A happy new beginning in life
Started by Raja Melvani, this warm and vibrant recreation centre for senior citizens at downtown Panaji is a platform where the elderly gather on a daily basis and engage into various activities that keep them cheerful and active, physically as well as mentally
27th October 2019, 03:19 Hrs
They are all 60 plus and 90 in number, and their bucket list is endless. Every day is a new day for them and hence, it is spent as if there’s no tomorrow. Life does not end after retirement and 60 is just a number for the members at the B N Melvani Recreation Centre for Senior Citizens at Mala in the downtown Fontainhas area in Panaji. The members look forward to various activities that keep them busy in their retired life. It is a cheerful, bright and well-ventilated space open from 10 am to 7 pm Monday to Saturday. They do not carry any baggage of past identities and are known by their first names.They believe in living one day at a time.
And the catalysts who bind them are Saloni and Suri, a retired couple who has become the foot-soldiers to organise activities for these elderly. “It’s a wonderful platform to foster camaraderie and bonhomie amongst senior citizens. It is also a great opportunity for young professionals to share their relevant knowledge and expertise and thereby enrich themselves with blessings from senior citizens,” states Saloni, 59, who is a member along with her husband Suri who is 69. Fond of budgeted but unchartered travelling, the couple has sketched road maps for their ‘Incredible India’ road travels. The couple has been travelling for the past 20 years and that has kept both fit. Whenever they are in Goa, they organise these events at the centre and make necessary arrangements for the indoor and outdoor activities so that the place comes alive.
Likewise there are others who are retired and free. Some live with their families, some alone. “All of us need open conversations and ever-evolving roles. It is for this reason that we script our roles and contributions, making our journey more important than the destination,” states Saloni who agrees that herself and Suri have left behind their identities at this juncture of life.
Activities and events keep adding. Apart from health related activities, there are also heritage walks, yoga classes, medical camps, movie screenings, Hindi musical karaoke sessions and guest talks on diet and nutrition and various other topics relevant to second innings of senior citizens. Once every month a ‘social’ get-together is organised to celebrate birthdays of members. The oldest member is 90 years old, more than half the members are in their 60s and rest are in their 70s and 80s. Recent birthday celebrations had all the seniors on their feet, rocking, singing, dancing and even learning to play the ukulele, courtesy energetic and musical Kadence team from Panaji. Well equipped with WiFi, computer, TV, mini-library, daily newspapers in English and Marathi, drawing and colouring sheets for creative outlet, and board games like carom and chess keep the members engaged. For the safety and security of the senior citizens, CCTV cameras are also installed.
One room is equipped with medical examination bed earmarked for medical camps and also has devices like electronic BP monitor, digital weighing machine and SPO2 device. Another room is equipped with physiotherapy equipment for light ‘arms and legs’ exercises. In nine months the membership has touched 90 and this include people from all walks of life – teachers, doctors, engineers, chartered accountants etc. who come from Mala, Panaji, Campal, St Inez, Caranzalem, Tonca, Dona Paula, Bambolim, Miramar, Vasco, Porvorim, Merces, Britonna, Thivim, Mapusa and Siolim – just to spend time and participate in various events that are organised from time to time.
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