There are, somewhere in the vast labyrinths of our lives, at a time and date that is inconsequential, women who are living life on terms which defy the expectations associated with “old age”.
A million miles away, unknown to her, there are elderly women who are signing up to learn a new language. There are elderly women standing up for the rights of others. There are women who are starting up their NGOs. There are women writing articles in old typewriters. Somewhere, an old woman presses her finger to a screen, transcends time and space, and leaves her teenaged granddaughter a snapchat.
There are no plots to these stories. The reprisal that society has to offer for their indulgences is limited to daily microaggressions. It is limited to mirth. It is limited to the slander that an old woman who has not abandoned the idea of purpose in her life is acting ‘young’. When they step out of the house sometimes, people still greet her. They still touch her feet. They still cherish an idea of her when she was more active.
But they do not know of the storms that brew everyday within the confines of those rooms. When she reads, or writes or pushes the envelope, she challenges generations of emperors, centuries of dictats, millennia of repression. When she reads, she could be Nefertiti or Cleopatra, or a lonely traveler rowing through a mangrove in South America.
Today, we’re going to talk about these amazing women.
We celebrate 16 Days of Activism by celebrating women who are challenging the archetype of old age. We’re bringing you stories and profiles that speak for a truth we know and believe to be true. That traits of the personality and things like desire, achievements, agency, independence transcend age.
As we grow older, the roles we associate ourselves with changes, and we’re pressured to fall into line in conservative fields. What allows us to normalize this extremely oppressive behaviour? When women post the age of what is considered by society as ‘productive’, ‘refuse to go gently into that good night’ as Dylan Thomas would say. When women fight tooth and nail to hold on to a rapidly eroding coastline of agency, it is a powerful thing. The stereotype as we know it is challenged everyday.
In villages, and small towns and big cities, in the winding alleys of Chandni Chowk, to posh colonies in Bangalore. From women to take up new identities that is not about other people, to women who in this new juncture in their lives run into a version of themselves they always dream of. It is incredibly important to talk about these women. It is incredibly important to write about them, to offer them a place in history. To allow them the room to make a dent in our historical timeline, to allow them to drag the default and the normal out of the abyss. So that someday we may see a dawn of a new sun.
When you look at this series, remember to keep an open mind. Remember to delve deep into what keeps them going. Remember to wonder what dreams they may have had when they were your age. Remember to imagine the agency they may have fought for. Remember when they failed and remember when they made it.
And most of all, remember that there are, somewhere in the vast labyrinths of our lives, at a time and date that is inconsequential, women who have pushed boundaries every step of their way and are #StillGoingStrong. .