For them;with them

Writing self-notes is far more engaging than those reports we do for institutional mandate“.

It was during my year-long placement at YWCA that I was exposed to a work environment where I had to work for people by directly engaging with them. The nature of work I wished to do with them was also largely at my discretion. I eventually chose to work with the old aged community of women in a slum allotted to me for my field work.

The journey started and based on the targets for their development, I hovered around for ideas . In one such moment, I felt that it is necessary that senior citizens should learn how to be fit and positive about life. I myself having a trained yet not certified yoga experience, thought of introducing the old aged women to the domain of yoga and meditation.

The process of mobilizing such number for women call over for a group yoga session took quite sometime. I did able to gather around a dozen of senior citizen ladies and held one introductory yoga session. This was followed by a series of regular yoga meet. Initially, I assumed I was doing that for the requirement of my institutional records. However, during the semester, this meeting with the ladies and instilling varieties to the yoga with things such as music in the background, few children coming over and voluntarily dancing to Bollywood songs and even the senior citizen dancing to popular marathi songs.

The ladies showed up their interests in painting, roaming around in places around Mumbai(without any company from family), singing, etc.

Once, one of the yoga members was sitting aloof. I went to see what she was doing. She made me sit and soon we were joined by another member. They told they recall of a close friend of theirs who died last year. They then began discussing life and it’s twists and turns which come to us so uninvited and sudden. Such frequent yoga meets with a score of mobilized ladies, gave me insights to several dimensions of life and thoughts on living. Our bond strengthened and we happened to exchange more of our stories with relation to friends, family, love, work, hobbies, lifestyle and also on backbiting about others. Many women also claimed that they have gained flexibility with systematic and regular practice of yoga over the months. Seeing this change, gave me a sense of fulfillment along with a pain of having to bid them goodbye as my last field work days were on the roll…

I was always scared of discussing about the termination point of my meetings with them..But the truth had to be told. I braced up my guts and told them that we will be just meeting a couple or more times. Sometimes, even the best of relationships are gaped with the knowledge of a termination point. This case wasn’t different even. The women told me not to leave but stay and teach them yoga and make them fit. We made a sea of memories together and these things, as I feel aren’t just general of when we feel pain for getting separated with the one we are fond of, but also because of the constant thought of if I really met up to my expectations from my approach.

The year- long journey ended with warm discussions on life and their good health in particular. As I think of them, I feel that the old age is as beautiful as any other age. They deserve to be loved and respected. Life often cheats us all with its deceiving tricks such as death, misery, health issues, long-term stressful environments, strain within family, relationships, work, etc. The above is not a subject to any particular age group but for just anybody and with complete uncertainty.

Age is just a number…..

We keep hearing ‘be young and beautiful. The constant in-ear to such things make us believe in it and we internalise it as a fact. What we actually fail to see is that a family is actually an interesting world because of the senior citizen members that we have. We forget to realise that these people tend to stay happily and believe in living life in abundance despite knowing the uncertainty of life. However, these communities are still neglected and their requirements are hardly taken care of. They are considered rather as ‘fading reality than blooming smiles‘.

It is imperative to understand that they are made an integral part of our families and communities across societies. Their voice and opinion should be heard and ought to be understood if not mattered to the least.

I am indebted to this bliss of my experience with these power ladies. If just with the process of a couple of hours meet every week for a matter of few months, they made me so positive and confident about life and action, I wonder how much abundance of peace would their family would not be having.

For life is a challenge,

We all keep thriving.

No ages nor riches,

For a good life with meaning’.

Respect the boundaries..Cherish old-age hood…

A writer, local guide, fitness freak, environmental enthusiast, a social worker....
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