Friday, May 29, 2009

Elder Abuse: Some tips for Senior citizens

Elder abuse - Tips for senior citizens
In a country where elders are given the highest level of authority and respect, abuse of elders at homes, in nursing homes, etc is on the increase. This article explains how senior citizens can protect themselves from such situations.
CJ: Vyasamoorthy , Merinews 29th May 2009

WHEN SENIOR citizens are abused on account of their defenceless position by younger relatives or others, ‘elder abuse’ takes place. SC have a lesser capacity to fight for their own rights because of diminishing health, dependence on care givers, poverty, loss of memory, lack of money, inability to adjust to the present generation or ignorance. The abuse may be financial, emotional and mental, physical – including sexual, verbal or through constant threatening, etc. Another aspect is neglect, leading to loneliness, isolation or mental depression.
A son pressurising his aged father to transfer his property to his (son’s) name, a daughter neglecting to take care of her mother physically when she is bed-ridden, not providing food, harassing by hurling verbal abuses and insults, beating, deserting, cheating by taking away an old man’s money – all these are examples of elder abuse.

The problem should be addressed by all sections of the society, such as the SC themselves, friends and relatives, SC associations, counselling centres, police, government organisations, NGOs, etc. However, the following are some tips regarding what the SC can do to protect themselves:
  • SC should empower themselves with facts, information and data required to face and tackle abuse. They should have phone numbers and addresses of lawyers, doctors, police, pressure groups, counselling centres and the like. They should read up about the issue and discuss it with peers and be knowledgeable; ignorance of rights and the law in particular, is harmful. Ignorance puts the SC in a vulnerable position. Recently, a SC wrote a will that was not fully acceptable to his son. The son made a scene. This happened because the old man thought that he had a lawful duty to read out the contents before sealing the will and giving it to the lawyer, because that was what his father had done several decades ago. The old man could have avoided unpleasantness, had he know the law correctly.
  • SC should join several associations and peer groups like walkers’ clubs, prayer groups, day care centres, etc. When they are abused, they should openly discuss it with others without feeling shy or ashamed. One of the greatest hurdles in handling abuse is non-cooperation by the affected individuals. They most often feel, “How can I complain against my own children?”
  • SC must make themselves financially sound and independent.
    They should never give away their property to their wards or disclose all their assets to everyone. Wherever feasible, they should not hesitate to take Reverse Mortgage Loans and ensure a steady flow of income. It is preferable to stack away important asset papers in a bank locker.
  • Taking recourse to legal provisions should be the last resort. Getting angry or standing on one’s prestige, alone, is not enough. Civil suits take years to reach conclusions. A lot of time and money will be wasted in lawsuits. In my opinion, only two people should go to court – the insane, and the lawyer – the first because he has nothing to loose, and the latter, because he can not afford not to! If one is dragged into a lawsuit, then it is a different matter. A SC known to me is bent upon filing a case against his daughter-in-law, because she refuses to cook for him! That is not a legitimate ground for elder abuse!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Automatic message translation in Gmail

Automatic Message Translation:  Gmail has no equal

By Dr P Vyasamoorthy


Gmail offers another fantastic facility: Automatic Translation of an incoming message into a language of your choice. Some seventeen languages are supported presently. 


Languages that may be translated include: Arabic, Chinese, Danish, Dutch, English, French, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Japanese, Norwegian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Swedish.  If the message that you get is in any of these languages you may have it translated into any one of the other languages. Therefore this facility will benefit millions of Gmail users across the globe.


You do not even need to know which language the message is in when it arrives. For instance I got a message in a foreign language about which I had no clue at all. In seconds I got translated into English and THEN I learnt the translation was from Chinese!


When Gmail detects one of your messages is in a language other than your default language, you'll see a header at the top of the message. Click the link that says Translate message to.... Your message will be translated inline (no need to open a new tab or window). Or if you want to translate the message and print it too, you can click the down arrow next to the Reply button and select Translate and print.


