City's Arvind Maniyar Hall is likely to become the epicentre for a social change. For the first time, a mass programme for senior citizens to choose live-in partners will be held here on April 15.
The first-ever public function to help 50-plus men and women in Saurashtra region to find a companion will be organized by Natubhai Patel, who runs Vina Mulya Amulya Sewa, an organization created to help arrange marriages of lonely senior citizens in the country.
"After the success of similar live-in relationship functions in Ahmedabad last year, we are now going to organize this in Saurashtra region," said Patel.
He said that the concept of live-in relationships has interested a lot of elderly, who are shy of getting married again and don't want to embarrass their children.
"We are expecting more than 300 elders (males) to come from across the country. The event is being held in Rajkot, but people can come from across the country to take part to find their companion for live-in relationship in their autumn years,'' Natubhai told TOI.
Interestingly, the ratio of elderly women's participation in such live-in relationship mela is about 20 per cent. "In order to encourage women to participate, we are offering females free of cost travelling from any part of the country as well as accommodation in Rajkot. We will also gift a sari to each woman participant," said Patel.
"Our experience says that live-in relationship for elder is the need of the hour. It is better that a lonely person finds a partner in their last span of life instead of staying in old-age home when your children are not taking care. Also, in many cases, even children have happily agreed to get their parents married," he added.
The criteria for a male participant are that he should have monthly income of above Rs 10,000 and his age should be above 50 years.
Patel said all men and women above 50 years of age including divorcees, widows and single are eligible to join the meet. He said that women above 40 years can also take part in the meet.
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