“I’m 100 years old beta–maine sab dekha hai! I’ve seen GandhiJi in jail– Baba was a doctor at the prison, so sometimes he’d sneak me in. I’ve seen the rise and fall of Hitler. And I’ve seen a flu much worse than this one, where I first learnt the word ‘pandemic’. I’ve seen freedom fighters protesting relentlessly–I’ve joined them too!
But when I got married, I stepped out of my comfort zone and actually saw the world for what it was. My husband was a railway engineer which meant at least 3 postings in a year. We’d gotten a new radio back then–it became my favourite source of entertainment.
And the day we gained Independence…I’m sure I’m not alone when I say this, but it felt like I was reborn. The smell of a free India was intoxicating. That night, my husband and I watched the fireworks go off the entire night.
With time, our family also grew–from 2, we became 5. Living in a free India was new, it was different. There were no unnecessary curfews and we had freedom of speech.
My husband was very strict though, he led a disciplined life; making the kids crib at times. But I was the opposite, I wanted them to be free. The women in my circle called me ‘too forward’ and even said that this way I would be spoiling my kids, especially when I insisted on getting a T.V. But I believed in one thing–adapting with changing times.
So even as they were growing up, I was growing with them–I kept embracing change. Like there were times when my husband wouldn’t be okay with going out for dinner, but I insisted on going out and having pizzas and burgers with the kids. Honestly…who says ‘no’ to pizza?
I created an environment of comfort, so when my second son wanted to marry outside the caste, he came to me. Inter caste marriage was frowned upon back in the day. But I knew my son would have chosen well; I just wanted him to be happy. So I got them married within 6 months!
My ideology is simple, beta–live and let live. And it’s because of this that my 5 kids and 10 grandkids have to have me for all their celebrations. And it’s because of that, that me, a 20’s kid has made it to 2020!
And just a week back I celebrated my 100th birthday! Sadly, it was only 15 of us, but I was happy because I got the gift I wanted– a month’s long supply of chocolates! And I’ve made my son promise that my 101st birthday will be a big party! Aakhir zindagi badi aur lambi, dono honi chahiye!”
This article is brought to you by Humans of Bombay