Ageing with a purpose

Life need not necessarily end like a deflated balloon. Perhaps these are merely concepts promoted to sell pension plans.
Ageing with a purpose

Run the race in your prime years. Count the trophies in your twilight. Today we run multiple marathons while young, goaded by the aspirations thrown at us at regular intervals. Finally, as we near 60 and prepare to hang up our boots, retirement schemes start beckoning us from billboards and screens.

We gradually conjure up a vision of easy chairs and long walks, perhaps with a grandchild in tow. We come to terms with the fact that it’s time to slow down and start focusing on the daily crossword or sudoku. From then on, it’s a slow winding down of our system until, one fine day, we shut down forever.

Life need not necessarily end like a deflated balloon. Perhaps these are merely concepts promoted to sell pension plans.

As we celebrated the birth anniversary of Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore on May 7, how many of us knew that he started painting after he turned 60? If you imagine him waking up one morning, putting down his pen, picking up a brush, and painting like he was suddenly possessed of a new vigour, then it only means you’ve seen too many Bollywood movies lately.

In the real world, that is not how things work. He started off by working on the words he had crossed out while writing, turning them into shapes by filling them up with his imaginative doodling. They all resembled hitherto unknown animals and he referred to them as those that could not evolve into their natural form.

The doodles soon moved onto canvases, singing songs of nature in visual form, with his childhood hours spent looking out of his window turning into his inspiration. His landscapes caught the shimmering glory of daybreak, as he was a habitual early riser.

His paintings of humans had all the drama of literature weaved into its folds. A late start did not imply a slow journey. He created more than 2000 paintings once his artistic journey began, remaining uninfluenced by artworld trends till the end.

If you think 60 is old, then here’s another journey.

Anna Mary Robertson Moses or Grandma Moses as she was fondly called, began painting at the age of 78! She went on to become so successful that Time magazine featured her on the cover in 1953.

Art perhaps, always dwelled within her, but long hours as a housekeeper from the age of 12 and toiling on the farm with her husband after her marriage, kept her from her passion for most part of her lifetime. Once she started painting, there was no stopping her. She created almost 1,500 paintings until her death at the age of 101.

Inspiring stories such as these abound in all fields other than art too.

For all of you who think that the sun has set down and your unfulfilled passions will eventually be buried along with you, know that there are many in this world who rose when their sun set. The years in hand may have been fewer but nevertheless, it did not dim the brilliance of their achievements. After all, age is just a number for the fiercely determined!

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The New Indian Express