Age Is Just A Number! And Other Life Lessons From ‘The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’

This article was first published on Womens Web on 20th April, 2016

Age Is Just A Number! And Other Life Lessons From ‘The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’

The-Best-Exotic-Marigold-Hotel-e1461138966506The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel teaches us that age is just a number – we can seek and find happiness, or try out new things at any age.

I happened to watch The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel before watching its prequel The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. The film grew on me gradually as I enjoyed and lived each character through my second and third date with the film.

I cherished some simple yet profound lessons from this colorful and charming ensemble film.

Parenting

Maggie Smith’s sharp tongued yet affable Mrs Donnelly becomes a true mentor to the brash and ambitious Dev Patel aka Sonny. She teaches him by not offering advice. She helps him explore the American world by being with him yet allowing him to make mistakes enough to learn but not to land him in trouble.

She writes a letter to him at the end where she says that she was writing it to the children she never had. She proves that parenting is an emotion, an energy which bonds the parent and the child through a selfless, nurturing connect. “I am not helping you when I am here, so that you can act when I am not here” is the most empowering lesson from a parent to a child.

Her trust in Sonny comes forward when she says, “He makes many mistakes, but none when it matters.”

“I don’t do advices. I do opinions,” is her lesson in being confident and authentic.

Love

Judy Dench as Evelyn and Bill Nighy as Douglas prove that their ‘love for life’ helps them realize their love for each other. Evelyn asks, “How many lives can there be?” and answers herself, “As many as we want”.

Love needs friendship, respect and freedom in the long run and it is beautifully proven by Evelyn and Douglas.

Entrepreneurship

The floor scrubber for forty years takes the challenge to get funding for a hostel cum hotel for seniors and confidently speaks to the Evergreen owner. Sonny, though melodramatic, wins over through his honest aspiration and childlike optimism.

His risk taking and fierce resolve reflects in his focussed attention on expanding his business. Dev Patel as an eccentric and exuberant youngster reminds us of so many start up mavericks of today.

Leadership

Life is the biggest leader of all. Celebrating life by accepting the building blocks handed over to us and using them continuously and effectively is the key to be a self-leader. All the senior citizens from Britain prove it by starting a new life in Jaipur. This new life is not a retired existence but an invigorating beginning before the final end.

“There is no end of life, only the end of a story,” is what we absorb.

Deeper Lessons

The first film focused on the struggles of the elderly for these Britons who chose to come to India not because they wanted to but they had to. The ‘sorrow’ of the first film changes to ‘purpose’ in the second film.

All the senior people who think every second – “Do we have enough time?” learn to add purpose to each moment. Mrs. Donnelly tries to become a parent which she never was, Evelyn becomes self-reliant at 79, which she never experienced as a sheltered, naïve housewife. Honesty between the bartender and his wife at this age speak volumes about the need of companionship and fear of loneliness. It encourages older people to never give up till the last day.

Age is merely a number, it is purely incidental that we pick up years while living. Giving happiness to ourselves and others can be done like a warrior, till the last breath.

What do you think?

Image source: youtube.

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3 Life Long Gifts From Parents To Children

3 Life Long Gifts From Parents To Children.jpg

Though children are the pivots of parents’ lives for good, it would be really meaningful and valuable if parents did these three things for their children – love, limit and let them be.

Love: Children need our love the most when they deserve it the least. We are the only people who could love them unconditionally. It is hard not to judge, it is difficult not to compare, it is tough not to lose cool but it is imperative to love without judging, comparing and fuming.

When we love them unconditionally, they learn to value life unconditionally. When they have the confidence that they can come to you anytime with a broken nose, a broken heart, a broken bank balance or a broken life, they will have the courage to bounce back every time they get knocked down. Love them, show them that you will love them come what may, forever.

