01 March, 2021

The Fashionably Late Party Starters

Women in Calcutta are leaving behind age-related bias by discovering the art of partying post-60

To Life
Selfie time for the party-goers
Photograph by Sandipan Chatterjee
The Fashionably Late Party Starters

“In our parties we do every­thing that happens in a ‘wild bash’. We drink hard liquor, we play loud music and dance like there’s no tomorrow,” says Proneeta Mukherjee, who is manager at a Calcutta beauty salon. There’s nothing unusual about this description of a ‘rave do’ except that Mukherjee is not, in her own words, “a spring chicken with whom society associates such wild parties.” She’s a 60-year-old woman who, along with a group of her friends, most of them her age or older, has rediscovered the art of partying. “Sometimes when we shake a leg, our knees knock together and our bones rattle, but we don’t stop,” quips Mukherjee. ­“Instead, we try to synchronise the sound of our creaking joints with the beat of remixed versions of retro tunes we had grown up listening to.”

Mukherjee’s mildly self-deprecating humour apart, her account of how she and other women like her—most of them currently single, whether widowed, divorced or unmarried, and past retirement...

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