Spreading smiles at sprightly 87

 Marjorie Suares (top row, third from left) lives life to the fullest, inspiring her students to take a leaf out of her happiness book.

‘Don’t count the years in your life, but the life in those years.’ Now, that is something Marjorie Suares would readily agree with. While most octogenarians tend to show age-related crankiness and wallow in self pity with a perpetually complaining tongue, this 87-year-old retired physical instructor brings on a whole new perspective on how to live life with zest and hope.

A fresh whiff of breeze, the one-time physical trainer at Bishop Cotton Girls School has dedicated her retirement to staying healthy with happy and positive thoughts. Some say that it only seemed like the obvious choice for Suares after having served the school as an instructor for almost 40 years until she retired at the age of 60. Even today, she is in the pink of health, staying active and enthusiastic about all that’s happening around the world.

“The enthusiasm in her voice was infectious, and I felt I was talking to a 30-year-old and not a 87-year-old,” says Nazu Tonse, who tried to arrange for a meeting between Suares and her students.

Even today, her students enjoy the company of their favourite sports instructor. Recently they got together with her at her Wheeler Road Extension apartment and together journeyed down memory lane. They reminisced about the golden years when Suraes honed the sporting skills of national athletes like Nandini Parasad, Preethi Joseph and Loretta Wate.

Glories of the past

Suares has several accolades to her credit. She was a participant at the Lucknow Olympiad in 1948 where she broke the 16-foot long jump record for women. She also came third in the high jump event in the 1951 Asian Games. She was also the caption of the State hockey and basketball teams — positions she retained for several years to come.

Suares was also a born leader and a confident administrator. She started the State Women’s Hockey Association and was the secretary of the BSAA (Bangalore Schools Athletics’ Association), a prestigious position she held for 15 years. She was also a member of the Old Cottonians Association and the school Parent-Teacher Association.

A disciplinarian

The best bit from the rendevous with Suares was that it enabled all present to see the person behind the successful career woman. Always a `live wire, bursting with dynamism, Suares was also known to be very strict and an ardent disciplinarian. But when she let her guard down, she was very kind and compassionate.

Being a physical education teacher for so many years may have something to do with her active and lively persona and sparkling mind. She is keen to perpetuate the thinking that  one needn’t necessarily be married to attain success in life, and that women can be independent, self-reliant and successful, all at the same time. Today, she and her sisters support each other through their twilight years.

Suares also says she is grateful for each and every day that she has been gifted. About Bangalore, this is what she has to say. “Bangalore has grown so much in the past years, yet I would like to remember the way it was 30-40 years ago, as at that time it truly was a Garden City and a Pensioner’s Paradise.”

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