You are never too old

Author: Sheetal Suryavanshi

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You are never too old
"You are never too old to set another goal
or to dream a new dream."
- C.S.Lewis

A great evening and a wonderful celebration! It all started with Dad getting an invite 3 days ago by a senior cricket clubmate (Swastik Union Cricket Club)/former Ranji trophy player for his birthday party on January 18th, 2017. The plan was I drop Dad off at the party and pick him once the party was over. I asked Dad: How old is your friend going to be? I knew this was an inappropriate question but was curious to know as Dad had mentioned that Uncle was quite senior to him. My Dad responded, “Old enough to throw a party and young enough to celebrate the spirit of life.“

I dropped off Dad to the party hall. As I was exiting, one of Dad’s friends asked, "Who is that girl?" My Dad responded, "My daughter!" Uncle came running to the door and told me, "We know your Dad from his teenage days. So, please come inside." He insisted that I attend the party and assured that I would not get bored. I didn’t have any option but to agree to his request.

This was a small gathering (8) of senior cricketers, most of them were octogenarians except Dad and another uncle who are in their mid-70s. The party kicked off by all these young lads observing one minute silence for the departed souls. I was touched by this.

It felt awesome listening to them. They had interesting conversations. The highlight of the evening was the discussion about the All-India Inter University Championship - Rohinton Baria Gold Trophy, held in 1962. Four people who had represented the Mysore University in 1962 were present and shared the memories of the game. Back then there was no money and the team had to borrow money from a well-wisher to travel to Kanpur for the tournament. They took pride in their victory as they had beaten Bombay University which had first class cricketers. The team victory was announced on All India Radio for the first time. The best memory of the victory they shared was how their manager got them black rum which they poured into the trophy and the entire team drank it together. They were also asked to deposit some money to carry the trophy back and with shared laughter, they recalled, "All of us have just one rupee in our pockets. So they gave thirteen rupees and brought the trophy with pride.”

They spoke with high regard about the founder of the Chinnaswamy Stadium, the late M Chinnaswamy who gave up his profession as a lawyer to focus on cricket administration. There used to be just one big table and a chair at the stadium in the initial days and the cricketers used to just go sit on the table and have fun. The membership fee back then for the association was just ten rupees per year!

They spoke about how the game helped them build character. No money, only pure passion and love for the game back then. They never wore any gear. They discussed, with glee, about how they used to sledge the opponent team players. They discussed about bowling and batting techniques of cricketers who played in 1950’s for the state and country. There was discussion about the history of chinaman bowling, and how it was because of M.A.K Pataudi that the players from the South got an entry to the Indian team. The room was magical filled with laughter, love, and nostalgia.

They even discussed about the current India-SA Test series where there was not one negative word of the team’s loss. All they said was it is healthy to lose and a learning experience for the team.

They indeed proved that age is just a number. And weed is just a plant!!!!! You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream. These young group of octogenarians have never stopped wanting to learn. One uncle, at the age of 82, is learning Carnatic music, plays tennis at club level, enjoys hiking to the Himalayas and is into writing too. He said, “Original model still running in high spirits at 82!” And another uncle, in his mid-80s, walked up to me and said, "You know, I have known your Dad as a kid. I was the first one to set up a computer in ITI in 1965 and one of the pioneers to start IBM." He went on to say how updated he is with technology and is currently consulting on Microsoft applications. He spoke about artificial intelligence, data analysis and the current scenario of the IT industry. Oh God! I felt so behind the times and listened in awe. Every member present there was learning something new and was super enthusiastic about life. I loved their positive outlook on life.

To sum it up, this get together taught me a lot and reminded me that the most beautiful things in life are associated with memories and moments. Love and celebrate life. Learn, unlearn and relearn is an ongoing mantra of life. It was indeed a lovely and happy occasion.

To quote Henry Ford: “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.”

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