The dining room was buzzing with the usual morning chitter-chatter. The table was laid down with elaborate breakfast menu: Idli-sambhar, Aloo-poori, french toast and the overflowing cups of chai. The groups of twos and threes were spread across the whole room enjoying their first meal of the day together. It was indeed a house full of people!
‘Sushma ji, have you seen my glasses? How am I supposed to read this newspaper? Verma must have again stolen the glasses from my room’, Mr. Batra enquired while knocking down things from the mantle.
‘Batra ji, it must be here somewhere. Have some idli-sambhar and then we will find your glasses together’, replied Sushma ji with a shy smile.
‘Verma…Verma…VERMA! Give me back my glasses.’, but Mr. Verma was unperturbed by the noise with his back still facing Mr. Batra. ‘For God’s sake, someone turn on his hearing aid again!’, continued Mr. Batra with shrugged shoulders.
A gentle pat on his shoulder by Sushma ji and his demeanor changed from furious to curious. ‘Let’s have breakfast, I am waiting for you’.
Then, there was the group of men with discussions ranging from the doomed Sensex to the Russia-Ukraine conflict. The foreign policy, India-China supremacy or the rising prices of electronics – no topic was restricted. Occasionally, you could also hear the news anchor on the TV in the background.
In the opposite corner of the room sat, Mr. & Mrs. Rao having hushed discussions. The worried looks on their faces had a story to tell. Everything fell silent when Mrs. Rao’s silent tears turned into sobs. The story unfolded of how their son had stopped sending them money four months back and their savings had depleted in the medical expenses. It was not the first time when this group of people were facing this dilemma.
Mr. Guha, Mr. Sharma & Mrs. Gulati decided to pitch in the money to help with the continued medical care of the Rao couple. Living in an old age home came with its own set of problems!
Everyone in the room had a different story of how they ended up in the ‘Asha Niketan’. Some were abandoned by their children, some had no family left or some were living there willingly. Together they had become each other’s family, enjoying the highs and lows of the advancing age. Sushma ji & Mr. Batra had lost their spouses long ago & found comfort in each other’s company.
The reminders to take medication on time or to charge the hearing aids. Even, occasional reminders to put in the dentures were not unusual. Each new admission to the old age home was celebrated and became an extension of this family. Diwali, Eid & Christmas were spent in sharing delicacies & celebrating together. Asha Niketan became the place where people found their will to live the second innings of life.
After all, everyone deserved second chance at love!
This story is written for StorytellersBlogHop Season 3 hosted by MeenalSonal and Ujjwal Mishra
Amritha Srinath(20th March 2023 - 15:54)
Now, this is a beautiful story depicting many shades of love, human relations and emotions. It is sad that more and more Asha Niketans are created each day with complete booking. But sometimes, as one must look at the positive side, such age homes bring in the comfort of companions, routine and new love in the lives of elderly who are lonely and live their life with dependency and sadness.
Pooja Jha(19th March 2023 - 23:41)
If the Asha Niketans are this beautiful, I wish spend my old age here in such Asha niketan with my husband and have companions for rest of my life. This is also a tender age where people need support, love care and some hope for rest of the life. And if thee is same age group who can understand the same feelings, there is nothing better than this. It is such a beautiful take on old age friendship.
Dipika Singh(19th March 2023 - 14:26)
This is the hard reality of our society, isn’t it! Why love has a said definition and only meant for younger generation. We are social human beings and always prefer a company. Society must not draw any LakshmanRekha in age and love. Beautiful story.
Sakshi(19th March 2023 - 09:16)
I admire how to touched upon a very sensitive social change yet brought out a more positive outcome of what can be deemed as a painful / sorrowful / lonely stage of life. Very nicely done.
Loved the shades of love.
Anushka Bhartiya(18th March 2023 - 19:09)
Another beautiful shade of love ❤️ old age needs company and family. Happy to read about love between strangers who come together and define love in such a different way 🙌🏽 congratulations to the writer!