Most interesting option is that you can also translate an entire conversation – complete set of messages having same subject or thread as it known. Just click the globe icon on the right side of the conversation and you're good to go.


If you'd like to change the language your messages are translated to (let's say it prompts you to translate a Chinese message to English, but you'd prefer to read it in Swedish), just click the Change language link in the header and select your preferred language and select your preferred language, or go directly to the Settings page and change the setting for your 'Default translation language.' If you'd like to turn off message translation, click Settings and deselect the checkbox next to 'Enable message translation.' All these are accessible via Labs module in Gmail settings.


The day is not far off when Indian Languages will also get added to the list. If this should happen the key point is to promote commerce via these languages – enough services and products being sold via Indian language websites.



Dr P Vyasamoorthy,
30 Gruhalakshmi Colony Secunderabad 500015 Ph 040-27846631 / 9490804278

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Are you flooded with hoax emails?

Flooded with hoax emails?

Dr P Vyasamoorthy

Many senior citizens are getting bitten by the Internet bug and Email / Googling fever. Each day they discover that the amount fascinating information they can fetch and read is unfathomable. When they join any Discussion group they come across a number of messages from their equally eager friends trying to share news, views, stories, photos, videos and what not. During this process they fall a prey into believing that whatever they receive via email is true. Many stories are unbelievable and contain a bit of sensational news – often some warning about health risk, financial loss or Virus attack. Gullible persons pass them on believing they are doing a good turn to their friends. Let us learn how to find out whether such stories spread over email are true and correct or whether they are only hoax, rumors and baseless urban legends containing falsehood?


If you get an email that is a "a forward of a forward of a forward…." Then immediately suspect that the message may be untrue. Especially if the last few lines plead and urge that you pass it on to everyone in this world. Secondly, the details contained are half truths and vague, often not easily verifiable. Thirdly, most of them raise a scare about your health (Don't use Perlpet bottles), money (ATMs being wired to cheat you), possessions etc. If you belong to a discussion group you can also identify and know persons who are new to Internet and are gullible. Messages FROM such persons may be twice screened before taking any action.


There are a good number of Websites that help you verify the truth about urban legends. I would recommend just four:


I have put on the top of the list as that site has been rated highest and most reliable by many surveys and studies. If you get to know that a particular piece of email is false or true through Snopes, then please do not copy the entire page from Snopes and forward it to your friends. This is against the website's copyright rules. Just copy the URL of the concerned page and circulate it. Snopes has gained so much popularity that nowadays false messages containing rumours have line that says: 'I have checked with and found it to be true' – see for instance the mail on "Do not dial 90#". In a Yahoo Group that I moderate for senior citizens there are about a hundred messages on which indicates how much we rely on this site for verification.


If you are net savvy, but have not concentrated on this aspect, you may try to Google on the subject content of the suspected mail. If you find that all the results that you get are only from (gullible) bloggers and not in any authentic source (say, newspapers, journals, academic institutions etc) then you can easily surmise that the information is false. For example that silly item on "Two moons on 27th August" has come every August and has not appeared in any Astronomy journal!  


Above sources are not of much use while checking stories of Indian origin.  Sometimes you need to employ other techniques when sources like the above fail. There was a story about the involvement of Winston Churchill and the discovery of Penicillin which could ascertained as false by checking at the official site for WC. Going to specific websites could throw some light.


All said and done never believe all the stories floating around via email messages. Take them with a ton of salt. Most are false. If at all you are tempted to forward any such hoax mail, then check before you do so. Otherwise you are sinning against your friends. You are encouraging spammers. And only mis-information gets disseminated. That is bad for all of us.





Monday, May 18, 2009

Special parks for senior citizens

Special parks for senior citizens

Public gardens and parks provide Lung space for city folks who otherwise live in concretized jungles that are highly polluted and suffocating. For children and senior citizens they provide a place for spending quality time away from their stuffy homes. Well developed and neatly maintained parks are a must in every city.


