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Life begins at 60

A gang of 30 ‘young’ girls believes in beating time at its own game. Manoj Sharma speaks to them.

india Updated: Sep 16, 2007, 19:26 IST
Manoj Sharma
Manoj Sharma
Hindustan Times

She threw away her wrist watch last year when she turned 60, because it reminded her of deadlines and delays in life and did not let her break free. Having got rid of the burden that comes with wearing a watch, today Lekha Mittal has all the time in the world for herself. And, like her friends in the photo alongside, most of who are in their 60s and 70s, she is beating time at its own game.

Mittal is part of a group of 30 ‘senior’ women who are living it up like a gaggle of teenagers: a tribe of senior citizens who feel it is never too late to enjoy life. “All my life I have lived for my family and children. Now that all my responsibilities are over, I want to enjoy life to the fullest. All of us in this group are the best of friends: we go to the movies together, party hard, dance and shop till we drop. Believe me, life begins at 60!”

This ‘gang of girls’ are familiar faces at the city’s cinemas, shopping complexes and restaurants. “We are having the time of our life. We call each other on the phone and leave home at the drop of a hat. Recently we went to watch Heyy Baby at PVR Spice Noida. We screamed, shouted and had lots of fun,” says Mittal with an impish grin.

Every one in this group shares the same philosophy: you are as young as you think you are. Take 70-year-old Saroj Sharma. Passionate, elegant and graceful is how her friends describe this ‘young’ lady. Talk to her and you know what they mean. “I continue to be a passionate Punjabi girl at heart. I make it a point to go for candlelight dinners with my husband at least twice a month,” says Sharma, who looks much younger than her years. She is fond of designer saris and matching jewellery and has not allowed diabetes and hypertension to dampen her zest for life. Veena Seth, 59, is another romantic. She is hooked on to mushy Erich Segal and Barbara Taylor Bradford books. “ Life becomes dull without romance and I believe in keeping love and romance alive in my life, no matter how old I am,” she says.

These women are fond of travel and possess a great spirit of adventure. Like 65-year-old Sarla Chand. Ask her about her adventures and she tells you excitedly, “I love paragliding. I did a lot of it last year in Goa. I want to go bungee jumping this year at any cost”.

Neena Jaggi, 52, is the young giggling ‘girl’ of the gang. It is her job to plan everything, keep the party going and make sure that chips are never down. “We have been together for the last seven years. What makes us tick and stick together is the fact that we share the same philosophy of life: life means to be lived to the fullest irrespective of one’s age,” says Jaggi, who looks a vibrant young lady in her sequinned yellow kurta. Her house in Noida plays host to many boisterous parties that see all of them dancing to the latest Bollywood tunes.

Their husbands, they say, have never tried to spoil the fun. They actually facilitate all their parties and picnics. Ask these women what irritates them most, and all of them blurt out in unison: “We hate being called aunties. This is totally unacceptable. You can call us madams but not aunties”. Point taken, dear Madams!

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