Like the other kids, even the three year old Hershel was little scared in entering my consulting room. Along with him his grandmother was also there who was explaining him the importance and work of a doctor. Doctor is our friend and we have to take help of our friend. She explained him so patiently that he understood and agreed. I have met Hershel’s grandmother Kalpanaben Gandhi twice or thrice. She is very quiet and mild in nature. But today the way in which she made Hershel understand and made him quiet was worth appreciating. Because these days not many elderly can take care of their grandsons and granddaughters like this. After diagnosing Harshil and giving him the prescription I told Kalpanaben that you have good experience of explaining the tiny tots. You are able to make the child understand in good manner and very easily. She told me that I do not have any experience of dealing with kids but yes I deal on daily basis with almost 30 old people. Now I got eager and wanted to know more of kalpanaben’s work.
She told me, “almost before five years one day a thought came up in my mind. I wanted to do a social work through which I could help the elderly people of the society. I told Harshil’s grandfather that is to my husband Nareshbhai that if we can buy a place and start day care centre for the elderly people or old age home. My architect husband also welcomed my thought. We started working on our project but somehow the budget was touching the sky. But it is rightly said that if you decide to do something for others and that also with full love and enthusiasm then even God helps you in our journey. In the premises of BHAGWAT VIDHYAPITH, there is JIVAN SANDHYA SMRUTI old age home which is run and operated by MUMBADEVI TRUST situated in MUMBAI. This NGO which runs for the old and elderly people needed some renovation. Trust handed over this responsibility to NARESHBHAI. He worked for one year and then the renovation work got over. During this time span, KALPANABEN came in contact with the trust. Since then almost from 3 and a half years, Kalpanaben has been a relative, friend and caretaker of those thirty old and aged people.
Today’s generation finds it difficult to keep even two old people in the house. The old people have spent their whole life in taking care of their children. And when they are in the last days of their life, they don’t have anything left with them. During this time, they are asked to stay away from their children’s life. Initially, KALPANABEN felt that whether she will be able to take out time for these elderly souls and ashram? Will she be able to take good care of them? Will she be able to do her job well? But gradually all this became part of her life. A part which is inseparable.
KALPANABEN felt new energy in taking care of the food, daily requirements and health of the old people. She just loved to do that. She told it seemed that I am getting love and affection of thirty parents under one roof. I listen to their stories. They open up their heart before me.
We all together go for a picnic in a month. We even go to religious places. Around AHMEDABAD we have to almost all the religious places. We have visited KANKARIA LAKE, RIVER FRONT etc. as such I was going to help the old ones. But every time I get to learn something or the other from them. Initially I used to get angry over small things but now my anger and anxiety have disappeared completely. Now I have become calm and quiet. I cannot describe the eternal happiness that I get after doing this work. Total satisfaction and happiness can be felt only if a person does good deed. I was now able to do all my personal difficult work with ease. I felt as if new energy and new enthusiasm has filled my heart and soul. Here in the ashram you get cooperation and support from various other sections of the society. Many families come over here and celebrate their family member’s birthday or anniversary with us. They organize programmers like ANTAKSHRI, BHAJAN OR QUIZ and then they have meal with us. We really feel so good. Many college students also visit our old age home.
The old people of the ashram feel so good when someone lends their ears or someone talks to them. Giving personal support to someone in his or her life is the best good deed one can think of. While ending her talk, KALPANABEN said, “We have lived our life for yourself. Now if we live a bit of our life for others, then we will feel satisfied and contented that we had lived a meaningful life”. Now I understand why KALPANABEN was able to make HARSHIL understand patiently and in such peaceful manner. KALPANABEN’S work and dedication reminds me of RAJKAPOOR’S ANADI film which was released in 1959 and its one of the famous song, KISI KE DARD MIL SAKE TO LE UDHAR…KISI KE VAASTE HO TERE DIL MEIN PYAR…JEENA ISSIKA NAAM HAI.