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Age No Bar

Friday, February 19, 2016

In a city full of endless options for the youth, Purva Indulkar visits LIBERarte Central, an academy for liberal and creative arts that fulfils the needs of a more mature audience

The idea of an innovative concept that aims to provide a safe, comfortable environment while helping senior citizens explore their interests, impressed me even before I stepped into the Bandra classroom of this new project. The property is decked out, with mirrors on the walls and large windows, that make it resemble more of a yoga studio than a classroom. But, the founder of LIBERarte, Tehzeeb Doctor, thinks that this is the perfect setting for her little offering, which aims to integrate senior citizens back into society. After having worked as a copywriter for 17 years, and while travelling back and forth to Singapore and London, she realised something — as soon as their children had settled down, senior citizens in foreign countries quickly returned to chasing their lifelong dreams. They were travelling, going back to school to learn subjects that they left unfinished and catching up with passions left unattended in order to raise a family.

Their Indian counterparts, on the other hand, didn’t have much to do once their children became independent. Tehzeeb wanted to provide older people with a space where they could learn new things and have conversations about subjects that they were passionate about.

This unique school provides that, allowing people to discover new interests as well as hone existing skills. Many instructors at LIBERarte signed on because they believed that older people should have a life outside of their families — and we agree wholeheartedly!

Apart from the usual arts classes such as salsa, craft and photography, the classes are a fun mix of hobbies. Their creative writing course encourages discussions about politics and social problems. The psychology curriculum takes a look at how older people should interact with children. The sociology class places emphasis on globalisation and modernisation, while their Tech Talk class invites participants to bring electronic devices that baffle them to class, and learn how to use them from the teachers as well as their contemporaries, who struggle to keep up with the constantly changing technology scene. My favourite course was Money Matters, a class that teaches retirees how to invest their money, what mutual funds are and how the share market works, so that they can put their savings to good use.

Tehzeeb explained that classes have already begun and people who haven’t been in touch with their creative talents for decades are finally finding their footing. While learning something new and enjoying the company of their contemporaries, senior citizens are also becoming more empowered. In this environment, the older generation gets the praise that they deserve for cultivating their range of interests. If you’re itching to get started, head over to check it out. We think it’s a much-needed space in the city!

Where 304, Silver Pearl, Waterfield Road

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