In 2000, I began to work. I was 24 then. My aunt’s colleague visited our house and when my aunt introduced me to her, she spoke nicely and asked, “Are you in 12th class?” And my aunt clarified by saying that, I finished my Post Graduation and almost after a year he has got a job locally, in Cuttack. The lady was amazed. “You don’t look like you are 24.”
I was a 34 years old man then when there were a couple of guests in our office. My boss and my surnames are the same. When I introduced myself, one of them got too excited and asked, “Oh, so you are Mr. Patra’s 17 years old son?”
I shook my head with a grin and said, “No Sir, I am 17 years older than Mr. Patra’s 17 years old son.” And we all had a good laugh. He further commented, “Chiradeep, you seriously don’t look like 34 at all”. And I agreed to him wholeheartedly.
My sisters were always queried whether I am their younger brother or what… And the youngest one replies, “Oh no, he is 11 years older to me…” And the other sister replies, “He is 6 years older than me.”
Trust me, it’s a blessing in my case – I look much younger to my age. Nilla, my co-writer here says, “Chiradeep, you have a baby face”. And I am lean and thin because of my health conditions. I never grew fat or chubby with a paunch like other men.
While most people worry about how bad or old or fat, they are looking with every passing year, I keep admiring myself for every additional inch that I put on and how handsome I am looking at every passing day. So to speak, ageing has always been a boon for me instead of a bane.
There is another psychological factor that works here while I transition to my gray-hair-stage. And that is, when most people concern about ageing, I worry about looking younger unreasonably at a certain age which is a severe disadvantage for me as people do take me for granted a lot of time thinking I am not old enough in certain matters (not for all the matters though).
But there’s a serious question that popped up in my mind in regards to my unreasonable younger look – “What makes me look younger to my age?”
I used to think that my lean and thin body structure makes me look younger but I realized there are many old looking men who are lean and thin like me. So, the physique of a person is a partial truth with respect to looking young. I understand some are born with a younger look and I praise God for bestowing me the same. But I feel there are three more very important factors that make me look younger and will definitely help others to look young as well.
Smile always: “A joyful heart makes a cheerful face.” A joyful heart always brings a smile to our faces and the reason behind a joyful heart is accepting life’s problems wholeheartedly. And I know how I have lived my life; I accepted every difficulty with a smile and it became easier for me to smile and look younger. We need to remember, the curve on our lips, erases the wrinkles on our skin. An older person smiles lesser to maintain gravity but a young person usually smiles without caring about maintaining that so-called personality.
Stress-free lifestyle: “But when the heart is sad, the spirit is broken.” And when the spirit is broken, we don’t feel young anymore but we feel tired, weak and old. So, it is important to lead a stress-free life. Do you know why everyone in the world today is so stressed? It is all because of the rat race and the unnecessary competition that we get engaged in every aspect of our lives. Why fret about something on which we have no control? Why to stress when we can simply do what is possible on our part?
Sleep well: “In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat– for He grants sleep to those he loves.” And He loves those who trust in Him. Impractical, is it? I have been doing this amidst all my pain and suffering and still sleeping well. But sleeping well doesn’t mean sleep all the time and spending in laziness. It means neither too much nor too less sleep but proper sleep. And proper sleep always makes us happy, less grumpy, stress-free and makes us feel rejuvenated.
For the last two-three years have really sucked off all my agility and youthfulness from my very being. Even a man like me has started to feel old. I stopped smiling; I have been spending sleepless nights because of carrying heavy stress and life’s burden that I can’t really help it. But this year in 2021, I promised myself to get back to my original streak. I want to follow what I have been doing all through my life to look unreasonably young. I don’t want to be generic but would love to be different and special. Of course, with the grace of God.
In closing, I pray the same prayer as the Psalmist prays in the Bible –
“Now that I am old and my hair is gray, don’t leave me, God. I must tell the next generation about your power and greatness. God, your goodness reaches far above the skies. You have done wonderful things. God, there is no one like you.”