Flip through any daily newspaper and you will notice that Jaya Bachchan, the renowned Bollywood diva of the 80’s, gracefully embraces her age by flaunting those elegant greys. Exemplifying the fact that age is simply a number, she and her husband carry out their work commitments with the same vigor and passion that was present decades ago. Closer home, is a story to this effect too. As I watch my grandfather complement my grandmother at the kitchen by helping her conjure delicious delicacies out of thin air, I cannot help but draw a simple conclusion. Age is a barrier only if you let it be one. If you decide to smash this barrier down by igniting a feeling of passion and determination in yourself, absolutely nothing can stand in your way even when you hit the ripe age of 85, like my grandfather.
While Amitabh Bachchan explores his passion as a Bollywood artist till date, you could choose any canvas of your choice to explore the ocean that is art. If music and dance enticed you during your youth, why abandon it during your golden years of retirement? Many of us neglect our inner talents and passion during our formative years owing to stringent education and career requirements. Finding time to awaken one’s inner artist in the midst of a blossoming career may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but once the storm passes and the calm gushes in during retirement, most people find themselves grappling with excess time on their plates, with no activity to keep them busy. As the popular saying goes, an empty mind is the devil’s workshop and this ushers in a multitude of problems like depression, a lack of interest in life, lack of will to pursue one’s passions, etc. Most of us put in our blood, sweat and tears into building a comfortable life for ourselves, with the hope that we can enjoy the fruits of our labor during retirement. However, when the moment arrives, we find waves of solitude and emptiness washing over us incessantly. The key to escaping this is quite simple as it is fascinating.
Art! A three letter word with the profound power to change several lives at one go. Plenty of misconceptions float around the concept of art; including the idea that one must begin early in order to successfully contribute to this creative domain. However, one couldn’t be more mistaken because art recognizes no age, caste, creed or gender. In fact, one could go ahead and proclaim that art doesn’t recognize talent beyond a certain threshold either because as we all know, hard work trumps talent if talent doesn’t work hard!
It is quite natural to feel trepidation when starting out a new artistic venture but what is life without a tinge of fear to keep us motivated? If you haven’t tried your hand at pottery or mosaic craft, go ahead and give it a shot fearlessly. You could be 25, 50 or even 80; but when have pots distinguished between their makers? All it requires is dedication, a passion to learn something new and ample time, all three of which are keys to success in any field. Old age often brings with it health problems and these sometimes prove to be a hindrance in achieving these goals. However, the wonderful thing about art is that it is a proven aid towards improving physical and mental health by leaps and bounds. Working your hands on the pottery wheel emanates a calming effect along with ample exercise for the hands. Creating a stunning mosaic creation calls for patience, creativity and concentration, all of which work towards maintaining a sharp and receptive mind. Reproducing a musical composition calls for discipline and control over the vocal chords, leading to healthy mental stimulation. Keeping our grey cells occupied is up to us; we could allow these precious cells to remain idle and unused or we could unlock the immense potential inside us and set foot into the world of art and culture.
There are no boundaries to the kind of art one can take up. If reading excites you, go ahead and spread the joy by reciting stories to young minds. If dance is your calling, turn up the music and dance away to glory in your hallway, as you carry out your daily chores. If painting makes your heart sing with joy, pick up a brush and depict the plethora of colors flowing through the canvas of your mind. Creativity has no limit and the best part is that the ingredients to a successful artistic contribution are readily available in the confines of our homes! If old age deters you from penning down your thoughts on paper, pick up a pair of scissors, a newspaper and a chart to make a collage of all your favorite thoughts. There is an irreplaceable thrill in conjuring thoughts out of newspaper cuttings; not to mention the dexterity involved in cutting out individual letters to form a sentence. This is just a tiny example, demonstrating the innumerable wonders one can do with art. Your favorite kitchen ingredients could be the best natural colors one can find to create a breathtaking painting. That musical instrument you have been dying to try out since your youth, is calling out to you incessantly. Go ahead and pick it up fearlessly. The first few days are bound to be challenging but when you find yourself playing your loved one’s favorite song on it proficiently, the inner feeling of joy, satisfaction and achievement will drown every other feeling.
Art is not an inborn talent. It is cultivated like a plant; slowly and carefully, with ample love and attention. It eventually grows into a mighty tree for the entire world to see, living to bear the fruits of labor of its owner. Similarly, contributing even in a miniscule manner to the world of art leaves behind a rich legacy which will live long after our time. If our creations are powerful enough, they are bound to inspire many more to plant saplings of art, thus giving birth to a cultural revolution. Leaving behind a legacy of wealth and fame is secondary, how about leaving behind a legacy of artistic love and creativity? Are you up for the challenge?
About the author
Varshini is an aspiring researcher in Computer Science with a passion for social impact. Promoting art, education and gender equality are some of the causes she has taken up so far. In her spare time, she enjoys writing, music and astrophysics.