Mrs.Shailaja Pradeep Ganguly took up a trial class with Growing Young and that one hour of interaction was enough for her to trust us and join us! She has taught journalism & creative writing at Sophia College Open Classroom. She was on the General Body and preliminary selection committee of international films for children & young adults for the childrens’s film society. She has also produced Air India’s in flight India music for almost 7 years.Currently Mrs.Shailaja edits, translates ,writes & creates videos for Sri Chitrapur Math.Despite her packed schedule, she has always ensured to be regular to the sessions.She is truly an inspiring personality who has never stopped dreaming. Mrs.Shailaja has recently completed her intensive theatre workshop in acting with actor Neeraj Kabi, so rightly proving that 60 is just a milestone to unleash your creativity. Here she shares a little about herself and also her experience with us!
I, Me , Myself
From an ignorant age when I thought that a female writer is called a ‘writeress’, I knew this is what I wanted to be. A guardian angel must have said “tathaastu” for my attempts at word craft, whether it was on paper or orally on stage, started bringing in laurels even before I passed out of school. I was declared Best Student of the college too and after a tiny bout of teaching began my real affair with the print medium when I joined the Times of India, Mumbai as a sub-editor with FEMINA. That was an exciting time because feminism was just touching Indian shores and FEMINA was telling every woman that she had the right to explore her individual potential and talent even as she balanced her roles as wife, daughter-in-law and mother. Alongside, I also taught creative writing in a long weekly session at a reputed College.
When I became Deputy Editor, I began to create and present many interesting programmes for both Akashvani and black and white television on personalities, social and medical issues and the creative and performing arts. I also began anchoring programmes of classical music and dance and have held the mike for India’s finest vocal and instrumental artistes and crème de la crème dancers. My interest in physical fitness was rather rudely awakened by the cervical pain which began to bother me because of long hours at the typewriter in an air-conditioned office. When the topmost orthopaedic in town told me this was spondylitis and that I now had to be careful for life and would possibly have sudden ‘blackouts’, I knew it was time to take stock.
Being an anti-pill person I learnt some physiotherapic moves from a friend in a Sports-hospital and also joined yoga classes. I was soon off the collar and have never had a blackout till date. After shifting homes, while I continued with my daily yoga at home and with all other activities outside, I had to go freelance and become a care-giver for my husband who had developed certain physical disabilities. In that period, for several years I produced Air-India’s in-flight music for which I was script-writer and female anchor, under contract with HMV.
The pandemic year brought me three awards and a welcome introduction to ‘Growing Young’. I was declared Woman Icon of Navi Mumbai, felicitated for my achievements in Journalism and Creative Writing and given a prize for the best write-up on learning a skill in 2020 by a Senior-Citizen Welfare Group -Unmukt, Delhi. I still write, edit, anchor, but I was feeling an acute need to join an exercise group for a regular work-out. That is when, like a karmic signal, Growing Young suddenly popped out of a Facebook ad, I attended the free session and now, here I am, enjoying every minute of it !
Cheerful faces, welcome smiles, warm greetings….Sunandha and Viji- the two fitness Gurus of ‘Growing Young’ definitely project both the exuberance and confidence which convince a new entrant that he or she has reached the right take-off point to get swift results from the resolution to work towards a more ‘obedient’ body.
In the hour that follows, the class is taken through four packed segments of expressing body language – through warm-ups, stretches using different aids like weights or a stick, aerobics, modified asanas and breathing techniques and to conclude – a little module of relaxation to leave you refreshed, rejuvenated and raring to go…
The best part of this pep-up routine is that one trainer watches every student as the other conducts the class. This ensures that each learner’s posture for a particular movement is perfect and also enables the instructor to tell anyone who is getting over-tired to take a tiny breather.
The bouquet of grateful “Thank-you”-s that appears on Whatsapp after every class is proof enough that this dynamic duo is destined to go places!