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28 March-3 April 2014

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The Dignity Project { Anita Jaswal}

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teve Jobs said: You’ve got to find what you love…. the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking, and don’t settle. Archana Sharma is one such fortunate person. A seasoned IT professional, she took a break from corporate life to spend time with her son - then studying in Class XI. She has always wanted to serve society in some impactful manner. So when she decided to get back to active work life, she went on a fairly unbeaten path of serving the Senior Citizens. She has made it her mission to assist them to live an active and engaging life. If you thought that the only way of socialising for the elderly was meeting at religious gatherings or for cards, think again. A one-of-its-kind Senior Citizens’ meeting place has come up in the middle   of the City, in the form of Samvedna Senior Citizens’ Activity Centre. “It had been my long cherished dream to make this kind of a centre. The place is an ideal hangout for the elderly, especially those retired employees who lead a quiet life. The Centre is equipped with a library, computer room, mini-gym, table tennis, carom and chess boards. Besides, it has a couple of sitting areas for conducting workshops, meditation sessions and quiz programs. The aim is to provide a place where the elderly can socialise, stimulate their minds and indulge in activities they

enjoy. Our Seniors enjoy getting quizzed on various topics – like History, General Knowledge, Sports, Music and Personalities. Their competitive spirit gets revived and they become almost childlike, eager to win the contests. The workshops are aimed to create awareness, help introspect and to discuss issues concerning the elderly. Some of the workshops conducted have been on Dementia, Generation Gap and Communication in Relationships. Besides this, the Seniors are also learning how to write blogs and taking Spanish language classes at the Centre. The members are from all walks of life – ex-servicemen and their wives, retired govt. employees, educationists, businessmen and home makers. Archana feels, “Senior Citizens can be the pillars that the existing ‘major contributors’ to the economy can rely on, for expertise and guidance. The welfare of this segment of society

also directly impacts the health of any community. There should be many more places designed for these thespians. Modelled on youth clubs, the civic body should introduce lively and appealing geriatric clubs in the City.
Seniors need to stay active, physically and mentally, long after the stoppage of their daily work life. Such places can offer a place for them to pursue creative endeavours. The opportunity to engage their minds and bodies is important for the Seniors, as they have to live for years - even decades - after they have retired or watched their children leave the family home to live their own adult lives. They may yet have a full second innings to play out. Archana’s mission is to ensure the dignity, respect and compassion for our Senior Citizens – by welcoming and engaging them. The Centre wishes to complement the role of the family in the care of its older relatives. Archana enthuses, “I want to provide a relaxing yet energetic environment for the Senior Citizens, so that they spend quality time engaging in group activities that stimulate the mind and body. The elderly can enjoy fruitful lives and keep in touch with the community by taking part in diverse activities. The least I can do is assist them to age gracefully, with dignity, independence and respect. This is best achieved by offering them empathy, affection and patience.  If I can make some sunset years golden, I would feel I have achieved my goal in life.”u

Don’t count your years Ninety seems a bit long Seventy-five appears to be short This fifteen years in between Seem fulfilling somewhat You may spend them in happiness Or spoil them cursing your stars It all depends on you How you wish to win your wars Life is not a game of cricket Where making a century is the aim It’s a board of chess On which every move makes the game Here, you are the King You’ve to make your fate By countering the ‘checks’ and preventing a mate! No one will remember How many years you lived But everyone will remember In those years what you did That is why, says Lal ‘Stop counting the years of your life And follow a path of righteousness Show the people around you How to live free of strife’. Ashok Lal Email: ablsl1971@ yahoo.co.in

Coastal California {Ruchika Makhija }

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alifornia, the third largest State in the United States, boasts of a Mediterranean climate, sunny beaches and grand cities. Rather than the ‘standard city tours’, one should explore various unexploited getaways along the Pacific Coast. One such place is Point Reyes, 30 miles west of San Francisco, The seashore here is most strikingly beautiful, offering an endless variety of activities for visitors of all ages. The area’s wide-open spaces, winding roads, lush forests and scenic vistas, make for a memorable vacation. The pristine beaches of Point Reyes are some of the most spectacular on the entire Californian Coast. This ‘foggiest place’ in California also boasts a lighthouse, where visitors can go all the way up and experience the grandeur of the Pacific Ocean lashing against it. As we move further south we cross the beautiful towns of Santa Cruz and Monterey Bay, and the famous 17 Mile Drive (home of pebble beaches, wonderful cliff homes and a lone Cypress tree). Carmel is another quaint storybook town, with a wonderful beach, which can get crowded during the tourist season. Further down is a little fishing village called Morro Bay, also known for the presence of a large rock at the harbour; the rock is the remnant of a dormant volcano. Further down on Highway 101 we reach the very picturesque town of San Louis Obispo, which is also a College town with a pedestrian-friendly downtown shopping district; a creek runs through the middle of the town. One can stay at the famous Pismo Beach, the only beach in southern California on which you can drive! Here you can enjoy Hummer rides, bi-plane rides, surfing and beachcombing. A trip to the Californian Riviera, Santa Barbara, is a must. It is well-known for its Spanish architecture, palm trees and a year-round pleasant climate. The streets are named after the central characters of the famous soap ‘Santa Barbara’. California is truly an experience, a lifestyle…a state of mind.

Friday gurgaon 28 march 3 april, 2014  

..be the change you want to see

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