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From The Archives: Mrinalini Sarabhai (1918 - 2016)

From The Archives: Mrinalini Sarabhai (1918 - 2016)
File Photo - Mayur Bhatt

Renowned classical dancer and Padma Bhushan recipient Mrinalini Sarabhai, who was wife of father of India's space programme Dr Vikram Sarabhai, passed away today due to old age-related problems.

She was 97..

Back in July 2013, Priyadarshini Sen, while doing a piece on India's senior citizens above the age of 90 having the time of their lives, wrote about how active she was even at the age of 95:

Mrinalini Sarabhai, danseuse and director of Darpana Academy of Performing Arts in Ahmedabad, never really had the 20-30- year period to reconcile to the ageing process as she was always hyperactive. “Nowadays, short-term memory, poor vision and the death of her best friend have got her a little depressed,” says daughter Mallika. Even so, Mrinalini insists on walking to work every day to teach her students. “I get tired more easily. Otherwise, life is the same,” she says. So, what’s next on the agenda? “A small padam (lyrical number in Bharatanatyam) for my next film on my mother, where she’s also given many interviews,” says Mallika.

Genetic, biological and social factors naturally contribute to longevity, but the desire for an ‘independent existence’ matters as much. “It’s important for seniors to give vent to their ideas and feel appreciated. So a second career plan is always a good idea and keeps you free of negative thoughts,” says Nidhi Mishra. And just as dance remains the core of Mrinalini’s soul, there are others who’ve evolved in their long political and creative careers.

Also see: 10 questions with Mrinalini Sarabhai

                  Khushwant Singh's review of Mrinalini Sarabhai's autobiography

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