By Hrishikesh Dubey
While growing up, my grandparents always told me the importance of nurturing one’s skills and talents, and at the same time, teaching me to be self-reliant and independent. I spent countless days with my grandfather learning high and low notes, the intricacies of rhythm, harmony and melody as his unwavering passion for Hindustani classical music echoed around me.
“There is nothing more reminiscent of Indian culture than shastriya sangit, my dear boy,” he would tell me as I listened to his melodious voice in awe, which used to fill the rooms of our house and subsequently became a part of our lives. My grandmother, a national-level tennis player, helped me hone my skills outside of the house as I accompanied her on early-morning runs in the park. She taught me the importance of having a strict fitness regime, and more importantly, of being able to stick to it despite a hectic and stressful schedule.
“It is important to value your body and devote time to it,” she would say. “I don’t like hearing excuses about schedules and stress. Your health is just as important as your job.” A banker by profession, she would make time early in the morning for our workouts, and no matter how stressful her day was, she took our two German shepherds out for a walk without fail.
Now, I am older and have finally moved out to pursue my own path to independence by starting the first full-time job; my grandparents still devote time to their hobbies and interests with the same zest and zeal as they did when I was a little boy. Wednesday and Friday nights are mandatory Hindustani music dinners at my grandfather’s behest, where I have the grand opportunity to listen to his melodious voice, and quite often we are joined by some of his friends, all of whom are part of a Hindustani music group and that even performs at charity galas and events.
As I headed over for our usual evening last week, my Grandfather told me about a new music card he received, with some of the greatest songs of his all-time favourite – Pandit Ravi Shankar. “We are doing a new set with my group,” he explained to me with childlike enthusiasm as he loaded the USB drive on to his computer and projected it in the living room. I was amazed at his swiftness with technology and asked him how he got his hands on such an amazing collection of records.
He winked at me and said, “You know I am more technologically savvy than you right?”. He continued to tell me about his lucky find. An interesting website, Seniority, from where he had ordered a set of records from their new range of leisure and hobby products. Not only did Seniority offer free delivery, but it also made them aware of a multitude of medical, lifestyle and living aids for senior citizens, all in one place.
“In fact, your grandmother also bought many backrests for her yoga class, some resistance bands for her exercise room as well as an exercise ball,” he said and guided me to the basement to show her transformed gym. My grandmother, now retired, teaches yoga to both senior citizens as well as younger professionals five days a week. She believes it offers the perfect respite from the stress and the hectic schedules of the fast-paced working lifestyles today. “I got my new walking stick a few days ago too, and it’s my new friend for early morning walks,” he laughed.
“Is your grandfather forcing you to look at his new toys,” her voice echoed from around the room as she walked in. As she took the seat next to us with a bowl of my favorite dessert –kheer– that she made from scratch, all by herself and despite having taught 3 classes over the day, I was in awe of how she managed to do it all.
“What is the one thing I have always taught you?” she smiled and asked. “It is all about presence and the importance of putting one’s body first. Nothing is as important as devoting time to yourself and being independent and that is what we have always focused on and tried to teach you as well.”
I nodded in agreement. While I am still struggling to understand how to maintain an adequate work-life balance, my grandparents seem to have cracked the code about the same years ago. I still have a lot to learn from them about nurturing my own personal skills and giving time to myself, but it is inspiring to see them doing that so well. Thanks to brands like Seniority, designed specially to cater to senior citizens and their needs, my fiercely independent grandparents can continue to live their lives, just like they always have, for decades.
Hrishikesh Dubey is a resident of Pune in his 20s. He enjoys exploring the intricacies of Hindustani classical music while regularly complaining about the traffic.
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