monte Carlo.....
Am off to Chennai tomorrow. 
Back in this space on can safely lie that you missed me!
    This appeared in the Mumbai Mirror....
   What’s age got to do with it….?
Take Tina Turner. Ageless. I was thinking of  her and other amazing ladies closer to home. Asha Bhonsle, for example. Ageless, again. Both are class acts. Still hitting those high notes, personally and professionally. Tina has her great legs and trendy wigs.Asha, her girlish smile and diamond brooches . It isn’t about just the voice. Or even an awesome stage presence (formidable!). It is about attitude and genuine sex appeal. Last week, over a long and nostalgia-driven, wine- fuelled dinner in Alibag, my girl friend and I were discussing a touchy topic -  age and the issues surrounding it. We talked about botox, ceramic teeth, hair extensions, boob jobs, face lifts and assorted ‘problems’ women of a certain vintage are wasting their time and pots of money on. Wasting!! Age is age. Accept it. The moment you start battling those lines and extra cellulite, all you are doing is making your favourite cosmetic surgeon richer. Eventually, everything collapses – the fixed up boobs, cheeks, eyes, smile, butt – everything. Then what?  My friend laughed as she recalled her own  mother’s crass and cruel comment when she was a teenager - “ You are rather ugly, my dear, but don’t worry, you have a lot of sex appeal. And sex appeal never fades, no matter what your age…” Today, my friend who is sixty plus can still rock that chiffon saree! She was born ‘hot’.
But not every woman is born either ‘hot’ or good looking. What happens then? Why, women turn invisible! Unless, of course they are public figures and former actresses like Waheeda Rehman. Ask any young person to name  a woman who has aged gracefully and chances are it will be Waheeda. It used to be Gayatri Devi till pretty recently. What do these two ladies have in common? Here’s a check list : Well- coiffed grey hair, beautiful sarees, barely any make up, modest, elbow length cholis, discreet pearls and ear tops, an innate sense of style combined with dignity, and of course the elegance and grace one associates with classic, God- given beauty. Beyond these obvious attributes, it is also their quiet acceptance of  time’s ravaging effects , that sets them apart. Neither of them ever tried to look younger. And that was/is their biggest USP. Society is less forgiving when it comes to women and age, especially when women refuse to go down without a fight. Every city has its parade of  older women who battle age with everything their means can command. Mumbai has its share of  high maintainence, over the hill prima donnas and divas, who continue to wear clothes so short and so tight, they often spend an entire evening unable to either sit down or exhale.There are also the desperate  Page 3 perennials whose sole objective in life is to get featured on society pages.  Even their dermatologists have given up on them. Poor ladies. And then they get it tight in the media when the fashion police attack them in those wonderfully witty columns. This is rather unfair. But who says life and fashion are fair?
When it comes to men, society watchers pick on poor Dev Anand who remained Peter Pan till the very end of his life. They point to Dilip Kumar and exclaim, “Look at him!” Sure. There is a moral in there. Lesson number one for all those forty-plus society swans in bandage dresses that barely cover their butts, is to ease up on the tarty-trampy look, at least while in India. That is, if they care about what people are saying in the first place. Lesson number two : stay out of the closets of  bratty teens and leave those Lady Gaga numbers to… err… Lady Gaga. Lesson number three: this is the really tough one – try smiling. In order to crack that smile, turn your back on botox. If you must colour your hair, keep it as close to your original hair colour as possible. Bottle blonds are so yesterday. As are those vampire-style coloured lenses….. flush them down fast! And if you find your face and body parts collapsing one by one, go into hiding for a few months.Keep your fingers crossed. Think about it : Would you rather be addressed as ‘Aunty’ at a traffic signal …. or called ‘Ms. Trampy’ behind your back?
As for me, I want to be Geetu Raheja. Smoking hot and  fabulously grey!


Anonymous said...

You are absolutely right, Shobha.

The other day, my young, recently married nephew was fiddling with the television remote control and switched between two programmes - one was the movie Prem Pujari of the 60's with Waheeda doing the Rangeela Re! number and in the other frame, he saw the same Waheeda looking aged in the most dignified fashion.

He said, 'Maama! I know Waheeda auntie is aged ... yet I would give my right eye to fall in love with her and more importantly, her responding to me!"

The nephew's wife had a good laugh.

And I watched you commenting on the Mumbra building crash. In my opinion, you were the only one making clear sense.

You more or less endeavoured to ask: "When everyone knows who is in authority in that neck of the woods, what stops anyone in the proper authority to order the arrest of everyone concerned - the revenue and corporation officials and all the civic authorities besides the legislators and/or the police officials who looked the other way?"

With 35 years' investigative journalism under my belt, I can say with authority, you are dead right!

Anita Jeyan Sandeep said...

I can go on and on about this. Dressing up age appropriately is an art which really a very few possess. After a certain age, that kind of style sense which takes the age into account is not even dependent on physical beauty. But such people are few, and those are called dignified women.
Once I was on a trip to Dubai and was walking around Al-Ain zoo with my baby who was six months old at that time. As I was carrying a bit of post baby weight I was dressed in long loose tshirt and jeans. I came across a woman who was a mother of two, the elder one almost as old as myself, in a tight tshirt and leggings ! Leggings for God's sake! The Tshirt was not long enough to cover the butt also. And she was NOT slim. I was feeling ashamed that I was standing near her. Her skin which hung loose around her thighs reminded me of a hippopotamus. How hard is it to find a plus size jeans? And the thought of the leggings failing to fulfill the purpose and tearing off scared me hell. And to be super confident in that or to ignore the pitiful looks from many youngsters itself is an achievement or a scope of study. People have to enroll in colleges and write exams to get that. Seriously.
Really, Shobhaa Ma'am, dressing up really is an art.

Anonymous said...

Talking of the ageless voice of Asha Bhonsle I am reminded of a piece of fiction I wrote.

I admit, this is shameless self-promotion, but, I am sure those who read it will finally feel it was worth the trouble.

Pooja Rathore said...

ofcourse you are missed (2 or 3 days its okay)but when it extends more than a week ...atleast i miss your columns.
Great post on aging,your advice sound practical,natural and hasslefree...yep smile thats a superduper tip!

Shwetha said...

Queenie Dhody comes to mind instantly :))

And then (shudder) Kiran Juneja with those tight western clothes and sphaghetti blouses on those chubby arms. Wonder why the hubbies will not point out that the dress sense is appalling and cringe worthy. I wonder if these women own mirrors!

Really sad.

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Unknown said...

Obesity is a disease. So please desist from making fun of obese. It is simply not in their hands. As for dressing, it is individual's choice, Let us respect the choice.

Unknown said...

It is extremely distasteful taking names and making comments. Nowadays, Vidya Balan has also become the butt of jokes for her weight and also dress sense, slection of sarees etc.

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