A good park must have lush green trees, shrubs, flower beds that are adequately watered, trimmed and maintained well. Comfortable benches and play equipment for children are also a must. For adding value to senior citizens, special attention must be paid to walkers' paths, toilets and drinking water. The landscaping has to take care not to have steep steps or slopes that might make older people gasp for breath. Multipurpose lawns that lend themselves useful for Bajans, meetings, small get togethers etc may be included. Water fountains add beauty. Parks should be well lighted, fenced properly and staffed with qualified gardeners and security folks. Preventing unsocial elements abusing the Park facility would encourage ladies and senior citizens to visit the parks without fear. In many parks they charge a monthly usage fees or a daily visiting fee. This must be waived in the case of senior citizens - as has been done by GHMC Hyderabad.


Last year witnessed many State governments and Municipalities taking interest in development of parks and gardens. Kerala, Assam, Delhi, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh deserve special mention. MCD in Delhi spent for example Rs 1.8 Crores on furnishing parks. Maharashtra came up with Nana Nani Parks in Mumbai. Nana Nani parks, specially designed and maintained for senior citizens, (initially started in Versova and Chowpati) were promoted by Pramod Navalkar of Shiv Sena fame. 


Hyderabad, like Mysore and Bangalore, has been well known for its Parks and gardens. Though we do have some good parks like Sanjeevaiah Park, Indira Park, Nehru Zoological Park, Lumbini Park, Public gardens etc, this is not enough. If the parks are to benefit the elderly then they must be easily accessible and located nearby. For this reason, every colony should have a decent park with a walkers' path nearby, say within a kilometer of one's residence.


Existing parks are not being maintained properly. Broken benches, children's play equipment under repair, dry trees and garbage are common scene.  In order to encourage the Resident Welfare Associations to take interest in maintaining neighborhood parks, Secunderabad Cantonment Board has come up with a novel scheme. Starting from October 2008, SCB is offering Rs 3000 per month per park to the concerned Colony Welfare Association as Garden Maintenance Allowance. Now every RWA can hire a temporary gardener to ensure proper upkeep of colony parks.


Senior citizens do not have any entertainment nor can they afford to pay for commercial entertainment. Parks are easy to reach and are free. They promote togetherness among lonely souls. Therefore it is the responsibility of all sectors to the society to take interest in improving our parks.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Bouquets Collection Center

Bouquets Collection Center

The D Day is over. Congress has won a safe majority such that a stable
government is ensured. Thousands of party volunteers and enthusiasts
are gate crashing into residences of Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh
with flowers, sweets and garlands. I heard in NDTV news that a
Bouquets Collection Center has been set up to gather all bouquets
brought by such enthusiastic crowds.

The idea of a Bouquet Collection Center appeared funny and odd to me.
Why take a flower bunch just to leave it when the leader does not even
know who sent him flowers. As the leaders would have been submerged
with thousands of bouquets, will it mean anything if yours is not
there? Are you trying to convince yourself that you are important
enough to be associated at the bouquet giving level with a great

Don't you feel odd that leaving such bouquets in a BCC and leaving
wreaths at a funeral are the same? The recipient does not know or does
not care that you have sent in flowers? Why do we continue this
formality? I beg to know, for whose benefit? Only flower sellers
benefit. Yes - they benefit a lot as these bouquets are re-circulated
(like gifts that we get) and given again and again to lesser mortals.
Is such a fad necessary?

Well, I think the whole idea started from temples. In newer temples
that are built recently the idea of cleanliness is paramount. They do
not allow you to break coconuts in the sanctum sanctorum. Nor are you
permitted to burn camphor or Incense Sticks of your own. Pretty much
away from the God (Deity) you make your offerings in a de-personalized
way and take back your portion of prasadam from the hands of a third
party purohit-representative. After all, you have made your offerings
whether in the presence of Deity or elsewhere. It is up to Him to
collect it and bless you.

If reforms are needed they must start from leaders. They must say: "I
understand your support without flowers. Don't waste your time and
money on such wasteful practices. They are only a fad. They add to
pollution and garbage. Let us pit an end to it" Then followers may


Saturday, May 16, 2009

Senior citizens are also known as ...

