He must be on the wrong side of forty

The job has taken a toll on him. After all, he’s been in the saddle for more than 20 years

April 24, 2023 08:30 am | Updated 08:30 am IST

“Wow! You’re sweating like crazy! Coming from the club?”

“That’s right! Played a couple of sets of tennis with Mr. Dinakar, and boy did he make me run.”

“It’s amazing how well he plays considering he’s on the wrong side of 60.”

“Wrong side of 60? What are you talking about?”

“The informal expression ‘wrong side of’ is usually used with someone’s age. If you say that someone is on the wrong side of 60, you mean that the person is older than sixty. At least, the individual looks older.”

“How much older?”

“You’re are not really sure about it. You don’t know the person’s exact age.”

“The only thing you know is that the person is older than 60.”

“Exactly! Here’s another example. My uncle has slowed down considerably. Understandable I guess, considering that he’s on the wrong side of 70.”

“My father is on the wrong side of 60. But he keeps himself fit by walking at least three kilometres every morning.”

“That’s a good example. Today’s kids don’t want to walk anywhere.”

“Given the traffic, can you really blame them? You talked about the wrong side of 60, does the expression ‘right side of 60’ exist?”

“It certainly does! When you say that someone is on the right side of 60, what you’re suggesting is that the person is not 60 yet.”

“In other words, he’s less than 60. But you don’t know how much younger.”

“Exactly! If you want to improve your game, you should play tennis with Janani. Like you, she’s on the right side of thirty.”

“But she dresses as if she were on the wrong side of 50!”

“There are some people who are in the wrong side of 60 who dress as if they were on the right side of 30.”

“That’s true! Anyway, after the game, Mr. Dinakar and I had a brief chat about work. He seems to be a very knowledgeable person.”

That he is! He is the CEO of some well-known pharmaceutical company. He’s been in the saddle for well over ten years.”

“Been in the saddle? What are you talking about? Isn’t a saddle something you put on a horse before riding it?

“That’s right! The expression ‘in the saddle’ means ‘to be in charge’. Any person who is in the saddle is the decision maker.”

“I see. In other words, he’s in total control of the organisation.”

“I guess you could say that. Here’s an example. After ten years in the saddle as Finance Officer, Sharada is retiring.”

“The Chief Minister has had several setbacks. I don’t think he’ll be in the saddle for long.”

“Well, he believes there’s nothing to worry about — that he’s firmly in the saddle.”

“For the first time, the company my father works for has a woman in the saddle.”

“That’s good! By the way, did you buy a new saddle for your motorcycle?”

“Why would I put a saddle on my motorcycle? Don’t you…”

“The seat of a motorcycle can be called ‘saddle’. Joshi is looking for a saddle that is well cushioned.”

“The saddle on my father’s old cycle needs to be replaced.”

“Good luck with that!”


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