I stood in the long queue at Zurich Airport, when I noticed a nearby counter manned by an efficient looking official sans passengers.

Mercifully, I fought down the instinct to leave my fellow travelers and complete entry formalities through what looked like an idle immigration officer, when my gaze strayed to a sign in German, French and English saying ‘Senior Citizens’. As I watched, an elderly couple ambled up to the desk and were whisked through in no time.

It was during my visit to a famous store chain in Amsterdam that I joined a long checkout line, while the next lane leading up to another till machine remained empty. No one even attempted to cross the lines, simply because of a sign that said ‘Only Senior Citizens’.

During one of my visits to London, I went in search of my music teacher forty years after graduating from high school. I was finally guided to an address that turned out to be a state run old people’s home. Though I failed to find, what I was seeking, it was for the first time that I got a glimpse of how the elderly were treated in a welfare state.

My years of extensive travelling piled up experience after experience showcasing the concern and the privileges that civilised nations showered upon its senior citizens . Back home, I was rudely shoved into reality when I applied for a loan to complete a ‘roof over my head’.

I had the collateral, a job and the credentials, yet I was refused the loan on the basis that I was over sixty years of age. I was advised that if I wanted the funds I should find someone, who was young to act as a co-borrower. I was lucky that I have wonderful offspring, who came to my rescue.

On resigning from a corporate job, I immediately returned the transport given to me by my employers. I then went to a well-known gulf-owned bank to seek a car on lease. Again, I had spotless credentials and the record that as a young man I had leased a car from the same bank and paid off the debt gracefully. I went through the façade of smiles and drooling courtesy - all ending in a curt refusal because I had crossed the invisible barrier of being above sixty.

I visited the offices of the Capital Development Authority Islamabad a few days ago, to find out how I could obtain permission for an innovative addition to the Federal Capital’s attraction. While I was treated with respect and courtesy due perhaps to the silver in my hair, I walked away defeated. On reaching home, my life’s companion of more than four decades asked me if I had explored any privileges granted to senior citizen entrepreneurs. I looked amusedly at my better half and her faith in me and kept quiet. I perhaps, did not have the heart to tell her that there was no age based entrepreneurial privilege for people like us (unless we had oodles and oodles of money and connections) and that we were considered no better than useless junk.

With countless stories similar to mine piling up in my archives, I was beset with the notion that perhaps aging beyond sixty in the ‘Land of the Pure’ made one a liability to the state. It was in this frame of mind that I even began to say that it was time that Parliament passed a law forfeiting the right to exist in the case of anyone, who crossed this age line.

I would have given up on the land of my birth, had I and my wife not visited a well-known pathology lab for routine blood tests. As we settled into the waiting line, the angelic young woman behind the counter addressed us with a smile and the information that we were senior citizens and did not have to get into this queue. We were then guided to another counter and taken through the entire testing process with remarkable efficiency and courtesy, followed by the amazing news that we were entitled to a sizeable discount. As we emerged from this premises, I felt a kindling of hope that maybe – just maybe, all was not lost.