The ART of PEACE(ful) Living

Amidst a regimented routine and leisure at the Peace Senior Living at Baruipur, we met the Peace boarders after lunch, when everyone was relaxing and waiting for their customary siesta.

We were amazed to see their respective rooms, with a sitting area, bedding area, personal balcony, loft, and bathroom. Nothing really is a headache for the residents of Peace Senior Living. Air conditioners, microwave ovens, refrigerators, washing machines, electric kettles, televisions, CD players, and all kinds of furniture are provided in the room.

We met Mrs. Prarthana Ghosh (79 years) and Mr. Nishit Kumar Ghosh (87 years), who had been living here for 6 years now.

Mr. Ghosh, a Customs Director by profession, and Mrs. Ghosh, a school teacher were pretty successful in their careers. The only daughter stays in Virginia, US. The couple used to live in their apartment in Lake Gardens. But destiny had different plans.

“We were disturbed by the inconsistency of the housemaids. We two lived in the care of three housemaids who were absconding most of the time,” explained Mrs. Ghosh.

“My husband had a bridge partner who told us about this place. We came once to see and the home took our breath away. We decided on staying here,” she recalled.

Mrs. Ghosh thanks almighty for finding a place like Peace as they are physically unfit now to take care of themselves and their properties. However, their daughter and son-in-law were totally against their decision and were averse to the idea of selling the apartment in lake gardens.

“Our daughter did not agree initially due to the social stigma that they cannot look after their parents. But, indeed, they cannot. So bit by bit they understood that it is the best option for us. Now when they come, they stay here in the Peace guest house with us.”

Recently Mrs. Ghosh had bypass surgery and Mr. Ghosh had three stent implants in his heart. In both cases, they received terrific care and concern from the Peace staff. Mr. Ghosh has recently written his autobiography too. Peace has given their lives a fresh start.

Another resident, 86-years-old Mrs. Mira Ray is a green card holder in the US. She finally settled down in her plush apartment in Santiniketan. However, Santiniketan being an extremely popular tourist attraction, her relatives and friends from Kolkata started pouring in throughout the year. An unfit old woman (she has walking issues and is diabetic) as she was, it was being terrible a task for her to cater to the tourists. After visiting a few old homes, she read about Peace in a women’s magazine and decided to shift. The daughter opposed vehemently.

But Mrs. Ray said, “I do not like doing daily chores anymore. Cannot travel to America regularly at this age. Children are also getting busy day by day. In the meantime, I fell once and hurt myself. The amount of care Peace took of me, my daughter had to acknowledge that this is the best possible option for me.”

Now, Mrs. Ray listens to music throughout her leisure time. She has her ayah and a walker for assistance while walking. But that does not limit her from decking up in a Sari every day, walking down to the dining hall for the meals and she is enchanted by the offerings of life. She loves to live on!

Mrs. Arati Dutta, a mother of two daughters, used to live with her professor husband in her Patuli co-operative society apartment. Both her daughters have settled abroad – one in the US and the other in Norway. When her husband passed away, she was left all alone in the city. So she had to manage on her own for quite a few years.

During this time she came to know about Peace through the architect who built it and booked a room there. But in her case too, daughters revolted. Why an Old Home? They wanted her to come to Norway and stay.

“They were very reluctant to leave me in an old age home. But never hindered me in anything and mentioned that it is entirely my decision. Later when they saw how much I am taken care of in Peace, they understood the validity of the decision and are very relieved too,” said Mrs. Dutta.

Mrs. Dutta loves to cook even now. She has a huge refrigerator, rice cooker, and microwave in her room along with an electric kettle. She informed, “I have all the arrangements for cooking. You would love to know that every Saturday we have a border get-together in my room. I even cook for the staff here and can for you too!”

We were amazed by the amount of vim and vitality with which she spoke. She readily commented, “I have to keep myself mentally refreshed, otherwise no use of living on your own. To be frank, the idea of a senior care home is changing rapidly now. All the families are nuclear and children have settled abroad. So who would take care of the aged parents? I sincerely think it is a much better option to live in a place like Peace rather than leading a solitary life in an apartment.”