How age catches up with even the most avid squash players

By Bikram Vohra

Not so long ago (well, just forty years), we could party all night, then play vigorous squash in the morning, eat a high-calorie breakfast and go to office for a full day’s work.

Now, as I play badminton with my daughter, my mind tells my body to go after the shuttle, and there is a distinct time lapse in the dispatch of the message, the shuttle whizzing past, and the time dear old D for Delta, A for Alpha, D for Delta gets his act together.

Score six-one in her favour. And this is a guy who thought nothing of 10 games of squash and was ready for another round in the evening.

Now, you need a break after being thrashed soundly in the first game. And she is asking if you can play another, but don’t push it, it has to be the fault of the racquet. Or the shuttle was responding to the breeze in the air. Of course, it is windy, look at the trees.

We used to slide on our socks and tie our laces standing on one leg. Now, we sit in a chair and take our time trying to get the thing on, and who the heck has laces any more. We would be there half the day struggling to knot one together.

Also, have you noticed that as you get older, the music you once played on full volume — because that is the only way to play it and it annoyed everybody — now annoys you no end, and you think, why are people so unreasonable. And yet, in counterpoint, they mumble and are indistinct when they speak, and you just cannot figure out why they cannot speak clearly, so you can understand what they are saying. It is not much fun to say “what did you say?” every few minutes. And the youngsters look at you with a sneer when you ask them to either shut up or raise the volume on the TV because you can never make out the dialogue.

As for going out for dinner, we cannot wait till half eleven because you have no idea the havoc that would play with our digestive system, and through it our mood and general disposition. Don’t be so cruel, serve dinner.

The other day someone invited us to dinner at 9.30.

“Must be a mistake”, I said, they meant 8.30.

“They did not”, said my wife, “it is the right time”.

“Why would we go to anyone’s house at 9.30, that is rude”.

“Everyone is not an old fuddy-duddy like you, it’s the weekend, migoodness, you have become old”.

“That has nothing to do with it. Where are they between 7.30 and 9.30 that they cannot come earlier?”

My wife then makes those “tchah! What to do with him” sounds and says, “We’ll leave around 9.40”.

“Whateverfor?”

“Because nobody in their right minds will land up at 9.30 if it says 9.30, sounds desperate”.

I am desperate…to get back home.

When you are young, there is no such thing as jet lag. You just decant from an aircraft and go sightseeing or to a meeting and that is that. A few years down the road, you catch a flight, your body clock has gone for a toss, and you stagger off the plane all beaten like a scrambled egg hoping the agenda is free till you have got your act back together.

When you travel, the first thing you pack is your meds, and woe is you if you reach your destination and have forgotten your stock at home. Not having a prescription in a foreign land is like losing your passport.

Take food. As a young executive, you stay in a hotel and make sure you do justice to the complimentary breakfast. Try every dish, right down the line and then return with your for thirds and fourths because lunch is so far away.

Now, you probably give it a miss and go down for a cup of weak tea and a toast, no butter please, just a streak of marmalade. Count the calories, count the carbs, count the cholesterol.

I could scarf down ten rotis followed by rice and any pudding on earth. Now, they don’t even bother to make a second roti because it will be wasted. The other night the kids decided to have a pizza dinner and they got me a whole pizza.

Why would you do that?

Just eat it, dad?

Do you know how many slices there are, I can’t eat more than one, you people waste. Once upon a time, not so long ago, that pizza would have been history in ten minutes followed by a discussion on how they are shrinking the size of the pizzas these days, the crooks.

As we grow a little older, we also become little tyrants about that word waste. Everyone around me wastes. They won’t switch off the lights. The a/c runs in an empty room. They buy potato wafers that cost a mini fortune. Do you know how much this ice cream costs, the other brand is a quarter of the price. That’s why it is the other brand.

But you know you have crossed into the other half and then some when you want to talk about how you once danced away the night to In them old cotton fields back home and Mack the Knife and Jailhouse Rock and no one ate dinner before one in the morning, and everyone thinks you are kidding, and someone says, you think it’s time for uncle to get to bed?

Who’s a flipping uncle? Though the bed is not a bad idea, just tone down the noise.

Bikram is former editor of KT.  Everyday humour is his forte

letters@khaleejtimes.com

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