15th June, 2015, had been etched in my mobile reminders as “event at Pushpamaa Foundation,Veer Savarkar Park, Borivili West” but it certainly did not prepare me for an evening to remember for life.
Reaching there well in time in the drizzle of the rain, I sat on the swings watching the elderly on the other swings. The man on the swing next to me sat there singing a Dev Anand film song to himself as I smiled, enjoying the melody. The euphoria began to build as 250+ Dada-Dadis with their young ones walked into the garden area and the event began to take wings.
The Event was a Walkathon by elders on the occasion of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. This was to be followed by the launch of heart touching Video release – a Poem by Anshuman Bhagwat, audio visual production by Sugar Mediaz, narrated by Darrpan Mehta and subtitled by me for a social cause. The poet in the video talks about being caught up in his own world and leaving his parents in the backyard room only to realise that one day he too will have to face the same fate.
The Walkathon was conceptualised and spearheaded by Sailesh Mishra, founder of Silver Inning Foundation, an NGO to create awareness about Elder Abuse and to create a Society for all Ages and ably supported by Ramaa Subramaniam. Banners in hand and slogans to stop Elder Abuse rang out loud with Sailesh Mishra leading the voices. It was a treat to walk alongside as the smiles and the enthusiasm led the group towards the dome. The dome in the middle of the garden was soon filled with smiling faces watching the group of girls perform to dances choreographed by Sneha Mehta Shah. Followed by the video release, the evening air was soon filled with karaoke singing that never seemed to end. What amazing singers and of course I shook a leg as they sang.
The purple heart chosen as the icon and the colour of purple which everyone had worn that day intrigued me to inquire the reason why? I was truly touched to learn that Sailesh Mishra had chosen the purple heart with a reason- that being to symbolise the colour of a bruise that turns from purple to red to black. The ‘purple heart’ was a cry to stop elder abuse.
No one wanted to leave and the day ended with gupshup over vada pau and coffee with the ever enthusiastic Jimmy Dordi and his fellow members. Its events like this that makes you realise that even though they may be called “elders” or “senior citizens”, there is a love for life that overwhelms and envelops you when you are with them. I may not look my age, may be young at heart, but end of the day, I am also one of them- a senior citizen with a zest for life.
– Hira Mehta