Sunday, March 1, 2009

LIFE BEGINS AT SIXTY?

My Maa (mother), all of sixty-three, and her merry gang of gal-pals (two sisters and a cousin, with some friends thrown in) never cease to amaze me. She ushered in the new year at my place, staying till February (She usually visits me twice a year). Then she was off to my Maasi’s (aunt) home in Bhopal.

There, the two sisters are living it up (she called me up to say she’s just watched the newly released Delhi-6). They cook for each other, play games on the computer, and, of course, watch endless hours of television.

They also enjoy shopping together, anything from vegetables to tablecloths to clothes for their combined brood of grandchildren. The only sign betraying their age is the fact that they often forget to take their cellphones along; the other day my brother called me saying that he had been calling Maa for over three hours and nobody picked up the phone. She had been engrossed in Delhi-6; he was about to call in the cops.

Soon, the giggly gang will be joined by an octogenarian grandfather (my mother’s unmarried and still-adventurous uncle). Then, they plan to go by train to Allahabad, Simla and Gaya (religious and tourist hot-spots where the said grandfather is a trustee with various institutions which will provide free and safe accommodation).

Next on the agenda is, of course, Kolkata, where the heart is, if not the body. Kolkata does not just mean HOME. It means a whirlwind tour of different homes of cousins and friends and relations. Maa and the aforesaid gang are maximizing returns by packing in a week-long trip to the crowded coasts of Puri.

And that’s not all. From the sea-side, it will be straight to the hospital bed-site for Maa, as she intends to fit in a cataract operation (her own) in her busy schedule. My uncle in Kolkata, who is an ophthalmologist, will do the honours. And then, within a fortnight, Maa will be back in Bangalore, which is her ostensible residence (but she is a Non-Resident Bangalorean, my brother complains).

But this footloose and fancy-free lifestyle is only part of the story. All the members of the gang have sons and daughters, whose homes they dutifully stay in and look after the grandchildren as and when the need arises (they cook, feed, tell stories, knit fluffy cardigans and give great advice). Most of the members of the gang fight various chronic and recurrent illnesses (they carry medicines instead of make-up in their handbags). All of them have to plan carefully to arrange for their finances for the tour-India trips (they are willing to forego planes for trains, AC-rooms for non-AC dormitories).

But all of them have one more thing in common – despite the diseases, despite the familial obligations, despite the financial restraints, they want to enjoy life. To the fullest, to the farthest. Kudos to that.

17 comments:

Mystic Margarita said...

It's great that your mom does not allow age get in the way of enjoying life. Wish my mom was more like her. Since she retired from her job, she's become very reclusive.

Sucharita Sarkar said...

MM,
So sorry to hear that, I do wish that all moms would blossom anew at sixty-plus. Do give her my heartiest encouragement.

ugich konitari said...

I wish your Mom a wonderful time on these trips, and a safe and successful cataract surgery. Folks like her know how to enjoy the simple things in life, and are able to interact so well with so many people of different ages etc.

My late mother, then 74, once went on an organized Andaman Trip along with 25 other ladies, from the Pune Womens Council members. They had a great time seeing all the places, helping the "older"ladies with medications and insulin injections, and she regaled us all about, how, as the "youngest", she volunteered to go up and down stairs at night to get water to drink for several ladies....:-)

Mothers are amazing, aren't they ?

ikolkata said...

While you have no control on your biological age, you can control the age of your mind. Do not let it grow up! Enjoy!

Happy! Happy! Happy!

Lazyani said...

Sucharita,

My parents (75 and 69 resp.) do the same. Shuffling between Jamshedpur and Kolkata regularly , they keep regular contact with all and sundry even today.

Guess I am lucky:))))

How do we know said...

three cheers to them and to their geenration! As i grow older, i miss the sheer joy of living in our current generation. They are forever whining whining whining instead of counting their blessings.

Ranu said...

your ma and her gang are truly amazing !!!! I wish I could get the seniors in my family to do just that!!!

I have to buy air tickets and threaten to tear them off to get ma and pa to pack their bags to go somewhere.

As to coming to my place, that is a herculean task with hubs taking the role of annaconda and me becoming the overnite godzilla and then packing them into the car and bringing them 130 kms from their beloved home away from their beloved plants to disgusting godzilla's house.

SGD said...

Wonderful!!!
I just love it when people dont let chronological age , actually age them!!!
Hat's off to your Mom & her gang of 'girls & boys' to LIVE life !!

Roshni Mitra Chintalapati said...

That good to hear. I have 2 didus (my own didus two sisters) who are 72 and 75 years old. They travel extensively throughout the year, going to different places in India, go to the movies, shopping etc just like your gang.. and they also still travel by public bus in Kolkata.. which is a feat by itself!

Sucharita Sarkar said...

Hi Suranga,

That was some interesting trip. If I tell my mom, she'll be off to the Andamans next.

Hi Lazyani,

If the children are away, the parents are forced to be active, and they love it in the end, don't they?

Hi ikolkata,

Thanks for visiting and for the good wishes.

Hi How do we know,

Thanks for visiting and you are right, the current gen-X has a lot to learn from the oldies.

Hi Ranu,

I sympathise with your plight as my in-laws are somewhat home-bound like that.

Hi SGD,

Age and spirit are not inversely related, no?

Hi Roshni,

Hats off to your didus, too!

The Scatterbrain said...

wow! I want to meet your mom!

naperville mom said...

Very visual! I can see your mom and her gang quite vividly, enjoying their lives! And I wish her a safe surgery...

Just peeked in to let u know that u've been linked up for the "Holding hands" series

jyotsana said...

hi sucharita, first of all so nice to see your picture....now i have a face to the voice who speaks so charmingly to us....

jyotsana said...

hey but why is the pic tilted? any creative purpose behind that?

Pradip Biswas said...

Thats how the life continues pre and post sixty. Possibly this is a new meander and everybody enjoys it. Give your mom my heartiest encouragenments. i am very soon to follw that rotating my strike From Barrackpore-Bombay-Bangalore-Hrishikesh-Gopalpore-Barackpore. Barrackpore has a good eye hospital known as Disha which your MoM must be knowing.

Sucharita Sarkar said...

Hi Scatterbrain, naperville mom, pradip,

Thanks for writing in. I only hopw that we can be as frolicksome at sixtyplus as maa and the gang.

Hi Jyotsana,

The photo was tilted becoz I am technically-challenged. will try to correct ASAP.

eve's lungs said...

What an infectious love for life . Your post conveyed that lust for living and whooping it up. At this stage , after having carried out their responsibilities they are entitled to a lot of whooping it up. She's also lucky to have what we Indians term"like minded" siblings !