Around the world, a common way to measure one’s achievements and milestones is to correlate them with one’s age. Like in India, we have the stereotypical age brackets for education, employment, marriage and even childbearing. And if someone doesn’t check these off their list at the ‘right time’ or fulfil these norms at all, he or she is more or less looked down upon by society.
But more often than not, we come across rare examples of individuals, who defy societal norms, proving that age does not define achievements, and it is in fact, quite the opposite.
Be it an octogenarian who is a successful web-entrepreneur or a teenager heartily engaged in farming, what drives each one of these folks is the simple yet powerful belief that nothing is a barrier—not even their age—and if they put their heart and soul to it, they can do it!
To recognise such remarkable people and celebrate their achievements that may go on to inspire countless others, Flipkart has come up with a unique initiative, #ChooseYourAge.
It features stories of individuals who have broken stereotypes of age, and have achieved something out of the ordinary.
Here are seven such amazing individuals:
1. A 69-year-old who helps senior citizens find love
Natubhai Patel is a true believer in the saying that ‘age is just a number’. He feels anyone can find love, regardless of age, and that social taboos should not stop senior citizens from finding their life partners.
Through his marriage bureau—Vina Mulya Amulya Sewa—he helps people above the age of 50 find love and companionship and has been organising matchmaking sessions every month across Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Jaipur, and other cities in the country.
So far, he has helped create 130 love stories and hopes to pave the way for many more.
2. A 58-year-old who is bringing single seniors together
The onset of old age can get wearisome, especially when one is single and the need to stay connected with people from the same spectrum becomes difficult. But this too is now a thing of the past, thanks to Nishi Malhotra and her idea of connecting senior citizens through the Facebook group JOY (Just Older Youth).
The 58-year-old made the best use of technology to help single individuals between the ages of 50–60 connect and support each other in sickness and health.
What began as a simple Facebook group with regular offline meet-ups has today blossomed into a group of free-spirited individuals who are defying myths about old age and not letting age decide their future.
3. A 14-year-old who is transforming inmates into artists
At an age when most teenagers are yet to figure out what they want to do in their lives, this young woman is helping inmates change their identities through the trail of art.
Nikita Nambiar believes that art has the power to heal emotionally, spiritually and physically, and through her initiative, ‘The Project Fresh Start’, she is helping imprisoned women attain just that.
By training them in the art of making Thanjavur Paintings, her organisation auctions these works at charity events enabling another shot at life for these women, after their release from jail.
4. An elderly couple’s zeal to fulfil their dreams
61-year-old Dilip Chauhan and his 57-year-old wife Pooja never wanted to settle down quietly like every other person post their retirement and guess what they did—they set out on a 5,500 km journey to Ladakh on their Royal Enfield bike!
To fulfil their lifelong dream, they took off on their bike, and despite an injury that took them off the radar for four months, Dilip and Pooja braved rain, snow, sub-zero temperatures and even hairpin bends to successfully reach their destination, while setting travel goals for each one of us!
5. An 18-year-old who is inspiring many to grow organic food
How often would you come across a teenager whose hobby is gardening? Quite rarely, right? But Arya Pudota’s passion for gardening would be quite underrated if we call it just a hobby.
Understanding the disconnect the urban population had with farming, the 18-year-old went the extra mile to share his expertise in gardening that he acquired from his grandmother and started his own YouTube channel, ‘My Organic Farm’.
The channel spreads awareness among urban folks and helps them grow organic food through step-by-step instructional videos. Today, this young man has over 34,000 subscribers to his channel and even conducts sessions for schools and corporates.
6. An 86-year-old who didn’t let loneliness reduce her zest for life
Old age and widowhood could have damped anyone’s spirits but not Saroja Banappa, who decided to give back to society by helping people find comfort in their twilight years.
Over two decades ago, she set up ‘Sri Shankari Balaga Foundation’ to help women and children in need and also established ‘Shankari Sandhya Sadhana’, a home for the elderly in the city of Bengaluru.
What started with 15 volunteers, today has over 700 helpers associated with the cause.
7. A 58-year-old who didn’t let her age stop her from attaining her fourth master’s degree
Most of us would be simply overjoyed after acquiring our master’s degree and quite literally, sign off from academia thereafter. But not Nidhi Jain, for whom even three degrees weren’t enough.
At the age of 58, she decided to go back to school once again! Despite the average age of her class being 25, Nidhi proved that learning has no age limits by successfully grabbing her fourth master’s degree!
She is now building a support network for women who wish to reinvent themselves, just like she did!
We hope these stories will inspire you to #ChooseYourAge and not let age limit what you set out to experience or achieve.
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)