Senior Citizens are also known as …


As one associated the cause of senior citizens for a number of years I have come across different words that refer to the aged people.  I would like to give a quick run down of a few such terms for the benefit of budding gerontologists as that would help them in literature searches.  Following table lists words and phrases that are synonymous to each other.



Words denoting Senior Citizens

Baby boomers

Geezers  - An old person, especially an eccentric old man. Derogatory usage

Oldies –a lot to do with appreciation of music of certain period.

Older persons - Government of India's preferred term for senior citizens.

Elders and elderly (respectful)

Senior citizens - Politest term devoid any contempt

Retirees -one who has retired from active life

Retired persons -  One who has retied from active serve

Pensioners - Those who get a monthly subsistence after retirement

Veterans - Ex service men in the USA

Old timer -  used earlier for old people.

Oldster  - slightly uncommon derisive word

Golden ager – just Older person


Senesced -to reach later maturity; grow old


Ex-servicemen -one who has served the armed forces for a number of years

Old hang – highly experienced old person

Old stager - someone who has seen many battles & wars


According to  Old is the bluntest of the adjectives most commonly used in referring to advanced or advancing age. It generally suggests at least a degree of age-related infirmity, and for that reason it is often avoided in formal or polite speech. Many prefer elderly as a more neutral and respectful term, but it too can suggest frailty, especially in reference to individuals as opposed to a group or population. And while senior enjoys wide usage as both a noun and adjective in many civic or social contexts, it is often considered unpleasantly euphemistic in a phrase such as the senior couple living next door.

 As a comparative form, older would logically seem to indicate greater age than old. Except when a direct comparison is being made, however, the opposite is generally true. The older man in the tweed jacket suggests a somewhat younger or more vigorous man than if one substitutes old or elderly. Where old expresses an absolute, an arrival at old age, older takes a more relative view of aging as a continuum—older, but not yet old. As such, older is more than just a euphemism for the blunter old, offering as it does a more precise term for someone between middle and advanced age. And unlike elderly, older does not particularly suggest frailness or infirmity, making it the natural choice in many situations.

The world Elder merely means "older than" not necessarily 'old'. But ELDERS and the elderly refer to senior citizens with some respect implied.  Unlike elder and its related forms, the adjectives old, older, and oldest are applied to things as well as to persons.

Baby boomers:  In the US there was sudden (predictable?!) boom in babies after the war. The period 1946 to 1964 witnessed maximum number of births. In the 1990s, approximately 76 million people in the United States were born in the baby boom years, representing approximately 29% of the country's population. America being a market and consumer driven nation took special note of this segment of population for their special needs. Hence the category baby boomers.

It would be interesting to do similar comparisons in other languages as well. If readers have useful inputs they may share it with all via comments.




Thursday, May 14, 2009

Do dreams come true?

Do dreams Come true?
By Dr P vyasamoorthy

A month ago I had a dream. One elderly Iyyangar Brahmin told me, of course in the dream only, that I have only six months more. Some minutes later when the conversation amongst us turned to death, one young boy asked who would die next in the family. The old man looked at me quizzically and said "I told you?!" It was very vivid when I woke up. Then I started reading about dreams and their import.

For a long time I used to erroneously think that dreams are always black and white (monochrome) and never colorful. I am wrong. There are specific interpretations for each color if that color dominates the dream. As all the dreams I have had contained me, myself, I, mine etc, I thought there could be no dreams where the dreamer is not present. This is true only in the case of children below the age of three years. We can dream just as observers without being involved. That is why spiritualists say that dreams are very close to Reality in one sense.

Most of us forget 50% of the dream within 5 minutes and almost 90% within ten minutes. Dreams are vivid if we wake up immediately after REM phase of sleep, not otherwise.  Everyone dreams, including blind people. Blind persons may have visual images if they have become blind after having had sight for a few years; otherwise their dreams would consist of tactile, smell, sound and similar sensations.

