During one of our evening strolls, my 14 year old son and I were discussing overall personality development (hot topic in homes where you have kids in high school and college). We were at the peak of our debate on balancing between studies and extra-curricular activities, also hobbies, with our pitches so high that no passer-by could have missed a word. When suddenly an absolute stranger in mid 60’s interrupted us, “Did you mention, your son plays guitar?” For a moment, we were ashamed for being so loud on road. Hesitantly, I replied, “yes, he is learning how to play a guitar“. “Can you provide me the details of the music classes, madam?” Both my son and I were wondering about this gentleman’s inquisitive behaviour. Does he have any vested interests in this information? Is he trying to promote himself as a music teacher? By now our “stranger friend” could sense the awkwardness in our voices. To clear this air of confusion, he sheepishly continued,
you know what…I always wanted to learn music… keyboard to be more specific. I always dreamt of playing some of my favourite Hindi songs on keyboard. But when I was young, money was a major constraint…when money came, priorities changed…kids, their education, home loans, promotions, work pressures, responsibilities, duties etc etc. Somewhere in solving life’s maze, my wish to learn keyboard took a back seat and remained just a dream… today as I overheard your conversation, my heart fondly reminded me of this distant dream and my head objected again… learning keyboard at this age! Are you kidding?
I could sense the pain in his eyes and I could very well empathise with him. We all have several different dreams and aspirations in this journey called life. Some we fulfil and many we don’t. And those wishes and dreams that we are unable to fulfil, remain only a dream. Our mind may recollect these at a later age, but our apprehensions grow stronger then! “How can I do this at this age?” is the attitude that stops us from living our dreams, and pursuing our hobbies. And that’s how we ultimately retire to become gloomy old babysitters for our grandchildren. Ironically, you will find in no book, in no website, or in no class a defined maximum age limit to pursue what you love to do.
As I thought of all these, I recollected meeting that dancing couple who defied age once. For whom, age was just a number! Like my “stranger friend”, I too wanted to learn dance when I was young. But priorities were different then. Nevertheless, couple of years back, with great apprehensions of being mocked, I finally enrolled myself to learn Salsa – a Latin America dance form.
Amidst teenagers and college goers, there was an old couple may be in their late 60’s or early 70’s. Everyone thought they must be accompanying their grandchild for the class. But we were wrong. This couple had planned for an international vacation on a cruise which apparently had ballroom dance in their itinerary. Both the old man and the lady had never danced in life but this did not deter their spirits. At an age when they were expected to attend satsangs and attend laughter clubs in “Nana-Nani” parks, these two frail-looking senior citizens were glistening with sweat on the tunes of Bailamos, occasionally stumbling and tripping over younger fellows, laughing their hearts out when they missed a few steps and practising every move till perfection.
Soon this couple became our inspiration and not a single person missed sharing their story with friends and families. On the final day, as we performed, all eyes were set on this “young at heart” lovely couple with silver strands of hair on head and wrinkles on face and yet, every move so graceful, so bold and so confident…it was inevitable that both of them enjoyed every moment of their dance…that night as they danced their way, their eyes gleamed of living their dream! In the midst of all the applause, whistling and cheering, their message to the audience was clear “You are never too old to learn something new if you decide to. All you need to take is the first step!”
My story motivated all three of us to start living our dreams; my “stranger friend” had made his mind as to what brand and model of keyboard he would buy. As we exchanged pleasantries, we crossed our paths once again with a promise that we pursue our dreams without letting age deter us.