I have always been confused about how the system of the age of a person works with respect to his or her birthday. So lets say if you were born on 1st March 1980; what would you say your age is right now: 26 or 27? After several bouts of finding myself suddenly ineligible for Air Force exams or NDA admissions, or at times suddenly discovering that after romantic incidents I could be disqualified for being overage by just six months, I decided to settle for the higher of the two values whenever I had to tell my age to somebody. Advantage of being a guy: you don't need to fudge figures to prove that you still are in the 'desirable' age range ;)
So I had always stuck to this convention of using the ceiling value whenever someone asked. Yet it also entailed a feeling of the biological clock ticking more rapidly than I would like it to -- one fine morning when I was going over something I suddenly realised that by my convention I am 26 already!! So when surveys came out that about 54% of the population of India was at most 25 years of age (and the great potential this had for the country, etc), I got the feeling that I must be on the other side of that golden line of 25 years. I had accepted it, just like I accepted random things that I sometimes thought I was missing out in life because of lack of chance and/or motivation to do them --- snow-skiing, flying jet fighter planes, being a complete geek, being Cassanova, etc. Yeah you don't need to pull my leg over these: I try to live through these lives mentally without thinking of the right or wrong of them: pure fun and fantasy, that is.
So let me switch gears here a bit. After I came here and as a student employee of the university, there were a lot of forms that I needed to fill up. As is true for many other places, I had to fill in details about by date of birth, home address, and a lot of other details. We went to this orientation session where we were told about various compliance stuff that we needed to do or view courses online in order to complete. Towards the end, the presenter remarked that everybody who is still at or below 25 needs to complete a special registration and form, etc as well. Apparently Uncle Sam believes that the wild streak in a person's nature is magically turned off after you cross the golden line ;) I mentally made a note that obviously they hadn't thought about me when they were making that rule: I don't think my kiddish pranks and ideas will ever stop being with me. So, anyway, I did not bother about the compliance training stuff too much as I was already 26: I finished most of the other training programs and busied myself with my work.
Imagine my surprise when I received an urgent email from the graduate secretary of the department asking me to complete the 25-and-under compliance training/registration, because the deadline was within a day! I went and talked to her, and she told me that since I wasn't 26 yet, I was still 25 and therefore had to fill the forms. I'd say that that was nothing short of an epiphany for me: it was like, "Whoa, I'm still young!!". I don't mean to say that 26 is old, but the fact that I had realised that I was 26 suddenly one day without mentally living through the 25th year of my life was sort of depressing, especially given the existence of this golden line. So all those times when a close friend told me that I had lost the teenage time of chasing girls by being in all-boys hostels, or the fact that someone tried to convince me that I had lost out a lot of college life by not boozing/ doing drugs etc --- I suddenly felt proud and vindicated! It was like when the datelines change and you suddenly have an extra hour to sleep one day!
And it is a funny feeling, really, because I know that I will turn 26 one day, but I will not regret turning 26 then --- I'd rather be happy to have experienced the world another year. It is the feeling of being young, of knowing the blood rushing through your veins and feeling good and feeling confident. I still am on the greener side of 25, folks, I still count! :)