Though I wasn’t born then, I think this line was written for me, or those who share a similar deceptively ‘little girl’ look like me. So as my 27th birthday comes closer, I wonder how many years more will I have to listen to this line or some variation of it. For all practical purposes, I look the same as I did around 10 years ago, which though one would say is a great thing for a girl, has also had its own negative aspects for me.
The first time I heard I don’t look my age was when my long lost cousin met me around 10 years ago. He said you look so young, a naïve me then replied, good na, when I will be 30 no one will guess I am thirty, that will be so cool. Of course back then I thought that I would look somewhat grown up by the time I cross 23-24. Alas, that was not to be and it has caused me endless embarrassment at times.
Like when in my PG course we visited the sets of Kaun Banega Crorepati and the guy at the security wouldn’t initially let me in, because he wanted to ensure I was above 18. Thankfully there was another classmate who looked as small as me so I atleast had a fellow sufferer of the ‘Who’s that kid syndrome’. Then once again in college there was this sweet boy lets call him V, who I had become good friends with. V was in first year college and so was I, only I was in PG first year. We enjoyed joking around and my room mate used to always say he has a crush on you, to which I would say gosh he is a kid, come on and he knows I am older. Wrong. I had said first year mass communication course and he thought it was a graduation course. I still remember the day he actually got to know that I was 4 years older. I shall call upon you to use your vivid imagination to picture how his face must have looked, because the mixture of confusion and slight disappointment at losing a potential girlfriend is something I cant describe too well. Some years down the line, a boyfriend too happened to tell me that the first time he saw me he thought I was ‘just an intern.’
‘Just an intern’ is another thing I have had to face a lot. TV is a game of perception more than anything. And there have been times when I have not been taken seriously despite giving enough and accurate information because apparently the so called viewers think I am a kid so well I couldn’t be saying anything worthwhile. What could the kid possibly know? Then I have had comments on my blog page that are some form of veiled disbelief of my credentials, something to the effect of ‘despite being so young, you seem to have a deep understanding of the issue’ Or take the I-know-it-all-and-hate-it-all gentleman from Shivaji Park, who very ungraciously aired his grievance on how news channels hire these ‘young college’ girls to do stories and that is why the content is going down the drains. WTF? Haven’t they heard that age (in this case perceived age) is just a number? Then there is also the problem of having to either shop at the kids’ section, skipping branded readymade stuff altogether or the hunt for the perfect alteration tailor.
But the kid look has its own advantages. People tend to act sweet around you because they don’t want to trouble the little child. Policemen that I meet on the field always are very sweet and polite, mostly out of disbelief that such a little thing is working all alone in Mumbai. Neighbours become your guardian angels when they see that the poor young thing is managing it all alone and is such a quiet and ‘mature’ child. And when some person is acting difficult on field, you can always make a cry baby face and say please sir, bite de do, mere boss varna bahut naaraz honge. Fleet drivers always offer to carry the tripod for you because main hoon na madam, aap thak jaoge. And one of the compliments I cherish the most, given by a man whom I consider to be my best teacher was, ‘Good things come in small packets.’ That should be enough to shut all you morons who crack jokes at the expense of my ‘littleness’.
So as April draws near, I am starting to feel the first signs of denial about aging. 27? Really am I getting that old? Nah, m just the little kid, aint I?