Wisdom Stories Ep.19: Mala Bindra


Cultural expectations surrounding the elderly are being challenged today, and with good reason!

While it was the norm to slow down and retreat into a quieter life post-retirement, more men and women are finding purpose and joy in doing the opposite.

WisdomCircle honours such men and women by shining light on their journey through an inspiring series called “Wisdom Stories”. These people have successfully smashed stereotypes, and their stories remind us that life should be lived to the fullest, no matter what age or stage. 

“Soon after we got married in 1976, my husband went to construct a Thermal Power Station in a god-forsaken place called Sarni in the interiors of Madhya Pradesh. Those were the days of no internet. My husband was at his work site all day, and all I could do was read and cook to spend my time. However, it gave me an opportunity to learn to cook and hone my baking skills. Then, when I shifted to Delhi. I was ready to embark on a career as a home baker.

Since I converted my passion for cooking into a profession, I realised the importance of customer satisfaction. If someone places an order with me, they expect me to deliver a product of the highest quality. I, therefore, believe in doing everything myself without any help. This ensures the quality of my product. I am grateful for the loyal patronage I have received over the years. While the feedback I receive has mostly been heart-warming, there was a hilarious incident where a man called me to say, “I’ve just come out of a coma, and I need to have your cake”. I am not sure what happened after because he never called back!

I have been a home baker now for over 30 years. Right from the word ‘go’, my motivation and desire have not diminished. I make homemade products without fancy decoration, yet these are widely accepted. This gives me a great deal of satisfaction, more so since it gives people simple pleasures of life.

I was deeply impacted by my mother, who was the epitome of empowerment. We talk of women’s empowerment today; she was empowered 60 years ago. She was a pioneer in exporting handicrafts such as Sheesham Wood from Saharanpur and brass from Moradabad. She successfully ran a big export business, supplying to the US. In those days, she travelled on promotional tours popularising brass bells. From her, I learnt the importance of meticulous planning, record-keeping and time management.

If I could go back in time, I would not want to change anything. I am successful in my profession. I have a wonderful husband and two children who have always seen my success as theirs. I am blessed.

It is vital for everyone to stay engaged. Age is just a number that exists only in the mind. However, with advancing years, it is important to do what one enjoys. After all, you lead your life only once!”

Mala Bindra

Photo and Interview credits: Saonli Sen Choudhury of WisdomCircle

Read more stories of inspirational seniors embarking on new journeys in their golden year on WisdomCircle.

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