Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Elders Helpline in Bengaluru goes 24/7

Elders Helpline in Bengaluru goes 24/7
Elders Helpline 1090, a joint project of Bengaluru City Police and Nightingales Medical Trust has completed 15 years of dedicated service to the elderly in Bangalore city.
From 26th April 2017, Elders Helpline service becomes operational on 24 hours basis   

Bangalore has a current estimate of over 10 Lakh senior citizens. Of these, about 3 lakh elders face some form of physical, emotional and/or financial abuse; elders are also becoming easy targets for crimes. Getting reliable help in such instances, especially in the night, is a challenge to most elders. Elders Helpline working 24/7 will give vulnerable elders added assurance and benefit a larger number.

Being the first project of this kind in the country, the Elders Helpline 1090, has so far received over 1.6 lakh calls in the past 15 years.  8662 complaints of serious nature were registered with over 52% of the complaints being successfully resolved by counselors and social workers with the support of police and lawyers. The nature of the complaints is mainly ill treatment by family members, financial exploitation, property disputes and cheating by service providers. All the services of the Helpline are free.

The 24/7 service of Elders Helpline was launched on 26th April by the Sri. Praveen Sood, IPS at the auditorium in Police Commissioner’s  office, Infantry Road, Bangalore-560001- on the occasion of the 15th Anniversary of Elders Helpline

Monday, April 17, 2017

My Neighbour's religious UPS

My Neighbour's religious UPS

Right behind my house I have a neighbour who has an UPS (Uninterrupted Power Supply) that often goes under repair – battery low – and keeps sounding the warning bell. Unplugging will not help. Muffling the sound is not possible. The battery has to run out completely on its own to let the alarm die. The funny or irritating aspect  is that the alarm cannot be switched off without opening the UPS by a mechanic. I have had this experience and I know. I had one for my desktop giving similar trouble and I sold it off getting Rs 7 per kg, after I bought my laptop.

But there is one redeeming factor. The chiming of the alarm or alert bell sounds like a Puja bell or like chanting of OM by a Bhajan group. Very often I keep wondering if that family is more blessed than others in the neighbourhood as they possess a highly religious and orthodox UPS.

Incidentally can prestigious UPS designers wake up and stop this stupid behaviour? Or at least warn the buyer at the time of purchase?

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Telangana State Council for Senior Citizens

Telangana forms council for senior citizens' welfare

POST 14 APRIL 2017


Inkeshaf Ahmed

The Telangana government has constituted a council to look after the needs of the old and senior citizens. The council is headed by state cabinet minister for women, child and disabled Mr. Tummala Nageswara Rao, in the ex-officio capacity.

The council will have secretaries of women, children and disabled welfare department, information and public relations department, panchayat raj, finance and medical, health and family welfare department as its ex-officio members. The state government will nominate seven more members under special category.

The commissioner for women, child and disabled welfare department will act as the member secretary of the committee. The term of the committee will be for a period of one year. It will meet once in six months and review the programs being implemented for the welfare of the senior citizens and elderly people.

The council was constituted for implementation of national policy on older persons. The state government has invoked Rule 22 of 'AP Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Rules'. These rules were framed after Government of India had enacted the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act in the year-2007 for the maintenance and welfare of parents and Senior citizens. Following this, the state government had notified the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Rules in the year 2011 under the same Act.

The state government had issued a notification for adoption of the same to Telangana State to implement the act in the newly formed state. The Director of the  Welfare of Disabled and Senior Citizens  had submitted a revised proposal for constitution of State Council of Senior Citizens in Telangana State for effective implementation of the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007.

Dr. K. Chandrasekhar, the Director of Division of Neuropsychiatry and Geriatric Psychiatry and  Consultant Psychiatrist of Asha Hospital in  Banjara Hills of  Hyderabad, Mohd. Raza Mohammed, the Acting State Head of Helpage India (Telangana State), Mr. K. Naga Chandrika Devi, from the Kinnera Welfare Society have been nominated to the committee under the Specialists/Activists Category by the state government. Mr. M. Prabhakar from Karunaradham Charitable Trust, Mr. Vuchidi Mohan Reddy, the Co-Chairman of Telangana State Senior Citizen's Federation, Mr. Vuppula Gopal Rao, the Vice President of Federation of Senior Citizens Organizations (FESCO), Mr. Peddi Sudhakar, President of Telangana Federation of Senior Citizen's Organization (TFESCO) have been nominated to the committee as members under eminent Senior Citizens Category Specialists/Activists Category.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

What is in a name?

What is in a name?

