BENGALURU: Age played no role when they went biking all over India, scaled the deadly Annapurna peak, went deep sea diving in Australia or swayed to Salsa music. One such senior citizen, Rajesh Hinduja, a 60-year-old, has been taking on seven to 10km trails for the last 20 years, every week.
“A group of us started trekking or running on what used to be the outskirts of the city, such as Sarjapur and Whitefield. The one who takes a short cut or takes a smoke breaks would have to sit on a block of ice for their “sins”, or gulp down a beer,” Hinduja says, adding that their tradition continues till date. On a more serious note, he regularly runs full (42.2 kms) and half (21.1 kms) marathons.
Adventure in their veins
Fivety two-year-old Nandini Mehta has always been drawn to adventure, ever since she was a student. “I have been into mountaineering for the last 30 years. I did a basic mountaineering course at the Himalayan Institute of Mountaineering when I was young. I have climbed the Koteshwar peak, Mt Everest base and more,” Mehta recounts.
58 year old Shashi Warrier has been riding bikes since he was three years short of becoming eligible for a license. “In 2014, I took an all India solo bike trip covering 11,000 kms, within 40 days,” he shares. Was it tiring? “No, you just have to sit in one place and be alert. Once I wear the helmet and the visor comes down, I am in a different world. I sing songs to myself, have imaginary conversations with myself,” the biker says.
Speaking to City Express while in Cambodia for the second time with her Silvers group, Dipti says, “We have done local treks in Karnataka, hiked up a hill in Masinagudi, trekked up Tatksang Monastery in Bhutan, gone for a road trip to Goa and Sri Lanka, Silver Surfers Veena (75) and Mangala (72) particularly enjoyed deep sea diving in Australia and surfing in New Zealand. They say, “Age definitely has an effect on the body, but not on the mind. The mind challenges the body to keep going. What keeps the mind going? The concept of being unafraid of uncertainties, being judged and the realisation that you live only once.”
Difference in activities
“I can’t carry a 15 kg backpack for hikes because of age. I just have to smart about it. Earlier, I used to take 20-minute breaks every 120 kms. Now I take 30 minute breaks ever 90 kms. I eat lesser so I feel less sleepy, as I have the lesser stamina to fight off fatigue,” shares Shashi Warrier. His advice is that everyone has their own rhythm of doing things, and one just has to find their pace.
Nandini Mehta is confident that having fun has less to do with age and more to do with fitness and love for adventure.
Something common among all their routines is exercise, mainly yoga. Rajesh Hinduja quit his business to become a full-time stand-up comedian, 4 years ago. “If you stop being fit due to career and responsibilities, then it will be a little difficult to get back to activities post 60. Then you end up reading philosophical books or the following god,” he says, chuckling.
“I think, today, seniors really do know how to live it up. Unfortunately, society as a whole hasn’t kept up with the change. They call themselves ‘Seenagers’ and believe whole-heartedly in the concept of ‘YOLO’,” Dipti points out.
Shaking a leg to Latin tunes
Dr Shantaram enjoys Latin music and subsequently took to various forms of Latin dances. He is currently learning in shAra, Salsa and Latin Dance Institute. “I used to work in New York. My South American colleagues would take us out to parties where I got introduced to Latin music and dance. I haven’t stopped dancing since. It was not popular earlier in Bengaluru, but when I came back to work in my own clinic, I started going for proper classes. I know a lot of basics. My favourite kind of Latin dance is La Bamba,” says the 79-year-old doctor, who says he is 25+ if people ever ask. “I am no professional, and can’t devote as much time to the dance due to my age. But when the Latin music starts playing, I can’t resist moving to it,” he adds