THE golden girls and I are at Narita a few years back when the young lady at the check-in counter asks the first few of us who check in, this seemingly impertinent question, “Ma-am, are any of you pregnant?”

The girls are taken back and do not know what to think. When the next set of girls checks in, they are asked the same question. When my turn comes, I feign shock and outrage, and exclaim, “What? How can you ask me such a question? Am I that fat?”

The poor lady at the airport counter apologizes to me profusely. “I am so sorry, Ma-am but we are instructed to ask this question as a matter of policy.”

Actually, I have never been asked this question at any airport in the world at any time in my life but as I am in a good mood, I give this lady the benefit of the doubt.

Truth to tell, I am amused rather than aggrieved by the question. In fact, I attempt to soothe the wounded egos of my fellow soon-to-be golden girls. We were one year shy of turning 50 then.

“Girls,” I tell them, “at our age, we should be flattered when we are profiled as “possibly pregnant women.” After all, that means we look young enough to be child-bearing rather than old enough to be senior citizen card-bearing. Who cares if we are asked this question because our bellies actually seem big enough to be carrying children?”

We laugh about it afterwards.

When we were young—the girls used to hate it when they were asked, “Are you pregnant?” and mainly because when they were asked this question, most times, they were not. One of them was especially horrified when she went to this party wearing this beautiful tent dress and was asked if she was pregnant. “I am never wearing this dress again!” she told me.

This week, I ask my manicurist for almost a decade why she isn’t wearing the new salon uniform. “I’m seven months pregnant, Ma-am,” she happily tells me.” “Oh,” I exclaim, “I thought you just put on some weight.”

Leaving the salon, I am in high spirits for some inane reason—though I choose to blame it on the caffeine I had just imbibed a few hours earlier. After seven months of almost 100% abstinence, save for a few instances of shameless cheating, I cave in—for good. I have no good excuse except that the sunrise was breathtaking. So now, my body goes a little crazy when I imbibe coffee.

Anyway, as I happily stroll in the mall, a lady who seemed to have a product to sell, walks up to me and says, “Ma-am, do you have a baby?”

My day suddenly gets 1,000% better. With my sweetest smile and my gentlest voice, I happily tell her, “No.”

At my age, if anyone actually thinks I am a shade young enough to have a baby, I’m going to take that as a huge compliment. I mean, who cares if she actually meant grand-baby? I choose to think that she thought I was still child-bearing. I choose to be happy.