What’s in a name? That which we call a rose / By any other name would smell as sweet.”  This is a famous quote attributed to Shakespeare. The implication is that names do not matter but the persons are important. To my mind, a person’s name is just to identify him so that we may be certain as to whom we are referring to.  Adding a surname or family name is a sort of ‘individualising’ effort. Heard of ‘disambiguation’ in Wikipedia? That sort of attempt, it is.

There is nothing to boast of in a family name. Your family name may indicate a great lineage. Unless you are also befitting enough by your deeds to share the glory and fame, boasting of a familiar family name is living in borrowed glory or sharing a shadow effect without efforts. It is like saying proudly “I am from Stephens (Delhi)”; what are you on your own? Have you done anything to be a “Stephanite” yourself? Substitute Stephens with IIT and you will see what I am saying.

Attaching undue importance to one’s name is an imported idea from the west. Right from Dale Carnegie to Class room psychology teacher, all of them  have dinned into us: “Sweetest thing one would like to hear is one’s name”. Most salesmen training courses stress that you should address a person by his name. It is a myth created by western scientists. This is / was not really true. We have accepted / imbibed it without introspection.

Look at artists, scientists, architects, sculptors etc of ancient India. Thousands of their works are standing today without revealing who produced them.  Temples, idols, gardens, paintings – cannot list them all. Our ancestors knew that we are valued for what we are intrinsically worth and not for our names. Kings are an exception – they are full of bloated ego; even the most enlightened among them could not get over the temptation of perpetuating their names. Why were they so egoistic? They had enormous self-thrust powers to ruin the life of any citizen. They were more feared than respected.

My name is Padmanabha Vyasamoorthy. Vyasamoorthy is my personal name (given name). My father is Padmanabhan. To indicate that I am Padmanabhan’s son, terminal n is deleted. This practice is an adaptation of Tamil grammar / culture. Many people change my name as they wish: Vyasa, Vyasya, Vysa, Vyshya, Moorthy, Moorthi, Moorti, Murti, Murthy, Murthi, Vyas murthy etc etc. I do not mind this at all. If someone is serious in knowing my ’correct’ name it is there as a part of my signature. “Correct” name is that which is in official records. That’s it.

You should not bother how somebody writes, pronounces or spells your name. Mainly because, there could be thousands of such people. You cannot reach and teach everyone. Each one’s background, interest and ability to understand nuances of naming practice will be different. It is futile and not worth it. On the other hand if you learn to live in a practical world, you will at least not be unhappy.

Same thing applies to titular prefixes. Fellows who retired from the Army, Navy and the like (uniformed services) are too sensitive.  Of course the law permits to hang on to it. The question is: how long can you carry a dead title? After death, what? Can’t we see the ephemerality of life starring at us?

Finally I agree that one should not call you names. As long as that is ensured everything else is OK

Friday, April 14, 2017

Pat yourself if you are polyglot

Pat yourself if you are a polyglot

A Polyglot is a person who is conversant with many languages. I had a senior citizen friend, late Sri Chincholi Sarvotthama Rao (80+), a retired Director of AP Forest Department. He boasted of knowing – hold your breath – sixteen languages. Some of those languages are tribal languages spoken by a few thousands of certain tribal communities. He managed to know just enough to mingle with them and avoid being a victim of cannibalization.

People learn several languages, as it was in the case of Mr Rao mentioned above, out of necessity of their job requirements. Sales and marketing guys, doctors in urban cities are good examples. One Dr Madhusudhana Rao, our family doctor of yester years, knew many languages. He managed to diagnose correctly and communicate effectively while dispensing medicines about its compliance.

My daughter, when she was three, was being interviewed by the school principal for admission; she told the principal: “Teacher, I know four languages, how many do you know?” She got admitted without further questions.

If you want to find out the mother tongue of a friend, just give him bunch of currency notes to count or a simple summation problem. He will use the mother tongue, mostly. You can bet and try.

A polyglot has many advantages.

·         Languages are a binding factor.  People gel with each other easily once they know you belong to them, from language angle. You can have a large circles of friends based on many languages you know.
·         If you are skillful in many languages, risk of suffering from dementia in old age is minimized. One reason why the spread of Alzheimer’s disease in India is far less when compared to the west is that most Indians know more than a couple of languages. It is because of diversity of our culture and our school education system.
·         When you are hiring a maid servant you should ensure that you and your spouse know one more language than the maid knows. For instance if the servant knows Telugu and Hindi, you and your spouse must know Telugu, Hindi and one more language that servant does not know. Then only you can converse with your spouse about / against the maid in question, among yourselves. If the servant is talking ill of you with her friends, then also my advice will be useful.

