Inspired Inscribes - 34

Life, they say sends lessons in many forms. Sometimes it is a story, a book, a song, a movie, an accident, an incident and sometimes it is a person. 

I met her few months ago. She was looking for someone to talk to and I, for a change wanted to just hear. I was tired of talking for I had just realized that in today’s selfish world no one wants to know what you think. They just want to be heard. 

Mrs. Ratna Shinde – 79 years old, wheatish in complexion, medium heightened with a frail body she looked every bit of an old lady who had lived life every moment and now was reliving those moments. Our first meeting was a bit awkward as she was a bit low on hearing. But by the time we met for the third time I had adjusted my tone to match her hearing capacity just perfectly. I loved listening to her. The story teller in me was greedy at the number of stories she would have witnessed and could share with me. Every day for one hour we would just talk about everything under the sun from movies to politics to painting to books. The time simply flew by, sometimes the hour would extend to hours and we would never realize till I would get a call from my home. 

For her age she was very active (touchwood!) not only physically but also mentally. She had recently faced the empty nest syndrome and was feeling low. Not of the habit to go around gossiping she chose to revive her old passions. She began to make flowers from coloured paper, something she had learnt from her mother when she was sixteen. One thing led to other and there stood around 20 varieties of flowers she had imitated. Some so spectacularly beautiful that it would make you wonder if they were real. Looking at my enthusiasm she even volunteered to teach me the art of making flowers and I willingly accepted it. 

During random conversations our topic steered to writing and out of habit we discussed it in great depths. I shared my observations, my learnings and all that I could share about this art which was so close to my heart. And she like an eager student quietly grabbed all that I had to offer. In those few weeks that we spent together she taught me some very precious lessons of life. The first and foremost being the art of detachment; there is a stage in life when you need to be attached to everything around you, be materialistic, chase materialistic dreams, become selfish and do things that you deem appropriate but then there comes a stage in life when you need to master of art of detachment with the same vigour for now you need to let your next generation master the art of attachment and chase their dreams and desires. 

The second lesson was – it is never too late to pursue your passion. Age doesn’t define your limitations. It is just a number, for the day you die and meet God nothing will matter. Your salary, number of houses you built, your bank balance, cars, foreign trips, educational qualifications, nothing. All that will matter is how well you lived. And a person who listens to his heart always lives a contended life. The third lesson – You are always a student in life, till your last breath. Every one is a school in their own self – having a lesson or two to share. You learn something from them and then move on to the next school, for that is how you master the art of living. 

For me, she surely was an institution in herself. What charm, what spirit and what love for life! She inspired me to be like her when I become 79 and for that I need to start working on it right now itself. The latest update from her is – she is busy writing a book off late amidst making a huge paper bouquet that will adorn the centerpiece in her living room.

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