I was born and brought up in Patna. So, I will be talking about my experiences as one of the senior citizens of our city, its lifestyle, infrastructure, changing norms and trends.
How friendly is Patna towards its senior citizens?
Patna with its libraries, parks, museums, theatre groups, art galleries, live events (open minds, photography, singing, dancing), restaurants, malls and lately, various informative YouTube videos is worth-noting.
Parks of Patna are comfortable zones for all age groups, especially, senior citizens. We are spending much of our time enjoying the lively greenery of parks with facilities like benches, clean toilets, cold drinking water along with walking tracks, gym equipment, etc. Company of like-minded people is an added advantage.
However, the roads are a nightmare for us. Walking and crossing roads have become very difficult. Along with this, we have to face different kinds of attitudes of our fellow citizens. An incident particularly jolted me. A few months back I fell on the road. While I was getting up, injuring my knees, palms and elbows, a person, in the early thirties, admonished me saying “dekh kar nahi chalti hain”! Nevertheless, it was heartening to hear two boys, in the early twenties, asking me whether I was hurt and needed help to get home!
Furthermore, a few days back, in our local post office, I was feeling a bit unwell, so requested to get my work done out of turn. I had to tolerate a very rude scolding with resistance.
Needlessly, we have to face difficulties because buildings in our town are not designed to be senior citizens, esp., handicapped, friendly. In the year 2014, I accompanied my 90 years old, wheel-chair bound, father to the polling booth, a school building. Two policemen carried my father to the first floor. My father was agitated and uncomfortable.
Now, railways have improved. But, in the year 2000, I felt very desperate travelling with my paralytic 65 years old mother.
The changing trends in our city
Today the environment in our city has loosened its shackles of conservativeness. Both girls and boys have a better option to mingle, have friendship and express opinions and act in accordance with gender equality. My classmate, later my life partner, and I had to deal with rebukes for our freely roaming about, going to restaurants, zoo, parks. Free of cost shallow comments and whistling used to following us.
Youth have become more sensitive to gender roles and awareness for creating gender neutral environment has increased.
I have been a humanist from my youth days. As a senior citizen I have started calling myself a feminist. The reason being todays openness and progressive ideas are conducive to implement my thoughts into action. As a senior citizen I am closely knitted to young persons and children. After all, senior citizens are not living in isolation.
I thank Patna Diaries to value my opinion and giving me opportunity to pen my musings.
Every year on 21st August, we celebrate World Senior Citizens’ Day. Do let us know what are your thoughts on this? Email us at [email protected] to share your views.