Most common themes in dreams are: Failing in exams that you have already passed, falling down from tall structures, being naked and getting caught, someone chasing you, flying etc.
Wet dreams result in moist private parts though the content need not have been sex. One may have prophetic dreams, nightmarish dreams or situations where one gets healed by a Guru of some chronic disease. Interpreting dreams is a big business as predictors could quiz you almost on anything like: numbers, animals, bugs, places, body parts, birds etc that come in your dreams. Each number has its own significance we are told. I am only reminded of a Homeopathic practitioner querying you in very great detail before coming up with the right drug!

Getting back to the question whether dreams come true, the findings are mixed. As only success stories are reported and all forgotten dreams are never taken into account, we can not say dreams come true. At best they give certain warnings or indications about our own state of mind. The brain has maximum inputs for a better interpretation of a problem situation than when we are awake. To that extent we may take them as signals to future in a broad sense. In my specific case I am told that the dream signifies a change for higher level of consciousness say spiritual upliftment!

Dr P Vyasamoorthy,
30 Gruhalakshmi Colony Secunderabad 500015 Ph 040-27846631 / 9490804278

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Taming the Stools in the toilet

Taming the stools in the toilet


When Two Britons meet they start the conversation on weather. When two senior citizens meet during a morning walk in India they talk is about their bowl movements. At least that is what I have observed among four siblings of my father in law. Old people have constipation as a general health complaint. They spend lot of time in the toilet and still have a "never – done" feeling most of the time. Chronic constipation and its treatment is a serious topic in itself. I shall not discuss the causes, symptoms and treatment for constipation. Let me just confine myself to offering a few tips as what you can do right inside (or outside?) the toilet!


What I say will be useful in cases of mild constipation. Coaxing stool to leave the bowls is an art, many would agree. Before going to the toilet, have a glass of hot beverage. Or throw a pinch of beetle nuts like Triveni or Crane into your mouth. Anything to bite or bring teeth to grinding position during defecation process will help. Or try to stay in a stuffy room without air circulation for a couple of minutes. Or do some mild physical work like carrying water, mopping the floor etc. Even simply watching the milk if it comes to boil might help at times. Once you get the urge, rush – don't postpone. 


If possible have a clean dry toilet. Whether it is Indian type or western Commode is up to you. Persons with Arthritis prefer western type.  Orthodox rural folk prefer Indian type. A crouching position is more helpful than sitting straight. While in the toilet seat, squeeze your lower abdomen. Reading a newspaper or book while shitting is again a personal choice.


A few tips during the course: Mildly scratch at your coccyx – the lowest tip of your back where the buttocks separate. Lightly massage your temples as if you are having a headache.

A point that is often recommended by acupuncturists for constipation is Large Intestine. This may work for some people: The acupressure point is at the highest spot of the muscle between the thumb and index finger when they are brought close together. This point should not be stimulated in the case of pregnant ladies. With your thumb or middle finger at a 90 degree angle to the skin, apply gradually increasing pressure. Hold for two to three minutes. The pressure should not be painful or uncomfortable.


In case of people having certain diseases, like obesity, prostate enlargement or post deliver complications, the pelvic floor muscles do not function properly. Proper biofeedback exercises, learnt with the help of a physiotherapist might help in tackling constipation. Yoga masters may provide lasting solutions.


Not all tricks mentioned above may work for you. But you may try any or all of them – there is no expense involved!


Where can you publish your stories for free?

Where can you publish your stories for free?


"Now that I am retired I have plenty of time and would like to write. But where to get them published is my dilemma", told a friend of mine. That set me to pen this article.


Senior citizens are honing their writing skills by contributing letters to the Editors of newspapers, their own blogs or messages posted in discussion groups. Apart from these there specialized Citizen Journalist (CJ) sites and websites where the budding writer may try his luck. Let us look into these resources in some detail now. We shall limit our discussion to sites of relevance to senior citizens only.


