Life coach, counselor, actor, momager and now an author Yasmin Sait has added one to many feathers on her cap. Mother of actors Danish and Kubbra Sait, she hopes to empower women to introspect and find a purpose through her debut novel, Manan. Far from being a self-help book, it is a collection of anecdotes and life lessons of nine inspiring sexagenarian women, all from different walks of life, constantly reiterating that ‘Life begins at 60’.
While most first-time authors choose to write on their adolescent or childhood, Sait’s book takes on a refreshing approach. She brings in nine women, all in their 60s and beyond, to talk about their work and what keeps them going. These women are doctors, activists, artists who overcame societal stereotypes to add meaning to their individual lives. We might not know most of them because of their limited social media presence, but they are people who have made their careers living life on their own terms. While all of them have had their own share of good and bad experiences, ‘I have no regrets,’ is one of the constant appearances in their stories. Is that what binds them together?
Sait doesn’t disagree with the observation in an interview to SheThePeople, but admits it was more like their ‘never die attitude’ that bought them into the book.
“I researched a lot, collected a lot of stories. All these women despite going through a lot, were ready to drop the baggage and move ahead. They were ready to embrace new things, that was one of the commonality between all of them. They were full of life. We all go through something, have a certain life graph of ups and downs, but we must never hold onto things. Hence, when I asked them to be a part of this book, I gave them a framework, I told them to narrate their present stories, not of their past, something that they were leading now, that they were in control of.”
Yasmin Sait interview: On identity-crisis and rebirth
Sait was an entrepreneur and had years of experience in corporate before she started working as a manager for her celebrity kids, Kubbra and Danish. However, she stepped down from the position in 2018 and admitted feeling quite directionless ever since.
“I felt I did not have an identity of my own. I have been working for many years, and hence coming closer to 60s I had a hard time accepting that it was perhaps not necessary to have a job. I was going through lots of uncertainty, insecurities, and that’s when I wondered if it was just me or does every women goes through the same. So I started talking around, did some research in my own way to find what’s happening. Through it, I realised that most woman in the age bracket of 50-55 generally give up because they feel everything’s done with life now. This mindset leads them to withdrawing from things that they would generally do independently.”
However, Sait did not want to give up yet. She was not done, and wanted to continue. “Women for ages have been bound in these roles, and it is difficult to break them, to come out of them. It can be tough but we must learn to let go. During these last years, when I felt lost, I started introspecting myself, asking questions like if I was ready to take a leap of faith, to check if I can still manage my life. I also wanted to detach from various labels, and so I started putting this framework and began identifying the women who began a new life in their 60s and how did they do it. It was certainly my inquisitiveness that birthed this book.”
On emotional well-being and self-worth
Sait’s women and their stories take an interesting turn when they mention about seeking help for their emotional well-being. It is uplifting to note elderly women talking about mental health and choosing it above one and all.
“Seeking help for mental health has always been a stigma and will remain so until the awareness has reached to each and everyone. If you need help, you should say so without any hesitation. And its not just women, I think it also stands for men, because all of of us go through tough spots. When we say self-worth, be it any relationship, it is paramount to draw a boundary for ourselves and our loved ones. You must know what your limits are and subtly let them know their limits. No relationship can go wrong if we maintain healthy boundaries.
Life goes on and it gets better
Manan, as the title suggests, asks us to delve deeper oneself and find a calling. Its insights and learnings come from women, who lived a life and continue to seek higher purpose. Their stories offer words of wisdom, answers and life-lessons through their mistakes, with sense of belongingness, relatability, Sait thinks the book acts as a window for younger women on how life can be if when we decide to choose ourselves each day.
“It gets better. Nothing comes on platter, and it requires a lot of practice. Take one step at a time, you will slowly and steadily reach your purpose. Learn to be alone and practice to stay with yourself, because if you can’t how do you expect somebody else to entertain you. You have to be your own cheerleader, only then you can pick yourself up each time. If you don’t love yourself, how will you love others?”
Suggested Reading: Kubbra Sait on Dreaming Big And Going After Your Goals