Aji's

Aji's is a social enterprise that empowers the elderly to live healthy and happy lives by providing a platform to showcase their skills and knowledge.

See our coverage on BBC Nepali, Nepali Times, Republica, and The Kathmandu Post.

Seen it all, done it all, heard it all

Written by Aji’s Maker Shiro Moktan.

Shiro at her home in Kathmandu with work-in-progress  Dori Plant Hangers .

Shiro at her home in Kathmandu with work-in-progress Dori Plant Hangers.

One of my favorite quotes from Shakespeare:

"With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come,

And let my liver rather heat with wine

Than my heart cool with mortifying groans."

What does it mean to be a woman over fifty years years old in Nepal. Does the greying hair and wrinkles on her face mean the beginning of the end of her life or is it the beginning of a new life?

Sisters..rejoice...it is your time now to be your own person. Do not fear old age for now is the time to look forward in your own life. Yesterday you had to be a nurturer and a carer. You spread yourself thin in the many roles you had to play as mother, wife, daughter-in-law, cook, nurse while for many it was handling careers as well. All that was the past. It is now time to say, "Yes, seen it all, done it all, heard it all." Many are grandmothers and this is the time to enjoy for grand parenthood can provide many of the joys without all the hard work that parenthood entails. Each strand of grey hair embodies the tears, heartbreaks, struggles and pain that life threw at you. Each wrinkle is a survival line of life, each holds a story, a laugh, a memory. Mark Twain said wrinkles merely indicate where smiles have been. Flaunt them for they mean you lived. There is no anti-wrinkle cream that goes deep enough to erase lines for wrinkles are hereditary, you get them from your children!

Each strand of grey hair embodies the tears, heartbreaks, struggles and pain that life threw at you. Each wrinkle is a survival line of life, each holds a story, a laugh, a memory.

Before women argue that in Nepal there are cultural and traditional boundaries about aging, let me tell you some stories. When I lived in Europe I would watch women with grey hair and wrinkles living differently to what I had seen in Nepal. I watched women from different walks of life and what fascinated me was the vibrancy they exuded in their everyday lives. They worked, laughed, ate with a drive that did not have an age and all this with their grey hair, wrinkles and varicose veins.

When I was in Australia, I had to visit the doctor. As I was relating my problems to him I told him it must be my old age beginning to tell on me...I was from Nepal and after 50 a woman is old... I was 64. He looked surprised, smiled and said, "You are young. Why do you call yourself old? We only consider women entering old age once they are 80. You are still young". I suddenly felt better and walked out straighter and younger. I stopped at a nearby cafe and sat out in the sun with a coffee and a slice of chocolate cake, I am diabetic but I felt invincible and "young'. At the next table sat a group of ladies, with salon set grey hair and wrinkles, and bright lipstick. They were noisily chatting and laughing and I could overhear their talk. Suddenly one of the ladies said that she had been told that she had the 'Big C'. I did not comprehend it until she said she had to start chemo very soon. The other ladies picked up their coffee cups and cheered and said 'You will beat it, you are strong'. There was so much positivism as two other ladies talked about how they had fought cancer. That was an epiphany.

Women have dreams, fantasies, ambitions all of which have to be put on hold most of the time.

After you are free from raising children and husbands, retired from work and finally you have time, live for yourself. Women have dreams, fantasies, ambitions all of which have to be put on hold most of the time. Many women say they loved singing or dancing, were good artists in many fields. Join a dance class, keep fit and work out or just walk a couple of kilometers. Get creative, learn something new. Just do what you always wanted to do, wear what you want, clothes have size tags not age tags. There is nothing as beautiful as a well groomed, confident, vibrant and sassy older woman, be she 70, 80 or 90 years old.

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

Shiro is a 67 years old resident of Kathmandu. She graduated with honors in English from Loreto College in Darjeeling. She started the first Cambridge GCE and A levels school in Nepal and worked in the education sector for three decades. After retirement she is following her passion for crafting. She makes beautiful Dori Plant Hanger for Aji’s.