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Middle age blues? No

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NO CURTAIN CALL Suhasini Maniratnam: `I am still acting and am best friends with the younger actors' PHOTO: K. ANANTHAN
NO CURTAIN CALL Suhasini Maniratnam: `I am still acting and am best friends with the younger actors' PHOTO: K. ANANTHAN

I am happier now than I was at 20, says Suhasini Maniratnam

When does life for an Indian woman begin? "At 40!" says actor-director Suhasini Maniratnam.But, society will like all to believe that when they have an expanding waistline and a receding hairline, it is time to calls it quits. "Middle age in the U.K. is above 50. In the U.S., 60 is young. But in India, middle age starts the day after you get married. Because that is where your age first shows - in your middle. That is when a narrow waist and broad mind begin to trade places."Talking about how to live middle age to the fullest, Suhasini, looking a million bucks at 44, rues that Indian women like to wear simplicity on their sleeves, but not in their mind. "We are worried about being called names by others. But actually, after 40, you don't have to care a damn for what others feel."Just a few changes in life can make you happier than you ever were. "I am happier than I was at 20. The world is more beautiful, more friendly... I enjoy that."Talking about the brighter side of a woman turning 40 from a man's point of view, she says: "Women over 40 are dignified, they don't scream. They are generous with praise. They are forthright and honest.""There are advantages too," she continues, in a lighter vein, "For one, you won't appeal to kidnappers. And, when they do abduct you, you are the first to be released." More important, your secrets are very safe with your friends, they can't remember them. She advised 40-somethings: "Exercise is important. Take time out for it. How many TV serials can you not miss? Exercising the mind and body is better than going in for an expensive liposuction. Try yoga. Only exercise can sort out all the aches that announce the onset of 40. Fulfil your emotional needs by reading poetry, solving puzzles, Sudoku, learning a new language or taking up social causes."After 40, the meaning of happiness changes. It does not come from just feeling good. Making someone else happy matters too. Aiding this effort could be a personal journal. "Write anything in it. You will learn more about yourself. You can also maintain a dream journal. Write down all the dreams that you had first thing in the morning."Friendship can also be a good solution to tackle the boredom that sets in after 40. Be interesting to younger people. "I am still acting and am best friends with the younger actors. They message me every morning and night, forgetting even their boyfriends," she quips. A cardinal rule is to never be jealous of younger people's success. SUBHA J. RAO

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