April 26, 2010

INDIA: Beauty of old age to the fore

. VIJAYAWADA, Andhra Pradesh / The Hindu / April 26, 2010 By Staff Reporter So much has been said and sung about the beauty of youth, but Sunday was an occasion to wake up to the beauty of old age. The 120-odd of them, all in the twilight of their lives, exhibited commendable sportiveness that enlivened their surroundings. HAND-IN-HAND: A senior citizen helps another elderly woman at a Governament college in Vijayawada on Sunday. Photo: Raju V. The sprawling ground of the SRR & CVR Government College teemed with activity as the bunch of enthusiastic elderly persons trooped in to be part of the third anniversary celebrations of the Vayovruddha Charitable Trust, an organisation floated by a group of volunteers to assist the old and destitute septuagenarians. Games like musical chair, brisk walk and a fancy dress, conducted as part of the annual celebration, drew enthusiastic participation. Toothless grins escaped through wrinkled faces as they tried to stand erect on their shaky legs when greeted by members of the trust. There are compensations for growing older. It was easy to conclude that almost all of them have reached a stage of wisdom. They may have withdrawn from active accomplishments, age may have rendered their bodies less powerful or they may have been deprived of loud enjoyments, but their eyes continue to twinkle at the thought of being cared about. “Respect to elders is an essential component of the Hindu culture. It is heart-warming to see these elderly persons clinging on to hope that reflects in their eyes, their energy level and the gusto with which they take life,” said A.V. Krishnam Raju, Vice-Chancellor of the Dr. NTR University of Health Sciences. The Vice-Chancellor was addressing a meeting organised to distribute clothes, grocery, footwear and other material to the 120 members of the trust. Since the feeble body does not cooperate for physical labour in old age, the elderly lot must rely on vocational skills that can help them earn money also. He said every individual must realise his social responsibility and act accordingly. M. Aditya Prasad, Director of the All India Radio, Vijayawada, pointed out that many of the older lot were repository of wisdom. The trust chairman Challa Harikumar listed out the various programmes taken up by the trust in the last three years and said the active support of individuals had spurred the Trust to work with a renewed vigour and reach out to a larger crowd of the needy. Inspired by the good cause taken up by the trust members many individuals among the audience declared contributions. [rc] Copyright © 2010, The Hindu.