Loretoites Participate in an Engaging Session – Increasing Old Age Homes in India

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Loreto Convent Tara Hall

Keekli Reporter, 14th November, 2018, Shimla

Loreto Convent Tara HallWhen it’s all about fun and frolic for children on 14th November, a day specially earmarked for them, School Principal Sister A Nirmala and the Management, went a step ahead as they organized a panel discussion on the topic “Increasing Old Age Homes in India”, a first of its kind in the institute. The school thus invited four eminent citizens of the society for a discussion with the students, to engage and educate them and to share their views on why the increasing trend. The members of the panel were Mrs Bansal, worked in paramedics and retired from Rippon Hospital; Anamika Malhotra, motivational speaker, Dr Suruchi Bhagra, Assistant Professor, Microbiology, IGMC; and Vandana Bhagra, Keekli Newspaper Publisher/Editor.

The morning began with an entertainment session for the students, with the teacher’s amazing performances on stage. A couple of dances, songs and an insightful enactment that gave an important lesson to the kids that why values are so important in life. No matter how difficult circumstances become in life, but one should never let go off their values.

Loreto Convent Tara HallThe highlight of the morning was the panel discussion on “Increasing Old Age Homes in India” – Mrs Bansal shared her views on the topic, by encouraging children to love and respect their children, no matter what the circumstances, children should always make the effort and time to meet their grandparents. Anamika Malhotra too gave few insightful pointers that how important grandparents are in the lives of children. The students participating in the panel discussion presented few strong views and Aishwarya even requested the gathering to stand and take a pledge that, we as individuals will care, love and spend time with our elders and do everything in our capacity to take care of them, like they did of their own children.

Loreto Convent Tara HallThe stark reality of today is that the last two decades have seen a sudden increase in Old Age Homes in India. This has been a thing of the Western world due to the cultural differences and the upbringing of the children, as such that they soon leave their parents once they attain the age of 16 plus. But, India is altogether a different story. Here parents are equivalent to Gods and you take care of them until the end of time. Yes, times have changed, people, children and loved ones no longer have that much time. In the hustle to make money, lots and lots of money, children have relocated to bigger cities leaving their parents back home. Paucity of time and of course money, has restricted children and grandchildren to only annual visits to their parental or maternal home. Hence, grandchildren are deprived of the love, compassion and sweet stories of their grandparents, something which once was the essence of a joint family. Even a state like Himachal could not be spared as there are now twelve Old Age Homes, and three alone in Shimla. The highest number comes from the South Indian States, while the overall figures stand at 758 all over India.

Adding her viewpoints, Dr Suruchi said that grandparents form a special bond with their grandchildren and they need utmost care and compassion. She even enumerated a couple of old age diseases, which was another important reason for the elderly being left alone as there usually is no one in the family to care for them. Rather this is the most critical time for them when they need the family support. Keekli Editor, Vandana shared more factual points, about the changing demographic profile of a place as an important reason for abandoning parents to seek jobs and better means of a livelihood. Rest of the participants too pooled equally important points that old age is something that will greet everyone some day, there is no escaping it, but what is sown today will bear the same fruits tomorrow. We need to change our attitudes today, need to spend quality time with our grandparents, need to hear to their stories, and need to love them as they are.

School Principal Sister Nirmala, on a very nostalgic note, too shared her own story, how a member of her own family was mistreated and not cared for, that she left one day without anything and was never found. It is heartening to see that you spend a lifetime raising your children, caring little for your own needs, and then some day those same children forget to care for you.

Like is a boomerang, what goes around comes around.  One day you too will follow the same path, your children will repeat your actions only, so give them the right values and set an example, you would be proud of.    

The day ended with a token of appreciation from the school to the panellists and a sweet dedication by Anamika Malhotra.

दादा दादी की अनमोल कहानिया

अनामिका मल्होत्रा

जो तरह-तरह की कहानियाँ सुनाती है, 
जिसके बोलों में ममता सिमट कर आती है,
ज़िंदगी का ज्ञान जिसकी आँखों में है,
हर बात को तरीके से आगाह कराती है ।
मम्मी की डांट से बचाती है,
कभी माँ से भी ज्यादा प्यार लुटाती है,
संस्कार उसके स्वभाव में है,
बिना सिखाए सिखाती जाती है ।
उसका लाड़ से मुझे बुलाना,
पूजा करते हुए हर बार कुछ नया बताना,
हर त्योहार पर उसका सार समझाना,
हर तकलीफ पर नया नुस्खा बताना ।
सुंदर लगने पर नजर का काला टीका लगाना,
अपने बच्चपन् की बातों से पुराने किस्से,
वो रिश्ते-नातों से अवगत कराना,
किस तरह मेहनत का समय था वो ।
न टीवी, न रेडियो और फोन तो दूर तक न था,
पर फिर भी वो समय कितना सुंदर था,
हर प्रकार का ज्ञान था,
ज्ञान देने वालों का अधिक मान था ।
बदलते समय के साथ किस खूबसूरती से बदलते गए वो लम्हे,
हमे तो इसका इल्म तक न था,  
परिवारों में कितना अधिक प्यार था,
इक दूजे के लिए किया त्याग, त्याग न था ।
एक खिलौना, एक कमरा नहाने का,
एक सब्ज़ी में खुशी से गुजारा था, शालीनता स्वभाव में थी.
और आज सब-कुछ है हमारे पास,
पर फिर वो शालीनता नहीं, जितना है उतनी ही और की चाह है ।
क्या हम ऐसी अनमोल धरोहर को कहीं जाने देंगे,
मेरे प्यारे दादा-दादी को कहीं छोड़ जाने देंगे, 
क्या इस कदर मतलबी हो जाएंगे कि,
प्यार लेते समय तो लिया, देते समय संपत्ति हो जाएंगे,
क्या इस विशेष धन को हम यूं ही लुटा देंगे ?
यदि पेड़ की शाखा टूट जाए तो क्या करें,
क्या पेड़ को जड़ से कटवाएँगे?
यदि पेड़ अपनी जड़ से अलग हो जाएँ तो वजूद खो देगा,
जड़ों में पानी दें तो तना फिर खिल उठेगा।
जरूरत न पड़े मेरे भारत मे वृद्धाश्रमों की,
गृहस्थ आश्रम को इतना सुंदर बनाएंगे ।

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