Sonali Kathuria(14th March 2023 - 23:42)
Beautiful yet heart-wrenching reality depicted simply in subtle and sober tone. It is true, all families don’t share the same blood. :’)
Ujjwal Mishra(13th March 2023 - 13:11)
Friendship and companionship are necessary shades of love for all of us to have a fulfilling life.
Prisha Lalwani(12th March 2023 - 15:13)
Love love love love love this story. So sweet, so beautiful, so grown up and undemanding. I mean, gorgeous!!!!!! Love when you reach an age when u don’t care about society anymore.
MeenalSonal(11th March 2023 - 13:04)
You have said a lot in crisp words! Your story has put forward a hard reality of parents being left alone by the children. But at the same time your story leaves a message of hope that life doesn’t stop there it is all about moving ahead.
Aditi Kapur(8th March 2023 - 15:53)
Yet another form of love.. It’s a sad but true story of the aged people in our society. One can not deny it. Finding love in such situations is a blessing. Nice take on the prompt.
Monidipa Dutta(7th March 2023 - 02:16)
Hopeful and beautiful. A family that came together in an old age home. Two people who found comfort in each other is really beautiful..
Sivaranjini Anandan(5th March 2023 - 14:38)
Wow a family made of love in the old-age home truly love of such kind is precious beyond measure. Loved the way of narrative.
Jaideep(2nd March 2023 - 19:20)
I am touched by this heartwarming story thas highlights the beauty of human connections and the importance of being there for each other in difficult times. It reminds me that even in a world that can be cruel and isolating, there are still places where people come together to form a community and find comfort in each other’s company.
Chinmayee Gayatree Sahu(26th February 2023 - 16:24)
It is a sad reality of today that such places exist. But just like every coin has two sides, these places mirror the reality, of hope and of new bonds ! A beautifully crafted story!
Cindy D'Silva(23rd February 2023 - 18:18)
Awww this is another kind of love altogether. Lovely. It is sad that kids abandon their own parents. But I hope all of them are happy in the old age home, whether abandoned or not.
Chitra Iyer(21st February 2023 - 10:41)
The story is beautifully written; sad but hopeful at the same time.
Zenobia Merchant(20th February 2023 - 22:23)
A beautiful story with an extremely important message. Barring a few grammatical errors, your story was a wonderful read. Loved it.
Jaideep(6th March 2023 - 14:32)
Good to see that even in old age, people can find comfort, love, and a sense of belonging through their relationships with others. The story highlights the importance of companionship, empathy, and kindness in creating a supportive community, especially for those who may have been abandoned by their families or have lost their loved ones. Despite facing various challenges and struggles, the characters in the story find solace in each other’s company and form a new family, demonstrating the resilience of the human spirit and the power of human connection.
Deepika Sharma(20th February 2023 - 22:17)
The camaraderie is so important in old age. You have depicted their emotions and troubles and how they become a support to each other unfortunately children abandoning their parents is still a reality
Swarnali Nath(20th February 2023 - 19:21)
This is one of the best stories I have read in this blog hop. I always like to read stories of life. And here you have woven a story where love has many shades along with all people are showing their love for life. How beautifully you have written the story, loved reading it to the core.
Romila(19th February 2023 - 19:18)
It’s unfortunately very common for aging parents to be left behind by their adult children and they definitely find a door to their second innings sometimes through these old age houses new friendships, new connections and new love can be found and your story reflected it so well.
Ambica Gulati(19th February 2023 - 09:45)
The story brings out so many emotions–it;s sad, realistic and maybe being lived by so mnay elderly people. But it’s also about new friends, new ways of living and accepting change.
Rakhi Jayashankar(26th February 2023 - 20:15)
Senior living is a concept that is gaining acceptance these days. It is indeed a good thought to bring about their story and create awareness about this is not just an “old age home” that we have seen in movies. There is much more to it.