Why do you publish? You have some urge to share some information. You have a view point to offer and get others' opinion on the same. You need some recognition and appreciation about your writing skills. You love to create a set of regular readers for your contributions. You want to exhibit your writing skills, sense of humor, to show the world how well-read or well-informed you are etc.


The first option that will strike anyone is to create your own blog. Sign up for some blog space in Google, Rediff, Sify or similar sites. There are plenty of them. Create your own blog and add content of your own. But here the catch is to make readers come to visit your blog regularly. This is a difficult task to most of us and this is where we often fail. You just can not attract visitors!


Alternately you may join or subscribe to some Yahoo Group or Forum which is devoted to your interest. You can send messages or posts as often as you want. They may be of any length or multimedia too. Numbers of members, level of moderation, level of discussions etc determine whether you may continue in such a group. For instance, if you want to write about retired people the Yahoo group is excellent. They have 500+ members where every member is a retired employee and daily exchange of messages is about 35. Very active group rated 7th by Yahoo among some 1150 similar such groups catering to Elder's interests.


You can sign up as a citizen journalist in some CJ sites like:  or The MSN site insists that the contribution is fresh and original – that it is sent for the first time only to MSN site and not reproduced (even if it is your own) from elsewhere. Merinews provides substantial high quality editorial help and screening / filtering. In Merinews value addition is made by adding suitable images. Cplash accepts whatever you write as it is – you need to take total responsibility for you publish.  All CJ sites provide statistics about comments, hits (number of views), email alerts etc. They also mention latest blog posts under different headings n the home page. When a reader is reading a story, details of similar stories on the same topic or other stories by the same author are mentioned in Boxes. They also provide additional encouragement to contributors by forming CJ Club where networking becomes very effective.


Blog space is available in sites exclusively dealing with senior citizens activities also.

Two such blog space providers are: and

While most sites allow the entire content to be readable by everyone and restrict posting articles or comments only to registered users, verdurez is highly restrictive. Only members can read or post content, be it comments or blog posts or discussions in forums. Therefore, while trying to maintain a high level of quality of discussions and posts, they are limiting the exposure to the contributions to the minimum. This, in my view is a dis-incentive to blog posters.    


As a simplistic way of comparison I published a short story entitled "Why not special quota for Senior Citizens in Trains?" in my own blog, and also it in cplash, merinews, sss-global discussion list, verdurez etc. I got sixteen comments in sss-global (distributed to more than 500 people), 45+ views & one comment in cplash, no info on views nor comments in Verdurez. Merinews generated within a day about 190 views and two comments.   


I have not tried MSN or RREWA yet. You may try them and give your feedback.




Monday, May 11, 2009

Journal Writing: Is there something in it for you?

Journal Writing: Is there something in it for you?
By Dr P Vyasamoorthy

(I could learn that one could buy breakfast for 6 paise for the whole
family in the late thirties, because my father maintained a diary.
Shouldn't we continue this useful practice?)

One of perennial sources of entertainment for all of us – a large
group of six or seven siblings – was to read our father's old dairies.
They contained valuable data like: who called on us, trips & travels
that my father or others made, events and their impacts, daily
purchases etc. As a ten year old boy I learnt that my father could buy
breakfast for two persons for about three paise! And a cinema ticket
in MY school days cost 30 paise. Writing diary helps – helps in many

Maintaining a personal journal regularly offers many advantages. It
has therapeutic effects, many claim. Right from lower levels of
stress, increased memory & longer attention span, positive immune
system resulting in improved health, ability to cope up with trauma,
better friendly relationships are all mentioned as benefits from dairy
keeping. For senior citizens who have all the time at their disposal
and don't know what to do, starting journal writing could be a way to
ward off boredom.

The best way to start writing a dairy is to choose a specific time,
say, just before retiring to bed. It is essential that you can write
for about 15 minutes everyday without disturbance or breaks in
thought. It is better that you are alone and enough privacy is

You are not in the habit of writing a diary? Don't worry. Just start
off. You may write on the events of the day, people whom you met,
trials and tribulations of office, purchases made, etc. While these
are trivia, you can write about problems that plague you often, things
that worry you a lot, sore relationships, physical ailments, tasks
that you keep postponing for ever and such other things. Thinking
about these and writing it our cogently in simple language will help
you organize your thoughts well.

