Author: Shilpa Deshpande
The worst fear we possess is the fear of ageing. The very thought of becoming old clouds our mind with thoughts of helplessness, dejection and ailments. Many people turn sour as they start ageing or as they start realizing that the youthfulness is gradually fading. They develop a negative attitude towards their birthdays thinking they have lost another year of their life and they just don’t bother about their health, their appearance and tend to develop a negative approach of looking at life. And when it comes to women, we find them inclined only towards the happiness of their loved ones. Our society has decided certain patterns or rather stereotypes for women to follow especially after marriage. Even in an age of gender equality we find a married woman too much engaged with the family chores to leave her with any time for herself. Technology has indeed enabled us to reach out far and wide to get in touch with distant friends, but actually being able to spend happy moments with close friends seems difficult. But, I was pleasantly surprised when I came across a group of eleven youthful women aged between 54 and 75 years who actually celebrate life. They call themselves ‘Bindhaast’ which means fearless. Fearless indeed! These grand ladies from Aurangabad (Maharashtra) fearlessly enjoy every moment of their life. They are passionate about living and celebrating their life.
Sadly, eight of these eleven ladies lost their soul mates along the journey of life which becomes arduous with age. Madhuri Sapkal and Malini Latad lost their partners at a very young age. Though Madhuri Sapkal is 75 today, she does not falter in her duties. She was a nurse at the initial stages of her her and gradually went on to become the head nurse. She wears a warm and sweet smile that tells us ‘don’t let life’s cruelties embitter the goodness of your heart’. Malini Latad has been taking care of her family since the age of 48. She shouldered the responsibility of raising three children and soundly establishing them.
These women needed like-minded company to help them cope with loneliness and boredom. They started seeking membership of different groups and forums and attending various programs. They formed their group after one such excursion which gave them the chance to understand each others’ interests, hobbies and other activities. They realized that they could bind themselves into a group.
After the group was formed, these friends travelled to Konkan, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Kerala, Himachal Pradesh, Kulu Manali, Jammu Kashmir, Leh Ladakh, Amarnath, Kargil, Wagha Border, Amritsar, Vaishno Devi, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Meghalay, Darjeeling and Andaman and Nicobar. They have travelled internationally as well. They have visited Malaysia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Dubai and Mauritius.
Besides touring, this group of enthusiastic women also celebrate the birthdays of their friends and take efforts to make the birthday ‘girl’ feel special. They also stage plays and perform for other women’s clubs and groups. They are happy with themselves and their new found way of life. Their first priority is of course their family, but their happiness is the ultimate priority of their children. It’s a wonderful bond of Love, Affection and Friendship.
These fearless women have a great message for the society, especially for those who have crossed their sixties. They are encouraging their contemporaries to stop sulking and complaining about the cruelties of life and start enjoying the new phase of their life. The way of their life is a clear message: It’s MY Life!