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Healing Touch With Puja Fun For Abandoned Elderly Patients

2015-10-23 21:11

The elderly patients are being escorted to puja pandals by the members of Chapra Manab Kalyan Samity Picture by PRANAB DEBNATH


Krishnanagar, Oct. 23: 56 year old Dulali Saha of Memari cannot recall when she last visited a Durga puja pandal. Halima Biwi can only recall that she had her home in Sunderban, but cannot recall when she had last seen a Devi image. Their memories of Durga puja were revived on Tuesday on the occasion of Maha Saptami of Durga Puja when the members of a voluntary organization from Nadia’s Chapra took them for a ride to the puja pandal in Krishnanagar town.

Not just Dulali and Halima, but a group of twenty elderly patients who have lost their memories and now under treatment at the psychiatric ward of Saktinagar district hospital in Krishnanagar for past few years were took out for pandal visit on a special permission granted by the district health administration on the appeal of the organization.

Most of these patients who are abandoned by their kin and cannot recollect about their whereabouts, are admitted to the Saktinagar district hospital, which has literally become their home for the past few years.

The ten member team of Chapra Manab Kalyani Sanstha made the – Maha Saptami evening a different one as they enjoyed it like children hopping from pandal to pandal and even enjoying fuchka and singara at road side eatery.

Dulali Saha said: “Anek din por Maa-er much dekhlam, khub bhalo laglo”. She has been staying at the hospital for past eight years since she met with an accident and lost memory partially.

The request for the puja visit came from the patients in last week when the members of the Manab Kalyan Sanstha came to give them new dress for Durga puja.

“In the last week when we handed over them new dress for the festive season, an elderly woman told us that she has not seen “Durga Thakur” since long. Heard about the ensuing Durga puja, she requested us if we could take her out to a Durga puja pandal. Her words touched us. So we appealed the hospital superintendant to allow us to take the patients of the ward for a Durga puja visit. The superintendant talked granted our request”, said Devdulal Biswas, treasurer and one of the founding members of the organization.

Nevertheless, the task was not easy at all. The Manab Kalyani Sanstha had to submit a written undertaking to the hospital authority for risk and responsibilities of these patients before taking out them for the puja ride.

“Taking out these elderly patients with much care was quite a tough task. Nevertheless, we were determined to do it. These elderly persons are now quite well. But they are confined as their kin are not eager to take them back home. So we tried to give them a break from this confinement”, Biswas added.

The Manab Kalyani Sanstha arranged cars for the patients. Beginning the journey from Saktinagar district hospital in their new dress, the patients first visited the Durga image at the royal palace in Krishnanagar followed by about twenty puja pandal. The journey concluded at about 7.30 pm with the organization handed over them boxes of sweets to them.

On return, the hospital, the hospital authorities arrange a quick check up of all the patients.

“It was great experience for us too. We are delighted as all puja organizers received these elderly patients with care and respect. They extend their support”, said Pallab Tiwari, secretary of the organization.

An organizer said: “We are moved by the gesture shown by the organization. We watched with respect that a member even took an elderly woman on his shoulder when she was feeling trouble to walk”.

Superintendant of Saktinagar district hospital Halder said: “It is good initiative. These patients have been staying at the hospital since long. They once admitted with psychiatric problems, but now in better condition. Their family members are also not interested to take them back home. As result they have become confined at this hospital. Such long confinement creates depression. We don’t have any scope to arrange external interaction for them, even though we feel it needed. So when the organization approached us, we talked to higher authorities and the Patients Welfare committee, who given the nod. The organization is known to us as they have also working to rehabilitate these patients”.

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