I always tell my fellow parents that Parenting is an emotion. One should become a Parent only when they are sure of having this emotional energy which keeps them patient, sane and hopeful as a parent for the longest of time. The emotion called Parenting keeps us awake for nights when they have a cold or an exam or a late night party. This emotion keeps us calm when they defy or fail an exam or mess up with a senior. This emotion keeps us concerned, even when our kids turn fifty. This emotion keeps us content, even when we miss them in our empty nests.

Limit: All the cool, friendly parents of today need to remind themselves that their children need parents, not friends which they have many. When parents are disciplined, children adapt their ways. We must gift emotional discipline, health discipline, time discipline, learning discipline and moral discipline to our children. Our children need to learn to face rejection and disappointment as an integral part of life so that they don’t get unusually angry or depressed. Ensuring development of healthy habits for eating, exercising, sexual activeness is our prime responsibility.

Showing them by example to organise and prioritize goes a long way in making them self reliant. A strong value system coupled with habits like reading and researching helps them decide between right and not so right choices. Limiting them is a skill we all need. I always tell my parent colleagues that kids don’t learn when we teach them something, they learn when they are ready. We should keep showing them the right behaviors and they will pick it someday which could be today or years later.

Let them be: Having expectations is natural for Indian Parents as we are used to parents owning lives of children. We are to our children what a gardener is to plants and trees in a garden. He looks after the plants’ well being every day, adding manure, required fertilizers, cutting, mowing, pruning, but he doesn’t own the plants, the flowers and the fruits.

Despite all the care, some plants get uprooted or wilt due to weather conditions. A gardener observes and tries to control the damage by being caring as well as vigilant. Parents do the same by observing silently, encouraging from the sidelines, guiding casually without being pushy or authoritative.

We can show them the path, but we can’t walk for them.
We can teach them the words, but we can’t talk for them.
Let them bloom into their own persons with their unique fragrances. Let’s not try to make them a version of our dreams and expectations.

About the Author

swatilodha

Thank you for Changing my Life

Swash.JPGAs an entrepreneur, I started a company called SWASH (Skills, Wit and Attitude are shaped here) in 1997.

I designed a few courses to help children, adolescents and professionals to build confidence, ignite their motivation, and hone their public speaking skills. Apart from life skills and soft skills enhancement, I offered them my eyes to observe their heartfelt emotions, my ears to listen to their unsaid stories and my shoulder to lean on in distress.

Having trained thousands of participants in last fifteen years, I felt like asking them if SWASH still meant something to them. Three days ago, I closed my eyes and tried to remember as many names as I could from various years (from 1997 – 2007) .

I wrote around thirty names in under five minutes and posted a small note to them on Facebook. (I searched twenty of them on facebook, sent a friend request which was accepted within a minute. I was already connected to the rest)

In the note, I asked them:

  1. When did you join Swash (at what age) / What were you doing at that time?
  2. Do you remember how you felt at Swash? Do you still follow what you learnt?
  3. Do you honestly believe that a guide/coach can influence you forever?
  4. Did I touch your life, enrich it in some way or waves of time have wiped off all of it?

I wrote it because I missed my students so much. I wrote it because I wanted to know if life coaching really helps.

To my surprise, I received sixteen responses immediately which were all liners like

“I cannot forget you ever Ma’am”

“You are the best mentor I ever got, thank you for making me feel special once again.”

“A Pranam and a big hug to you, Madam”.

They all promised to send detailed answers (already got 5 this morning) but their immediate responses warmed my heart and nourished my soul.

Have you ever felt the same warmth and contentment?

It doesn’t hurt sometimes to ask your loved ones what you mean to them.

Swash

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Dr. Swati Lodha is an Author, Entrepreneur, Motivational Speaker, Parenting expert based in Mumbai. Having written Bestsellers like Come on get set go  &  Why Women are What they are, her book on Parenting will be published soon. Currently, she is running Life Lemonade which offers unique Training Programs on Life Transformation, High Performance Leadership, Women Issues and Parenting.

Connect with Dr. Swati Lodha on Linkedin, Twitter @drswatilodha Facebook

Also read her best articles here!