Finding joy and recognition by pursuing the passion for dance post retirement
An inspiring story of Trushna Talati (Khyaal Community Member)
"I am Trushna Talati, 65 years old. I was born and raised in the Dahod district of Gujrat. I graduated from Ahmedabad in 1978. I had applied to the employment office and to my good fortune, got a government job in the Directorate of Medical Education. My father was a principal in a government school. I have three sisters. We all live in Ahmedabad and are a close knit family.
Until my retirement in 2015, I had lived a very simple life and always walked a straight line. I got married in 1982 and had three children (2 daughters and 1 son). I was busy fulfilling my roles as a wife and a mother in addition to my full-time job. I used to love dancing from a very young age, but never had the opportunity to pursue it. I had performed a few times at college events.
Bhavna, one of my colleague and a good friend, had joined a dance group during this time. The name of the group was 'Dadi Group." It was founded by our choreographer Swati Patel. The name of their academy is JSK Dance Academy. What was special about this group was that all the members were over 60 years old.
My friend knew about my love for dancing, so she urged me to join this group. I joined the group, and fortunately, just a few days later, there was an audition for Dance +, judged by none other than the famous choreographer Remo D'Souza! Our choreographer encouraged me to participate in the audition with the Dadi dance group "Sweet Sixteen". We were selected at the audition and advanced to the next round, which was held in Mumbai. Only 2 days later we went to Mumbai. We were also selected in the next round and got a chance to perform on the Dance + platform. Our dance was broadcasted on TV! This was one of the most memorable moments of my life. This was the beginning of an incredible journey.
We were then invited to Prague in the Czech Republic to represent India at an international dance festival. This was my very first international trip! Once again, it was very memorable and fascinating.
We also participated in other dance reality shows like 'Super Dancer', 'Dance Deewane' and 'Hunarbaaz' and performed in front of celebrities like Madhuri Dixit and Shilpa Shetty!
The biggest challenge for me was still being on my feet at 65. Although I loved dancing and was very active in my younger years, there was a long gap after I got married until I retired. Our choreographer took 3 to 4 hours a day for our dance rehearsals. I juggled doing my housework and attending dance classes every day. My father lived with me, and he was bedridden. Therefore, I had to take care of him in addition to my other household chores. But my willpower to dance overcame all obstacles. At first, my husband and two daughters were worried about my health and whether I could manage everything besides dancing. But I was determined, and gradually they came to terms with it. The dance studio where we had our daily lessons was about 45 minutes from my house. I left the house at 12 noon and reached the academy at 1 pm. When I arrived home, I felt tired and exhausted, but I still had to do the household chores at hand, such as cooking, cleaning, and caring for my bedridden father. During the two years of COVID-19, we faced a major setback. Since classes were cancelled at that time, we met online to dance, play Tambola, and sing karaoke with each other. Our bond helped us stay in good spirits during those difficult days. After the pandemic, we resumed dance lessons in full swing.
Besides dancing, I love to travel, but I could not do that before because of my full-time job and family obligations. Now, retired, I finally have the time to follow my heart. It is my desire to visit every part of India.
My advice to my fellow seniors is that age is just a number and it is never too late to pursue your dreams." - Trushna Talati (Khyaal Community Member)