Diwali sparkle at old age homes in city

Kamal Bhat, a 78-year-old resident of a home for senior citizens run by the Maharshi Karve Stree Shikshan Samstha is looking forward to Diwali. For her, and for over 60 other inmates of the old age home, Diwali is a time that brings them cheer and puts some glitter and sparkle back in their lives.

Every Diwali, the 30-acre campus is all lit up with diyas, attracts people from across the city to witness the spectacle.

Entertainment and educational programmes held during the Diwali celebrations are a great hit with Bhat. "I have celebrated the past six Diwali here and every year, there is a special entertainment programme. Sometimes there are speakers who address us, and singers or other performers entertaining us," she says.

This year, on popular demand from residents of the home, the organization has invited educationist Vishwas Mehendale for the second time. Mehendale will visit them on November 12.

The 30-acre campus will be lit up with diyas on Friday in a ceremony known as Deep Mahotsav.

"I am also looking forward to bursting crackers, lighting sparklers and making rangoli like every year," adds Bhat.

The mood at other old age homes in the city is similar, with the inmates' all enthused about lighting diyas, bursting crackers, and relishing sweetmeat.

At Niwara Old Age Home, Pune's oldest, at Patrakar Nagar celebrations for the 250 senior citizens there will continue from November 12 to November 14. There will be a special menu comprising food like chakli, karanji, farsan, puranpoli, gulab jamun and more.

"They are so fond of gulab jamun, they request for it every year," says Niwara Trustee and secretary, Nirmala Sovani. A cultural fiesta has been planned for November 12 night, with performances by local artists and the celebrations will end with a daylong visit to Nagaon, a little seaside village.

At both Maharshi Karve Stree Shikshan Samstha and Niwara, the worship of Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth, prosperity an good fortune, will be held on November 13. This will be followed by distribution of sarees, dhotis and pyjamas, besides gifts like dry fruit.

The 15 elderly citizens at private caregiver home Mauli Seva Sushrusha Kendra in Dhankawadi, Diwali is when they wait for their most-awaited guests, their family and friends. Prashant Warnan and Pallavi Warnan who are in charge of the Mauli Seva Sushrusha Kendra celebrate Diwali with them with a traditional puja and with a special Diwali menu.

"They are always the most excited about visits from their loved ones and lighting crackers. They also enjoy the special food served such as laddoo, karanji, and sev," says Prashant Warnan.

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