We live, we die, but only memories survive! I visited Paramshantidham Vrudhashram, an old age home, on 14th May in Mumbai for the very first time! I remember being taken to one on behalf of my school when I was probably in 3rd or 4th standard. But that time, I was too young, immature and carefree to sense the scenario there. All we could do was to play along hanging here and there! So, this was indeed the first time for me and the experience totally left me excruciated. I witnessed the agony of so many abandoned parents at the place.
An old handicapped grand father was bed ridden and couldn’t even speak (only listen), but his toothless giggles and an attempt to interact with me made me speechless. And I did converse with him for a while with the help of his translator besides him. I was so shattered in that ambiance with my eyes soaked in their miseries that I didn’t feel like clicking too many pictures there but couldn’t stop myself from capturing this lady in my phone. Even the little conversation that I had with her is still profoundly etched in my heart and I’m gonna cherish it for the rest of my life!
She is a great grand mommy with 3 sons who are settled abroad happy in their own lives and even their wives have denied to take her responsibility. And her ‘only’ daughter seized all her property and admitted her here and pays extra money to the authorities directing them never to allow anyone meet her. Even at this age she is brimming with zeal and zest for life. The way she performs all her daily chores and duties there, is unbelievable but can give complex to today’s youth and in fact, made me too feel ashamed of what a lazy person I am. Her twinkling eyes were constantly gazing at me and smiling! She was awed with my tresses and stated that at one point of time even she possessed such long hair which were even healthier. She uttered in a distressed tone that even she was beautiful during her days but time took a toll on her and her age diminished her aura.
Well, I don’t think so! Like really? Look at her, can we find someone prettier than her in this era of plastic people? Even a layer of cc cream behind my face couldn’t cease me from fading in front of her naturally glowing skin. While I bid adieu to her after taking her blessings on this 14th, Mother’s day, the only tip she gave me was “Beta baal bas parties me khola karo… aise baandh ker rakhna nazar lag jati hai” (“Don’t leave your hair loose and untied all the time, otherwise they might be a prey to bad omen”) and I braided my hair straight away! :’)
We are so fortunate to have all the luxuries of life but we still keep on complaining all the time for our petty needs as there’s no end to our ostentatious desires. And look at them, their life is void of even the basic family love, belongingness and compassion and then too, they are contented with a constant glee on their faces with ‘no complaints, no demands’! And all we can do is visit these old age homes, be generous and empathetic towards them! But what are we doing to our own parents? What kind of future are we making them head towards? Aren’t we using them till we need them and again leaving their melancholy lives alone and abandoned in gloom to be compelled to take shelter in an old age home?
I’m no one to pitch my sardonic lectures on anybody when I myself yell and argue with my parents. I’m not even worth an apology from them as even my 100 ‘Sorry’s cannot compensate the million endless sacrifices they’ve made for me and still on the go! But these memories will certainly hurl my conscience when I procure the audacity to misbehave with them again.
Today, I’m in a perplexed state of mind whether these old age homes should survive or not! I mean, elderly people are thrown into them when they need love and family the most. Don’t they deserve to stay with their loved ones in a healthy environment for whom they have sacrificed their whole lives? On the contrary, the way these old age homes are making such a noble initiative by providing shelter and basic amenities for the needy senior citizens which even their progeny are not capable of, is commendable.
What I loved about Paramshantidham Vrudhashram old age home!
- a fully functional kitchen run by the authorities where the staff does the needful
- a big music room where they can find solace listening to bhajans early morning
- apart from dormitories, there are individual rooms as well provided to them
- a large spacious room to preserve the bulk vegetables brought for them
- a complete dinning area with a Television set for their entertainment
I’d like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to Ms. Preeta Kh Sh & Mr. Utppal Dev Krishh for taking me along to the old age home with them this time! UK, a fellow blogger and a ‘father figure’ for me visits the place every week accompanied by his family and his NGO members. Incidentally, he is the founder of “Being the Real Human Foundation” where they indulge into a couple of such social causes. And the most benevolent part is that they carry useful gifts of their choice for them as well as a few items of need asked by the people there.
Feels this Bombay trip has done ample justice to me and made my travel worthwhile! That visit to the old age home has definitely sent me back with a sense of realization that will contribute in making me a better person and moreover a better daughter to my parents. Amen! 😇
PS: While writing this post, I was reminded of my dear friend and fellow blogger Purba’s memoir about her Granny and how she took care of her old and ailing grandmother till her last breath. She has written that whatever she has done for her Granny was nothing in front of what her Granny had done to her throughout her life. Can’t every child think the same way and take care of his/her parents or grandparents? Think about it! It’s not difficult and above all, the world would certainly be a better place to live in.