Depending upon your needs you may maintain a travel journal or health
journal, or a dairy for fresh ideas, dreams waiting to be fulfilled
etc. It is all up to you. But what is most important is that one must
experiment this Journal writing habit that has all advantages at zero
Unlike my father's journal books, most diaries are personal and they
are normally only for the eyes of the writer. Therefore feel free to
express yourself fully without inhibitions. But take care to keep
diaries away from prying eyes.

If you are comfortable with computers and Internet help is at hand.
You may go to and write out your journal entries there.
Penzu is a perfect blend of modernity and old practices. Try it, you
will enjoy it. If you know of other websites for journal keeping, let
us know.


Sunday, May 10, 2009

Ten reasons why I like my wife

Ten reasons why I like my wife
(Introspective note on 39th wedding Anniversary: 10th May 2009)
By Dr P Vyasamoorthy

1.      Devoted and doting mother to my two daughters: She is a friend,
philosopher and a guide to them. She adjusts and sacrifices her own
needs for the sake of our children. She compensates for all the
fatherly inadequacies. Perfect understanding among the three.
2.      Her innate intelligence. I can not tolerate dullards and dumbos.
She is quick to understand situations and quicker to act calmly in
crisis ridden situations.
3.      Maturity: She has been constantly growing mature consciously over
the years. Now almost everything is OK when it comes to others.
4.      Her sympathy and empathy for others. She could even make herself
sick thinking about others' woes and misfortunes.
5.      A Doer: She is a doer, ever active. When a problem occurs she would
start tackling it right away (Niptafy she would say) instead waiting
for some muhurtam!
6.      She is a stickler for cleanliness at home – a quality my  children
have inherited
7.      She is never demanding – clothes, jewelry or anything like these.
Her wants and needs are absolutely minimal.
8.      She knows how to keep herself happy. She can be alone all by
herself and not feel lonely. She does not demand even others' time or
9.      Battling with poor health: She has been suffering from high BP for
thirty years. Nature has not been kind to her health to say the least.
10.     During the last few years (post retirement syndrome?) I have
become a difficult person to live with. I KNOW. She has been putting
up with me patiently, a GEM that she is.


Friday, May 8, 2009

Why not special quota for Senior Citizens in Trains?

Why not special quota for Senior Citizens in Trains?


Indian Railways provide special quota of seats reserved for Ladies, Armed staff, Emergency, VIPs and others. I would like to suggest that the Railway authorities must provide special quota for senior citizens. Presently there is 30% concession in tariff for male senior citizens and 50% concession for ladies. However when it comes to allocation of seats as a special category, Senior citizens are ignored. They may also be given preference, along with ladies, to be allotted lower berths wherever possible.


Such a provision will mitigate the problem of booking tickets. While a person goes to the station for booking the train tickets, in larger cities, special counters or queues are allocated for Senior citizens, ladies, disabled etc. This is a welcome improvement. But the system though said to be available in metros -- it is more on paper than in reality. Today I read in Deccan Chronicle that though separate counters are provided in Kukatpally Tickets Office, they are ineffective. People queue up much before the counter opening time outside the Station. Once the gates are opened there is chaos and everyone rushes madly to gain priority in the queue. This can be managed easily by giving tokens say some half an hour earlier to people as an when they arrive. Or as they do in private banks, printed tokens showing Q position by vending machines may be kept for self vending.


Similarly in city and District buses the Andhra Pradesh State government has allocated two seats next to the driver for senior citizens. This is shared with disabled as well. But the seats are seldom available to old people. They are occupied by youngsters and conductors / drivers are reluctant to ask such youngsters to get up and make way for old people. Provisions are made with good intentions but implementation is poor.


As senior citizens constitute nearly 8% of the entire population, it is only fair and democratic that such provisions as indicated above are made.