I know Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and English. French and German – I have forgotten as quickly as I learnt them; I have retaining just enough skill to ascertain the language of an article and perhaps translate the title.  Sanskrit was my second language in School. I cannot avoid exposure to Hindi as Modi’s government is imposing it on everyone in devious ways.

When it comes to language skills, we talk in terms of Read, Write and Speak. Again in terms of fluency you may think of ‘working knowledge’, average and fully conversant (expert) etc. Where would you place yourself in such a grid?

Thursday, April 13, 2017

An old man’s plea - Please show me a place to pee

An old man's plea - Please show me a place to pee

I read in newspapers that GHMC is asking hotels to construct wash rooms and to allow that to be used by public. What a shame? How can they shy away from providing basic amenities and expect hoteliers to co-operate?  As it is hotels and restaurants are charging service charges (12.5%) for poor service they are giving.

In an earlier article entitled "Seven Silly bothers of a Serious Morning Walker" I had indicated that finding a suitable place (urinal / toilet) to pee during your morning walk could be a problem. This problem continues for a large number oldies. For miles at a stretch you cannot locate a public toilet. Even if you find one, it might be so unhygienic (no water, stinking, overflowing drains and choked cisterns) that you cannot step in with any sense of comfort.

If you are out of home on public roads and the urge to void becomes unavoidable you need to quickly locate a urinal nearby. Public toilets / urinals can be located on your mobile if you have Mobile Data on. Just go to Google maps and type street name and public toilet in search field. Here is what I found for nearby toilets for Prenderghast Road (Secunderabad):

But do not expect Google maps to do miracles. Toilets so located may be locked or otherwise unusable as already explained.  Therefore intelligent alternate ways to locate them are required.

Here are a few tips that I can share for the benefit of fellow seniors:

Big Multi-storied Government offices, large Malls, big schools and colleges, Diagnostic labs, hospitals, nursing homes etc are useful. Cinema Halls and places of worship should be avoided.
In multistoried public offices toilets will be placed at the end of a long corridor. Observing drain pipes on the outside walls gives clues. All toilets in a multi storied building will be located in similar places on all floors. Malls have best of toilets but to reach them you will walk miles. Schools / Colleges have very unhygienic environment. Diagnostic labs are best bets.

If you are not in busy city roads but are in residential area you have a problem. Best is to take an auto or cab and move quickly to a safe area where you can relieve yourself.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

​How to stay at home in summer without AC?

How to stay at home in summer without AC?

You may be spending your summer in a house where there is no AC. AC involves additional expenditure on electricity and maintenance. Let us look at some simple inexpensive ways of keeping your home cool.

Here are three tips to prevent heat seeping in through terrace:

1.      If your terrace is exposed to sun then you may think of painting the terrace floor with special cooling powder. It would cost around Rs 1000 for 1000 sq ft and effect will last through summer months.

2.      You may spread a number of coconut tree leaves one over the other covering areas directly above the rooms that you use most. The shade provided by the leaves, plus the air insulation between leaves and floor reduce impact of heat. You may use palmirah tree leaves as well.

3.      Third alternative is to cover the terrace with old gunny bags close to each other. Keep them wet by pouring water over the sheets or use a sprinkler or sprayer. A reaf four to five degrees drop may be seen.

Above suggestions will work if your terrace is directly affected; they are not needed if you are in ground floor of a multistoried apartment. To windows exposed to sun light you can use mats made of grass, green cloth, thin bamboo strips etc. Vetiver grass gives out pleasant aroma when water contained by it evaporates.

Inside the room:

·         Keep Air cooler on if you have one.
·         Keep floor wet by sprinkling water on it.
·         Keep humidity high by spraying water using water sprayers especially targeted at fan while it is on.
·         Spray water upon yourself to keep your body partly wet frequently.
·         Keeps shallow plates of water in different points in the floor say below tables or under chairs

Some More Tips:

Drink plenty of liquids to keep hydrated; Take water melon, lime juice and the like often;
Shower two or three times a day.

Remove yourself from the hotspot psychologically – listen to music; watch a funny tv show; solve some puzzle or quiz; do something absorbing and engaging say painting. Pursue any hobby that makes you forget about unpleasant environment.

If everything fails, like a true Hindu firmly believing in Karma, learn to love the difficult summer with a stoic stance.

Play games in google

Read this page and reach out for hours of fun. No more boredom.

