I am reproducing below a very touching article ‘And I cried…’ by Atul Mathur who visited an Old Age Home - Care2Care.
We admitted a 84 year old frail & sick lady last Sunday (1/1/09) at Omashram Old Age Home abandoned by her children. And another lady 93 year old whose children themselves had become old and found it difficult to look after her at home Our story is the same. The caretaker in Omashram story is ‘Geeta Didi’ , co-founder of Omashram Trust who has been selflessly caring for these unfortunate souls for the past 9 years.
And I Cried ...
An article by Atul Mathur
CARE2CARE, 01-11 -2009 14:29:
I happened to meet Dr Mona Kapur in the Face to Face party. As she runs an NGO it was my wife’s desire to meet her so that we also could do something for humanity....some service to mankind...in some miniscule way.....its the ‘drops of water’ that make an Ocean don’t they.... we thought.
Our desire led us to Mona ‘Didi’ (I can never call her Mona Kapur any longer..she is ‘Didi’ surely..a ‘godly’ sister not only to me but to the complete community that makes up her NGO)..We were at her home day before yesterday from where the Care 2 Care foundation is run. The Care 2 Care foundation runs numerous social service programmes which include programs for women empowerment, for the aged , for orphans and the underprivileged, for the differently abled and many more.
Sush, my wife, had told me many a time that she wants to look after the ‘elderly’ / the ‘aged’. She did feel compassion for orphans and the underprivileged, but it was for the aged that Sush felt a strong desire to serve. Her reasoning was ...the ‘orphans’ probably had not seen life yet...and they still had life ahead to look forward to....but the elderly...the one’s who probably had seen happier days, people who had probably sacrificed many a thing for their wards..now ‘shunned’ by their near and dear one’s, simply surviving and waiting for the ultimate destination. Should they not be the recipient of ‘love’ in this phase of their lives ...something which they too surely must have sprinkled along the way as they grew up.
While at Mona Didi’s place, we were informed about the NGO and all the work that they undertook, by Dinesh...tea was served by Urvana..(God Bless you both...Mona Didi is surely privileged to have both of you with her). The conversations led us to be shown the video of the ‘Old Age Home’ run by Care to Care...
Elderly faces propped up one by one on the laptop, each with its own sad tale...
-An elderly man who had done MA (Hons) English in 1965, abandoned by his children at the station, with the promise that they would be back to plan his Teerth Yatra’..never to return
-An elderly women who kept saying ‘Mere liye Heere kee chain zaroor laana...
-An elderly man who would stretch his arms as if to beg on seeing anybody...(Probably had been forced to beg for ages)
-A women who would tell her address somewhere in Laxmi Nagar...but who remembered nothing else.
Stories..Tales..Stories...70 elders..70 different stories. Elders with no control on their body functions...elders suffering from Alzhiemer’s... ..elders with total memory loss....elders who would continuously cry...
Amidst this I saw Mona Didi hugging them, trying to cheer some of them up. Life had not lost meaning for them.
A 90+ (98 I am told) year old women who was fond of dancing, was motivated enough to get up and dance. The ‘Nepali Baba’ another resident of the Home danced along. The ‘pallu’ of the women never slipped. She was continuously conscious of how her saree was draped. The ‘Nepali Baba’ tried to touch her....the women tapped his hand away and felt shy as any other 16 year old would...Whenever the 98 year old lady felt tired she would squat/ sit...but her zest for life made her stand again and dance. And even finally when she lay on her bed, she began the ‘Nagin’ dance....What a lady...At 98, so full of life...how could someone throw her away..?
I wondered at life’s paradox. Me a man who ‘yearned’ for parents love (both my parents are no more) did not have them...and here I saw people who had their parents and did not want them...
Another ’old’ lady equally motivated was all ready to get her pictures clicked. She was conscious enough to tidy up her dress, but never did believe that the photograph had been taken till the camera flashed...Technology had moved
forward, but her brain probably had come to a stand still at a certain period in time...
The video whirred....our feelings stirred....
I am never without a handkerchief. That day, I had thought that I would send Sush in to meet Dr Mona Kapur and I would wait outside. It was she who wanted to work for the NGO was it not? I had dressed up in a hurry, trousers, shirt et all....Identity cards, purse, mobile all kept....handkerchief however conveniently forgotten. How was I to know that I would be watching the video too...a video that would stir emotions to such an extent.
Every story ...every face in that video was bringing a tear in my eye...Control, Control....you are a Man...I thought.
As the 98 year old lady danced and I saw her zest for life, and my mind wandered to the thought that how she had been abandoned...and also when I saw her feeling shy as a 16 year old when Nepali Baba lunged forward to touch her...I knew I was losing control. But how could I show tears to all present ..No..I just could not.
I don’t know if any one noticed. My hands , reached for my pocket to search for the handkerchief. I could always use it and say something went in my eye...
My hands searched my trouser pocket ...the car key...it was there,....the pamphlet of Care to Care it was there...the mobile phone it was there...No Hanky..God help!
A tear then simply rolled out of my eye...And I cried...
Happy Diwali to all the inmates of this Old Age Home!!!!
Mona Didi ..Sush and I are now permanently attached with your NGO. You may utilize our services whichever way and whenever you want!!!! .
Omashram Trust, 850, 5th Cross, 11th Main, Vijaya Bank Colony, Bilekahalli, Bannerghatta Road, Bangalore 560 076, INDIA. Phone: 080-26581682 Mobile:9845567663 email: firstname.lastname@example.org