How old are you?
‘If a year gets elapsed, you are getting aged by a year’, I simply teased my friend.
But, he vehemently opposed my proposition. ‘I have got nothing to do with it, When I am hale and healthy and as strong as ever, why do you add a year rather unnecessarily with me?’
‘No, No, I am not getting old, My age is ….’ He whispered his age into my year.
I smiled at him. ‘How long will you say it? Whether you like it or not you are definitely getting aged as years go by’.
When you ask a tiny tot, ‘How old are you?’, you will instantly get an answer, ‘I am six years old’ as fed by his/her parents.
But as you grow and getting aged, various social and legal factors play a vital role in your aging process.
Aging from a legal perspective:-
If a child is 3 +, it is time to get him or her admitted into a kinder garden.Until a child attains the age of 5, mother is the natural guardian of the child. When the child is above 5 years old, the father is the natural guardian. If the child is below the age of 18 years, in legal parlance, it is a minor.
When you commit a gravest crime as a minor, you are not treated at par with others especially in the administration of criminal justice. You are committed to juvenile homes. Again when you become a victim of rape as a minor, the person who commits the rape is given a stringent punishment according to the penal code.
If you are above the age of 18 or 21, you are a major, which enables you to have many legal rights like right to vote, right to acquire or sell movable or immovable properties. If you are a girl, you become eligible to marry; if you are a boy and above 21, you are eligible to marry. If you are 25 years of age you can contest an assembly seat or a Lok Sabha seat, if you are above 35 years of age, you can become a member of Rajya Sabha.
If you are an employee, you should retire on attaining the age of 58 or 60.Hence, before attaining the age of retirement, you have to preplan it. When you are above 65 years of age, you are a senior citizen, which enables you to avail many concessions announced by the Government in income tax slabs and other sobs in the Railways and in other sectors. Even the courts have a soft corner towards the senior citizens.Thus the legal ramifications on attaining a particular age are manifold.
Aging from a social perspective:-
While there is no any reservation in revealing one’s real age from a legal perspective, from a social perspective, the story is different.
When you are a newly born baby, you are so soft and so cute. As you grow, you are considered as a child until you enter into your teens. You become adventurous in your teens and more independent. In fact tackling the teens and parenting them is a challenge. When you have successfully tackled your teen son or daughter, you can be quite happy and feel proud; you can also feel satisfied that you have helped them to grow into responsible citizens.
When you reach the adulthood, your culture plays a predominant role in your lifestyle. If you are in a western country, dating culture is prominent during your adolescence stage. Whereas, in the case of countries like India, on attaining adulthood, the liberties of a girl child is somewhat curtailed; whereas a boy on attaining manhood, he enjoys more freedom comparatively; but dating culture is conspicuously absent.
Love blossoms naturally in your adolescent stage irrespective of the country, irrespective of the culture you are in; love traverses the barriers of languages, race, nations and it is the single but the greatest unifying force in the world.
It is interesting to note that in your childhood, teen or adolescent stage, though you are conscious of your growth and age, still you remain somewhat honest and straightforward and in fact you are proud of your age and growth; Hence, you do not make any conscious attempt to hide your age. Again, as long as you remain a bachelor or a spinster, you consider it as one of the golden era of your life.
On the other hand, once you get married, all sorts of mudslinging creep in your life. Once for all your freedom is gone; You have to eke out your livelihood not only for you but for your family also; you are saddled with more and more responsibilities like bearing and rearing a child, educating them, providing them with jobs, helping them to get married. In the process, you are also getting aged and you are conscious of your age and responsibilities. In fact, your workload and added responsibilities hasten the process of your aging.
But it is an irony that though you are aware of the inevitability of your aging process, still you are making frantic attempts to hide your actual age; making conscious efforts to reduce the process of aging; using synthetic methods to look smarter and younger; even hide your actual age to others. This lifespan goes on until your children grow.
Your tryst with your aging process ends when your son or daughter gets married; when you become a grandpa or grandma; when your grandson or grand daughter is in your lap; when you play hide and seek with them.