Growing Old, Goan Style...

Humor, Goan Short Stories

A humor story by Gasper Crasto...26.10.2019

Mahatma Gandhi, John Lennon, Pablo Picasso, Bill Gates, Amitabh Bachchan, Imran Khan, Vladimir Putin, Diego Maradona, and Gasper Crasto are some of the famous people born in October,” I said to my wife.

This was just after my birthday.

“Hmmm..” she eyed me, “Look at yourself. If you electrocute your hair, and stick out your tongue - aaahhhhhh, you will look more famous than Albert Einstein.” 

“???...Hey, he was not born in October,” I defended. But she was not listening. 

For whatever reason, she was busy on her laptop -- going through some of our old photographs. Whatever possessed her to do that, I did not know nor did I ask. 

She called me over and we both looked at the pictures together.

“OMG, see the change in you; as weird as the climate change,” she giggled, “you have changed into an antique over the years…..” 

“Hey, those photos were new when they were taken,” I complained.

When we came to our wedding pictures, I was a bit shocked. I didn't know anybody could look that handsome. There we were, the bride -- and a ‘dashing’ groom. Me.

“Look how charming you were then..?” she said. 

It was good to hear what she thought of me. 


Her words were sunshine to my ears. 

“...And look at you now,” she stated looking at me up and down.

The way she said ‘look at you’, it looked like I was being invaded by ants and rats. 

Well, I never made much of an effort to look young. Because I never thought of myself as ‘old’. But, why would my wife lie to me. If she thought I had grown old, well, I must be old. 

But that hurt a bit – ‘old’. Huh. The word itself was frightening.

Then I consoled myself. When I was young, everything seemed so new and exciting and I looked forward to the next new adventure. Now that I had a few years under my belt, I noticed all the important things simply repeated themselves over and over again. 

“Every year on the very same day, I have a birthday,” I said aloud, “This is getting rather monotonous. I think a grown-up person should forget about having birthdays...and forget getting old, once you are old enough, you are old.” 

“Tu kehna kya chahte ho, exactly ....” she asked.

“I mean it is the same every year. Soon, we will have another wedding anniversary. Does that mean we are old?” I wanted to make a statement.

“Hmm...” she kept mum.

“Everybody will call to wish, ‘happy wedding anniversary’. How do you have a happy anniversary? More to the point, at my age how do I know I am happy?”

“Why, what’s wrong with you?”

“Here is one thing that bothers me about our anniversary,” I said, “when we were brand-new, people made all kinds of remarks about how cute and cuddly we were..” 

“Thank God for that, and thank me..!” she stated.

“Thank you?”

Thank her? 

She has been pretty mean, recently. Grilling the pork sausages and eating them alone for lunch, leaving no trace of their aroma when I get back home from work. But the Goan that I am, I can get the smell of cooked sausages from 100 kilometers away.

Also, she insists on going to Udupi restaurants all the time rather than to my favorite McDonalds or KFCs; she buys her favorite cakes, cookies, and chocolates, and eats them alone quietly or hides them, and I keep hunting the house.  

But of course, she is a big influence on my healthy eating. 

Every time we eat, there is so much green on my plate that I am not sure if I am eating grass or what! She calls it vegetable-bhaji; I have other names for that, which cannot be published. 

On the other hand, having wine or feni is only on vacations, and is outlawed at in-laws for I don’t know what reason.

“I have come to the conclusion that getting old is not something to be ashamed of in the least,” I said, “we reach a certain age simply because we have not died yet, which is nothing to feel guilty.”

“I wish I was 16 again,” she remarked displaying one of her college photos on the screen.

“Believe me, 16 was not a very good year for anybody,” I said, “I am glad I have got beyond my 16th birthday. As I remember it, it was a terrible year..” 


Later, rather than debate nonsense, I settled on the sofa to watch football, while she picked up her phone that was ringing and began yakking with one of her colleagues. 

I rarely pay attention to telephone conversations. After all, I only get to hear one side of the talk, which can be misleading at the very best. I've been caught in that trap before with some pretty dire consequences. 

“I am not going to get caught again,” I said to myself and settled to watch my favorite Manchester United play another horrible game. 

Then an odd phrase caught my attention: ‘Donation’. My ears primed up and I heard my wife say on the phone, “I certainly agree, yes I am going to lend my help...” 


Keeping my bank account balanced was almost like walking a tight-rope balancing act in a circus; everything was up in the air. 

