34/100. Age. The defining factor, most say. I refuse to agree. Just a number, say others. I do not agree. Just a state of mind, say yet others. I cannot agree.

Just about two weeks shy of my 41st birthday, I do have age on my mind. I have been thinking what it means to be a woman of a certain age. And yes, it does mean a lot of things…

About four months ago, I bought my first-ever anti-ageing cream. And I have actually used it for about 100 days of the 120 odd days since I bought it. Does this mean I have fallen prey to the big bad ad wolves? Maybe.

At the same time, in the last six seven months, I have waited more than two months to get my roots done. Which is not a small thing considering that over 90 percent of my hair has been gray for more than five years… And that my hair seems to grow almost a milimetre a minute!

I have been wanting to go all gray for about two years but the problem is, instead of looking dignified and elegant, I used to end up looking like a perpetually hassled and harried woman with bald patches on her scalp. Then of course, there was always the pressure of HAVING to look a certain way – pressure that was not easy to shrug off. But, most disappointingly, for some strange reason, the gray looked unnatural. So, trips to the salon were a necessity and not a luxury.

But the last year has given me a new sort of freedom. First, the pressure’s off. Then, for the last three months, I have been trying out hairdos that manage to show off the silver at my temples and don’t make me look bald. And I like what I see in the mirror.

Yes, I do look careworn. But that is more the experience in my eyes than the gray in my hair. I do have quite a few wrinkles and creases now – the gloss of youth has left for, well, younger pastures. 😊. But, that just means I have finally grown into my gray.

This ten-year old Satya Paul Italian crepe with a bold-rose outline print seemed the perfect reflection of my black-and-white state of mind. This saree has been with me to numerous breakfasts, lunches, dinners, office meetings, dance recitals as well as the occasional fashion show. Till one day, it seemed the sheen had been well and truly shed. The white was not as dazzling. The black, a little patchy with age. The saree was relegated to an ever-receding pile in my wardrobe… Till today, when no other saree but this one would do.

This saree does not deserve to be dismissed just because the gloss is gone. In fact, once I looked again, I saw years of quiet dignity left to be lived. So I paired this old companion with an even-older black-with-pink-rosebud top. This was the perfect punch as well as a reminder that aye, we be gray. But, we are still blooming! 💐