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Friday October 25, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Friday October 25, 2013 MYT 8:36:47 AM
by supreet sita sahi
Labour of love: The golden years present a golden opportunity to rekindle old hobbies.
Going back to younger days can turn out to be a nostalgic journey of self-discovery.
WE are referred to as “warga emas”. Who says we’re old? We’re only gold! Well, this is just a joke. Of course, we’re old. It is only wise to accept the truth. When all your joints hurt, your hair has turned grey and you have more fillings in your teeth than actual teeth, it is time to accept the fact that you are definitely not young anymore. If you are in reasonably good health, now is the time to indulge yourself and do some of the things which you never had time for earlier on.
I can vouch for myself that time was a rare commodity in those days. Family obligations and commitments took priority over all else. The kids were growing up. There were endless responsibilities and 24 hours in a day were never sufficient.
Then the children grew up and became more independent by the day, leaving me with some time on my hands. By then, I had slowed down considerably and took more time to perform simple daily chores.
Nevertheless, I rekindled some of my old hobbies and interests to keep myself occupied. Things that I had given up years ago, appealed to me once more, and I took out my knitting needles and crochet hooks, the tatting shuttle and cross stitch patterns, together with scraps of leftover material to design patchwork bric-a-brac. I was once again in my element, churning out an assortment of attractive woollens, accessories and ornamental objects.
I was bitten by the writer’s bug as well. Yes, I have always enjoyed writing, be it poetry or prose, in all the three – English, Punjabi and Hindi – languages I am proficient in, and comfortable with. For years I had stashed away interesting little notes detailing memories of childhood in the hope that one day, I will chronicle those thoughts and feelings in a book. I decided then that it was going to be now or never.
I was almost 70 when I sat at the computer and started to organise all the accumulated materials into pages and chapters. As I retold those stories and expanded on the interesting events, I often found myself lost in a reverie. I thoroughly enjoyed what I was doing and found it profoundly engrossing. I gave the book a name and kept working on my pet project.
Halfway through, I had to go for total knee replacement surgery on both knees. It was the second time I was undergoing TKR. The orthopaedic surgeons call it revision knee replacement surgery. This was a major surgery.
At my age, I was reminded that any surgery would be fraught with risk. Of course, I maintained a positive outlook (which is absolutely necessary for recovery) and hoped for the best. I also considered the worst-case scenario, and prepared for that as well. So I sat down and wrote the epilogue to my book and left instructions with my daughter that should anything untoward happen to me, just place the epilogue at the end of my unfinished work and tell everyone that this is the complete manuscript of Mummy’s memoir.
But then, as God would have it, I recovered and returned to my desk after four months of healing and physiotherapy to complete the task at hand. By the time I was done with it, there were over 600 pages and three years had passed by without my even realising it! I inserted several sepia prints retrieved from old family albums to adorn the blank spaces here and there. These added a special charm to this very personal document.
I dedicated the finished work to my late parents. How I miss them and wish they were around at times like this. My elder brother penned a short, but intensely evocative foreword to my book which added appreciably to its value. Recounting some of the events brought tears to my eyes and stirred up painful memories. But scores of other stories were absolutely hilarious or heartwarming, and planted a huge smile on my face.
Revisiting my childhood and youth was a fulfilling and nostalgic journey of self-discovery. It was also enormously therapeutic. I was pleasantly surprised when I stumbled upon my long lost identity; it had gone missing years ago when I was caught up in the nitty-gritty of day-to-day life.
Most mothers can identity with this loss of identity because when we are absorbed in our multiple roles as homemakers, the first thing that flies out the window is our identity. It happens quite inadvertently without even being noticed.
I printed a few copies of the book and had it hardbound exclusively for family members. What I am trying to share here is my firm conviction that every individual has a story to tell. And if we are capable of writing interesting letters to friends and family, it means we are capable of expressing our thoughts and feelings.
The finished product does not have to be marketable commercially. It may nevertheless become a precious documentary record of family history and related events, and your siblings and children will be proud to possess a copy of it.
My children and my siblings are delighted with my effort. I do not regret one bit the afternoon naps that I had to continuously sacrifice to get my work done. It was an experience of a lifetime; absolutely absorbing and totally satisfying, and I feel amply rewarded in the bargain. It was time well spent.
Tags / Keywords:
Lifestyle, Old hobby, Writing, Senior
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