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Army Chief and his birthday saga
In India, we seldom care about age when making friends or entering into relationships. However, controversy surrounding Army Chief General V K Singh's date of birth should make us wiser and careful.

THE FIRST time I seriously looked at the issue of age was when I learned that a colleague of mine had married a girl older than him. It was shocking because I had always considered that a bride should be younger than the bridegroom. Next, the question of age bothered me when a child called me uncle. That day I thoroughly studied my face in the mirror and concluded that I was still young, the child had made a mistake.

My next memory in connection with someone’s age is even more interesting. We were in a debate and this lady was speaking against the motion, I in favor. I was announced the winner. At the get-together that followed, I tried to behave very politely with her, addressing her as madam all the time, lest she felt offended. I was surprised, when she admonished me for addressing her as madam and wanted me to address her by her name. How touchy ladies are about their age!

It reminds me how my sister always quarreled with my father for having registered her wrong date of birth. My father had given some arbitrary dates as our dates of birth at the time of our admission in school. As a result, while the actual difference in our ages was of two years, officially, it became only six months.  My sister still gets upset whenever this issue comes up.

When I wanted to apply against a senior position in the government, the date of birth on my matric certificate came handy. I was within the prescribed upper age limit by a couple of days. When I emerged successful in the interview and was appointed for the post, I wondered how it would have made any difference to the government if I was older by one year; I would still have possessed the same capabilities for which it appointed me.

When I sit down and look within, all the idea of my age is lost. It appears if I was eternally present and would remain present till eternity. It is only my outer shell that has an age. But this shell is not responsible for whatever I do. How can anyone take the age of my outer shell as my age? Such wandering of thoughts however will not impress a government. It will have to function according to its rules. If I were older even by a day, I would not have been considered, my capabilities notwithstanding.

But I feel sorry for Army Chief General V K Singh in whose case even the date of birth recorded in his matriculation certificate is not acceptable to the government. Why did he mention a different year of birth in his application when applying for the army job? Did anyone realize, a mention of a date of birth would shake the whole nation? Does it make you wonder and find out what your age is?

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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