You can play games in google search page itself by just searching for the game such as tictactoe or solitaire

​I thank Justice Rangarajan for this alert.​

Posted by: "Rangarajan T.N.C." <>

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Stories of days gone by - Bangalore - Lavanya Prasad

​his story teller not only has a pretty face but a prettier heart too.
Incidentally, are there storytellers amongst us, say, at least to their own grandchildren?.
Stories of days gone by

Lavanya Prasad's project Roots encourages the elderly to narrate their life experiences

Lavanya Prasad inherited a love for stories from her grandfather. She grew up to become a storyteller but then she is much more than that. She is a documenter of stories of the elderly. Lavanya was initially an electrical/electronics engineer. "I got married and had a family. Teaching was always a passion. So I started working with nursery children and taught them by telling stories. They enjoyed the stories so much that they went home and told stories."

It wasn't until she took a small break that Lavanya seriously considered becoming a storyteller. "I discovered so many things when I researched. Ideas would pop up." For two years, she eased into storytelling by conducting sessions with children around her apartment. She started Talescope, which conducts training for children and adults, in 2014. "I wondered how I could take storytelling to adults. A college friend got in touch with me for conducting a training session, related to stories, with a corporate." The session was a success. Lavanya then decided to take storytelling to senior citizens. "I approached Nightingales Trust in J.P. Nagar and Silver Talkies."

She observed that personal stories were a powerful way to encourage the elderly to tell stories of their younger days. "I shared a childhood memory with them. I had my grandfather's rubber stamp that had triggered in them what they treasured in their lives. The next session was to try to make them write their stories. I gave them activities to help them to find memories from their lives."

It was at home, though, that Lavanya found the person who would lead her to start Roots , a project that brings alive stories of the elderly. "I started with my great grandfather-in-law, which inspired the family book, The Saga of Seshi Paati (grandmother)."

While she inspired the elderly to tell their stories, she made some exciting discoveries. "A Bengali couple said their ancestors came from Pakistan, but had to move to India. This happened before the Partition."

Singing songs also inspired them. "Whenever I sing Punyakoti, a Kannada folk song, I have people tell me they used to listen to that song on radio! It was a hit during their time. And they would all sing along with me." Then she tells the story of a man who made a sketch of his wife when he first met her. The sketch, which he has with him to this day, is his prized possession. "He was very quiet during the session. It was later that he approached me and narrated how he loved and missed his wife." There were many such anecdotes. "A lady recalled possessing the first portable typewriter and another man said he treasured the paperweights he had."

Lavanya stays true to her mission of storytelling. "Talescope is a play on 'telescope'. My endeavour is to bring clear visions through stories."

Thursday, April 6, 2017

How to keep yourself busy: Read up anything you can lay your hands on

How to keep yourself busy: Read up anything you can lay your hands on

Are you the one who will read any scrap of paper lying around? I know some who do. This includes my father-in-law. He felt so lonely that to while away time, besides peering through every page of three newspapers we used to subscribe, he would pick up any scrap of paper and start reading. Newspaper inserts, handbills, invitations etc don't miss his eyes.

Many years ago, grocery shops in neighborhood used to sell things wrapped in old newspaper. It was a skillful job those days to transfer dal, rice, sugar, rava and the like to a piece of rectangular scrap paper and fold it such that nothing further, like stapling, tying with thread / twine / suthli etc is needed. The folding itself would be sufficient to provide stability to keep stuff stay put in the packet.   Some vendors used to make a paper one of sorts, fold a tiny bit at the bottom of the cone, put grocery item into it and seal it at the top without glue – just the fold would hold it fine. In the case of cone packings jute thread may be used. In my school days, paper scrap recovered from such grocery packets would be used for other purposes and re-cycled. I don't know if some of you remember we used such scraps of paper for swiping shit off a toddler's butt.

Chennai publishes a Tamil weekly called Kumudham. In my college days Kumudham used to publish a column called 'pottalam'. The author of this column depended on newspaper scrap scavenged from grocery stores deliveries for his content-inspirations. He will refer to something he chanced to read and comment on it. I liked his innovative sourcing of subjects to write about and the outcome as well.

By now you would have realized what I am coming to. I am advising senior citizens not to while away whining all the time about being lonely. Read up any scrap you can grab. There could be a treasure of your lifetime, if you are lucky. You will at least discover that many you never knew have died, if what you are looking at is obituary part.

