April 5, 2011

INDIA: "Age brings a pristine clarity of who we really are"

MUMBAI / HarmonyIndia / People / April 5, 2011

Women on top
Should age be a reason to let go of your dreams? Should grey be an excuse to bleach all colour from your life? Should menopause mean the end of a biological process, or the revival of your long-cherished goals? Though the passing years take away our youth and pulchritude, they also enrich us with things far more valuable—a deeper appreciation of life, an indomitable spirit that has emerged greater through many crises, and a pristine clarity of who we really are.

Harmony's silvers - sparkling lives, success stories, accounts of endurance, courage, grit and passion. Its latest edition spotlights women achievers who are a testament that age can only bring out the best in us.

MY WAY: Every woman is happiest when she looks back and sees a life she chose for herself, says Maya Jayapal...."My father wanted me to become a doctor....However, I cut open an earthworm in my first zoology class and promptly fainted. That put paid to my father's dreams for me!....."
...."My love of language and my teaching experiences merged seamlessly into a desire to counsel. Words are powerful, almost magical. They have the power to soothe, describe, heal, to move and influence."

Today, Maya Jayapal, 69, is a Bengaluru-based counsellor and writer. Read more about Maya Jayapal.

Age brings a lovely burnished strength to every woman, says Vrinda Nabar. Does ageing empower women? Or do women simply draw on accumulated inner reserves as they grow older?

 "I increasingly have reservations about words like ageing....
I know I'm not the person I was even five years ago, but I won't pretend to be that person either. I'd like to move on, seizing each day as it comes, and letting go of what I cannot hold on to. The years may not necessarily have brought me greater wisdom, but they've given me a good enough ringside view of life's commonplace drama."

..."our older myths of the fearsome goddesses in their multiple avatars are valuable repositories of a primal acceptance of and surrender to the essential agency of women...."More and more women are rediscovering this agency."  "...older women need no cosmetic aids to find their own empowerment."

Vrinda Nabar, 62, is a Mumbai-based feminist writer. Read more about her in the Harmony feature

"My poetry is wiser, richer and deeper today only because of the wisdom that the years have imbued in me," says LAKSHMI FENN, 83, poet.

Three years ago Lakhmi Fenn attended a poetry reading of DelhiPoetree, a poetry forum in the capital, and felt encouraged to share her verse with the world. In 2009, Fenn's poems made it to Here and Now, an anthology of poems published by DelhiPoetree. Fenn finds inspiration in the 'small wonders of each day'. "Even the bird that flutters in my balcony leaves a poem behind for me when she flies away," 

Here's a link to the Harmony story about Lakshmi Fenn of Gurgaon

HOMAI VYARAWALLA, 97,  is India's first woman press photographer. Her lens has captured the greatest highs and lows of pre and post-Independence Indian history.

Till recently, she was her own plumber, driver, electrician and cook. Today Homai Vyarawalla leads a quiet, independent life in Vadodara.

Now she tends to her lush terrace garden and sometimes even makes a shy appearance at lectures and exhibitions held in her honour.

Harmony For Silvers has featured Homai Vyarawalla in its latest edition

Two years ago, on her winter visit to her daughter in Mumbai, URMILA VAIDYA of Pune, now 85, decided to learn the flute from accomplished flautist Vivek Sonar. 

Two months ago, Vaidya delivered her first performance at the Bansuri Utsav (Flute Festival) in Mumbai.
She plays the flute three to four hours every day on her terrace. It can be demanding on one's lungs—does she feel tired?

"I am preparing to perform in public again," Urmila Vaidya told
Harmony For Silvers recently.

Contact: Harmony Magazine

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