I would love to see someone hack into my bank account and see how much money I didn't have. If anyone can get money out of my account, good luck to them, because I can never get money out of my account when I need it.

Top it all, she was planning to give donations? Well, you can imagine what ‘violent, choppy’ thoughts raced through my head. In my book, an unreasonable donation was a ‘reckless offence’. 

When she hung up the phone, I ‘tackled’ her straight away. She gave me a look with her fat eyes, which was more alarming than a warning siren.

There were ‘times’ to disagree with your wife, but as a husband of so many moons, I had never discovered that precise ‘time’. 

Forcing a smile, I nodded and told her she had my full support in whatever ‘donations’ she decided. Who was I to argue? 

I always went by the motto, ‘He who smiles and agrees with his wife lives to smile another day.’ Since my first anniversary, I had plans to smile until the day I died. 

“You are not only growing old, but you are also growing ripe..,” she said tapping her forehead.

“I don't think about how old I am, I am too busy with other important thoughts. Anyway, I am not quite as old as you think I am.”

“Oh really? You are getting old, and you are getting awfully forgetful,” she concluded.

Did I forget to bring something that she ordered me to bring from the co-op jamiya?” I wondered.

“What did I forget?” I asked boldly, “..Leave that, what is this donation thing you want to help? Tell me, tell me..”

“We were talking about the Blood Donation Camp, being organized at the weekend,” she said. “That tells me, you have an appointment for blood test.. Do I need to remind you of everything, sure you have grown old.” 


That appointment gave me a completely different view of how ‘old’ I really was. 

I had the appointment to have my regular blood work done. Every 6 months this doctor wanted a sample of my blood for who knows why. He seemed obsessed with my blood and tried to get it at every opportunity he could. 

I was there well before time. So I had to sit in the waiting room. 

Instead of wasting time reading the old magazines lying around, I took my phone and got caught up reading some WhatsApp messages.

“Hello oldie, hope you reached the clinic..,” it was a message from my wife.


I was about to reply her when all of a sudden, I heard a bang and the door flew open and in came an Arabic man walking with a walker. 

I will not say he was ‘old’, but youth was in his past as far back as you could possibly go. 

“Wheres the doctor? I want to see him now,” the man said to the Filipino receptionist, in fluent English.

I think all of us in the room were praying that the doctor would take him in right away as we could see the man gasping for breath and made choking sounds every step, and grunted like a bear. 

He walked with heavy steps as if his legs were made of cement. 

Thankfully, our prayers were answered. He was escorted in and you could hear a deep sigh of relief in that room. I don’t think I would have wanted to be his doctor that day, at least. 


I was finally settling down and back to my mobile when the door opened again. In walked an even older gentleman - in a suit, an Indian guy, and I use the word ‘gentleman’ very carefully, with a cane; although he looked more of an owl with his piercing looks.

He dragged himself up to the desk and the Filipino girl politely asked who he was. 

Looking at her with his bushy-browed eyes that would have scared a tiger he said, “Who do you think I am?” 

That is not all he said, but some words in Hindi which I would not want to repeat even in the dark. 

Obviously, he was old enough to know all the expletives in different languages. He mentioned some words that I had never heard before and I am quite sure they won’t have any description in google-translate or the English dictionary. 

He told his name and then hobbled over to take a seat, and then glanced at me and said in Tapori Hindi, “tum kya dekh rahe ho?” (What are you staring at?) 

Believe me, I was tempted to tell him in my Konkani what exactly I was looking at, and where he should go next, “Tum gelo %$%^..”. Then I noticed the cane in his right hand and decided to look the other way for fear of being smacked. 

Until the nurse came to take him in to see the doc, he was muttering under his breath and I never wanted to hear what he muttered. 

The misery on his face gave me pause to contemplate a little bit though. 

Casually, I looked around the room and saw most of the people were old. Nobody smiled or laughed or looked very happy; everybody seemed distressed. When they walked up to go in, they staggered and limped. 

Looking around very carefully I noticed one stunning fact. That fact was, I was not as oldie as my wife thought I was. I was around people that were really old. Compared to them, I was a ‘babe in swaddling clothes’. 

I was overwhelmed by my own feelings.

I immediately typed on the phone to message the source of my energy - the ‘rose’ in my life that never grew old - atleast for me.

I wrote, “We can't be young again but we can enjoy what God has put in front of us today...”

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