Picture Courtesy: Sweekriti Gautam
The sun rises with the glory of dawn in our life. One cannot escape alive from the maze we call life and that is the eternal truth. Human body cannot always dance with the ease that it could in its youth, so the elders must search a corner of refuge to silently console themselves. They have to search for a shelter when their own family no longer remain their own. The elderly people then reach out to the old age homes in search of shelter.
Social welfare center elderly home, Pashupatinath, is a century old elderly home built in the regime of Surendra Bir Bikram Shah. The old age home is managed by the ministry of women and social welfare of Nepal. Elderly people must register themselves to get shelter in the old age home. The old age home provides clothing provisions twice a year. The establishment has the capacity to provide shelter to 230 people. The elderly home is situated in the Hindu temple complex, Pashupatinath.
Once you enter the premises of the elderly home, you feel like you’ve travelled back a century. There were many gray haired, elderly citizens doing nothing but spending their blissful moments basking in the sun. Some curious eyes will follow you as you pass the welfare gate, with the hope to get something.
An elderly said "I don't feel sad that I have to live here. I have only one son and he doesn't care for me anymore. I enjoy living here, far from hatred on the lap of lord Shiva." The modernization and urbanization has switched people's mind towards nuclear families and the old people are having hard times.
Kanchi Maya, an 80 year old from Ason added that she had to live alone in her home. So, she moved in to the old age home six years ago. She found good companions there with whom she could at least share her feelings and ideas. An elderly, of around 88 said that she was brought there by the Pashupati Area Development Trust. The trust demolished her house and compelled her to live in the old age home. She has lived there for sixteen years.
Ram Bahadur Mahato from Ramechhap said, "My life was a struggle. I have no one in my family. My parents died when I was young. I didn't get married. I am happy to live here. They give us food, clothes and take care of us, which is all we need because after all we are going to die one day. The college students like you all and other people from outside provide us more food and clothes than that we get from the old age home."
We found that most of them were genuinely happy to live there, "No tension and an easy life" is what a person wants in their old age. We had distributed a packet of biscuit to everyone and it bought a smile on their face. It really gave me a deep sense of satisfaction. They told their story with an innocent face and their eyes full of tears which really pinched my heart. The change in time and attitude of new generations has left the old people in the shelter homes, giving them pain and sorrow at the end of their life.