As we grow older, our looks begin to change in various ways. For 41-year-old mother Shimmi Munshi though, she claims that she hasn’t aged in more than 20 years. However, as a result of that, the people around her often confuse her 20-year-old son for her boyfriend.
A resident of Bolton, England, Shimmi was 20 when she gave birth to her son Ameen, raising him as a single mother. Although that particular job brings with it many stresses and strains, she also faced another tough challenge in the form of a debilitating medical condition.
Indeed, Shimmi suffers from a chronic ailment called gastroparesis, which means her stomach doesn’t empty itself like it should. As a result of that, food passes through her body much more slowly, causing several potential issues. The symptoms can include vomiting, weight loss, abdominal pain, heartburn, bloating and feeling nauseous.
Unfortunately for Shimmi, the condition causes her to vomit many times each day. With that in mind, she’s made various trips to the hospital in the past decade in an effort to manage the disease. While gastroparesis doesn’t have a cure, it can be managed by medication and a significant change in diet.
Despite that though, the 41-year-old has continued to live her life, with Ameen now reaching the age of 20. However, during his teenage years, an altogether different problem reared its head. According to Shimmi, she hasn’t aged since giving birth to her son more than two decades ago, meaning she still looks to be in her early 20s.
“I’ve always looked young,” Shimmi told the Metro newspaper in April 2018. “As my friends began ageing, I seemed to go in the opposite direction, but I’ve no idea why. I was a single mom, juggling work and motherhood, and anyone would think the stress might have started to show. Instead, I seemed to stop ageing.”
“I didn’t notice it particularly, but all my friends did,” Shimmi continued. “They were all moaning that I’d discovered the secret of eternal youth and they wanted me to share it.” However, as a result of that remarkable situation, the 41-year-old and her son have faced some extremely awkward moments together.
With the pair looking to be of a similar age, people assumed that Shimmi and Ameen were connected in a very different way. “When my son was younger, people we didn’t know presumed we were either brother and sister or a couple,” she told the Metro. “We were so close, because I had brought him up on my own, and so there was a special bond between us.”
“Anyone who met us would just naturally treat him like he was my boyfriend,” Shimmi continued. Incredibly, those assumptions seemed to follow them everywhere. “We went on holiday to Poland, and I had booked an excursion, and the tour guide wouldn’t believe that we were mom and son,” she recalled to Metro. “He kept insisting we were a couple, and Ameen was so embarrassed.”
However, it didn’t stop there, as people continued to guess the pair’s connection during various vacations and school functions. “Another time, in Turkey, the locals thought we were brother and sister,” Shimmi said. “At Ameen’s prom night, people thought we were a couple too. It’s very flattering and it made me giggle but it drove him mad.”
“Even at parents’ evening at high school, his teacher said to me: ‘We really would rather see Ameen’s mom,’” Shimmi added to Metro. “She thought I was his sister!” However, despite her youthful looks, the 41-year-old revealed that she’d had no plastic surgery, and didn’t have a particular secret for her appearance.
While that news came as a disappointment to the curious mom’s outside the school, Shimmi outlined her ongoing methods. “My beauty routine consisted of baby wipes and whatever moisturizer was on special offer in the supermarket!” she told the Metro. “I have never spent a lot of money on beauty products, though of course, I take care of myself; I drink green tea and I don’t smoke or drink booze.”
“I’m a member of the local gym, and I drink lots of water,” Shimmi continued. “But I am no fitness fanatic or beauty queen. In fact, I rarely look in the mirror. I don’t actually think about my looks much at all.” However, much like her son, the Bolton native has faced some fairly embarrassing situations herself when it comes to her appearance.
Indeed, by looking 20, Shimmi has encountered several problems that younger people can relate to. “I’ve been asked for ID buying alcohol so many times and sometimes they just refuse to serve me outright,” she told Metro. “It’s worth it though to see the look on the shop assistant’s face when I hand over my ID.”
Although the single mom doesn’t have a concrete explanation for her youthful appearance, she still largely credits her family’s genetics. According to Shimmi, her elderly parents Siraj and Nooie both look fantastic for their age, and she humorously suggests that she has them to thank.
Meanwhile, Ameen’s thoughts on the situation have changed with time. “As a teenager, he didn’t like all the attention,” Shimmi told the Metro. “He is now 20 and has got used to the constant comments about his mom’s looks. I think he’s finally accepted all the fuss.”
“[Ameen] still lives at home, and we are as close as ever, so it hasn’t affected our relationship at all,” Shimmi continued. “He’s training in IT and I’m very proud of him.” Despite that undoubted relief though, the 41-year-old still faces her own daily challenge in the form of her gastroparesis.
However, Shimmi refuses to let the condition get her down, regardless of how sick she is on any given day. “I might be feeling absolutely rubbish but somehow I still manage to look young,” she said to Metro. “I wish I had some special secret I could share – but the truth is, I’ve no idea how I do it.”
With that in mind, the Bolton native looked ahead to a possible future, teasing what she might look like a few decades from now. “I feel like the female version of Peter Pan – the girl who never grew up,” Shimmi added. “Hopefully, my good luck will last into old age and I will be still be looking 30 when I’m 80!”
As we grow older, our looks begin to change in various ways. However, Shimmi Munshi is a unique exception to that rule. Regardless of the awkward challenges that followed for both her and Ameen though, they’ve managed to maintain their relationship as mother and son.