This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Youth Ki Awaaz. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

These 6 People Will Change How You Perceive Old-Age Forever

More from Youth Ki Awaaz

By Disha Pandey:

In India, we love to stereotype everything. We put labels on men, women, colour, marriage, mothers-in-law, women who “drink,” women who do not “drink,” men who stare, men who do not stare, Punjabis, Bengalis, Gujjars, Jatts and almost every one we can possibly stereotype. This seems to be a convenient claim for justifying our own actions, and this makes all of us prone to it. Lately, we have been questioning stereotypes of all sorts, but there still exists a stereotype that remains unquestioned – the act-your-age stereotype.

Photo Credits

There’s a nagging fear of getting old inside all of us, because we perceive old age as a phase of life, which is bereft of passion and fun. If an old lady wears a bright red saree, we call her “Buddhi Godhi Laal Lagaam.” If an old man tries to look funky, we say “Buddha Sathiya gaya hai”.

Is old-age really an end of your passions? I thought so too, before I met him.

I often feel that I have little time left in my life. I am 24, and I have huge ambitions – so huge that one life would fall short of time for fulfilling all of my dreams. So when I met this man at a family get-together, I was dumbstruck or rather profoundly amused by his personality.

A Germany returned 70-year-old business man with an exceptionally charismatic voice has returned to his childhood dream of acting and singing in the Hindi Biz industry. His ambitions are high and defy all the age stereotypes.

By the age of 60 – when it was time for him to sit back and relax with all the luxury that he had worked hard for, he decided to take a completely different route that requires courage for even those who are young. I happened to spend some time with this man, who proudly introduced himself as Raman Kapoor. He was dressed in a floral yellow shirt, which I made fun of  and subtly giggled telling my cousin about the absurd fashion sense this man seemed to have.

As I discovered the real man behind that oddly vibrant form, I even started liking his weird yellow shirt. Maybe, it was just his age that made me find it inappropriate and if Ashton Kutcher was wearing the same thing, then I would have probably drooled all over him. I was surprised at how he had changed my perception of age in just a little over an hour.

I discovered that this man was everything we dissociate old-age with. He sings without a hint of old age in his voice (his latest song is Maula, and I love it). He acts with passion. He works hard for finding new roles, he does whatever befitting roles he gets and in this way, he works towards fulfilling his dream. Like a true fighter, when he has every option and reason for surrendering and giving in to the convenient option of relaxing and holidaying in whichever part of the world he wants to, he has decided to pursue his dream.

He loves his wife with a passion that even we – the young people – lack. He still meets his old school friends to play a match of football during the weekends. In this phase of his life he has an aim and he is striving towards it, while living his life to the fullest. I no longer fear aging because I know that I will not let myself be overpowered by the stereotypical view of old-age, especially when there are so many people in the world, who are flouting all the social conventions related to ageing and old-age. I have compiled a small list of such unsung heroes, apart from Raman Kapoor, who is the original inspiration behind my research.

1. A 61 year old pole dancer.
Greta Pontarelli

2. A 78 Year Skateboarder
Lloyd Kahn

3. Breaking The world Record in Cycling at the age of 102
Robert Marchand

4. 100 Year old Industrial Climber
Doris Long

5. 61 year old Multi-Career Woman
Cindy Joseph

So, when I saw what these people are doing, I thought to myself, “Why do we fight age?  Why not embrace old age as just another phase of life? Why make fun of old folks trying to live a life on their own terms? If we fight for young women’s right to dress as they want to, why can’t we just let old people have the same right without being judged?”

If we have the right to choose our career and relationships in our 20s, then old people should have the right to choose the same without worrying about how the society would react. Let’s break the age stereotype. Let’s start from the adorable oldies around us.

You must be to comment.
  1. Frank Canna

    Thank you, Disha so much for sharing your very well written first published article. I thoroughly enjoyed reading every word. You have a true gift for expressing your thoughts. Looking forward to many more up-lifting articles!

More from Youth Ki Awaaz

Similar Posts

By Aditya Lakshmi

By Uday Che

By Abhishek Verma

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below