Dr P Vyasamoorthy
30 Gruhalakshmi Colony, Secunderabad 500015 Telangana
LL 040-27846631 / Mobile: 9490804278

His capacity to understand simple things is so abysmally low that I am  exasperated and exhausted every time I write to him

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Red Cross NMT Dementia DCC Hyderabad

Red Cross-Nightingales Trust Dementia Day Care Centre, Hyderabad

On 31st March 2017 Nightingales Medical Trust of Bengaluru and Indian Red Cross Society, Telangana State Branch started a Dementia Day Care Centre in Banjara Hills. It is the largest such facility having a capacity to serve fifty persons. The ultra-modern day care is equipped with physiotherapy, board games,  books,  rest rooms, siesta corner, Telemedicine, teleconferencing, transport  etc on the physical side; and physiotherapists, counsellors, psychologists, dementia care givers, dementia experts on staff side. Red Cross has provided infrastructure, funds and reaching out while NMT takes care of personnel and management aspects. One could witness decade's experience of NMT in planning, equipping and providing this centre.

The centre would offer:

Transportation from and to the centre; Physiotherapy and re-habilitation; Group / individual Games; Music therapy;  Reality orientation; Reminiscence therapy; Outings and excursions; Hobby development

If anyone is interested in volunteering, he can teach, sing or entertain, help in administration, sponsor some patients etc

In the same floor there is a full-fledged AYUSH Wellness center with experts in Ayurveda, Unani, Homeopathy, Nature cure etc all under one roof.

Mr Mital and I attended in the inaugural function. Both the facilities were inaugurated by the Governor of AP and TS, Sri ESL Narasimhan. Red Cross and NMT signed a formal MOU in this regard.

Mrs Radha Murthy, Trustee NMT, said dementia is becoming an epidemic and support facilities are negligible.  She briefly gave details of NMT activities for the past two decades which included: 88 bed Dementia residential care facility, Active aging centre, Enrichment centre, Helpline supported by police, second career activity bridging employers and job seekers, RRTC engaged in capacity building,  website called Indiaelderconnect etc.

The Governor praised the services of Nightingales Medical Trust & Red Cross. He said that it is indeed a Red Letter Day for Telangana. We were also told that the Day care centre is just the beginning and very soon we may expect, near Hyderabad, full-fledged residential care home too. He repeatedly emphasized that the Government of Telangana is very serious in improving health care services in the state. We should expect certain positive changes soon. He strongly requested media not to exaggerate minor shortcomings but to highlight several good things that are happening. One thing I can straight away point out happily: The meeting started ON time – something rare when politicians are involved!

Contact:  Red Cross-Nightingales Trust Dementia Care Centre Adjacent to Gymkhana Club Road No 2 Banjara Hills Hyderabad 500033 
Ph 040-42706565 Shreya Mane +91 9731133322   / 80 – 42706565

Dr P Vyasamoorthy
30 Gruhalakshmi Colony, Secunderabad 500015 Telangana
LL 040-27846631 / Mobile: 9490804278

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

A Note on budget of MOSJE - allocation for PD and Senior Citizens

A Note on budget of MOSJE – allocation for PD and senior citizens

Total Annual budget allotment for MOSJE 2500 Crores
Budget for Disabled &SrCit -> 9.3% --> 232.5 Crores
Expenditure on SrCit -->
       OAP 16 crores (not from MOsje budget)
       Integrated Program 10.36 (out of budgeted 22 crores)
Total --> say 27 crores ; This works out to  less than 10% of Disabled + SrCit Budget and constitutes  about 1% of ministry's budget. 
Population: Senior Citizens 60+ --> 7.7 crores out of total 102.9 crores
                  Disabled --> 2.19 cr out of 102.9 cr
MOSJE Budget & Expenditure 2010-11 on PD &Sr Citizens
Total Mosje Budget for 2010-11 --  Rs 4300 crores

Senior Citizens
% of population
% of expenditure
Of total budget
% of population
% of expenditure of total budget
(2.2 cr)
(7.7 cr)


Mosje spends 8.71% of its budget on Disabled welfare who are just 2.19% of  total population while  it spends only 1.69% of its budget on senior citizens who form 7.5% of population.  Partisan and neglectful attitude towards senior citizens can’t be exposed better.

Can you compare the figures for latest years?

Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana

This is a scheme whereby the Ministry of Social Justice distributes assistive devices to disabled senior citizens in camps organised for this purpose. Please read some info from the ministry published recently.

Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana, Shri Gehlot said that this new Central sector scheme has been formulated in pursuance of the Budget 2015-16 announcement and is 100% funded by the Central government. This scheme aims at providing Senior citizens, belonging to BPL category and suffering from any of the age related disability/infirmity viz. Low vision, Hearing impairment, Loss of teeth and locomotor disability, with such assisted-living devices which can restore near normalcy in their bodily functions, overcoming the disability/infirmity manifested. This scheme first of its kind in the country, is expected to benefit 5,20,000 senior citizens over a period of three years. These devices will distributed free of cost in Camp mode. It will be launched on 1st April, 2017 in District Nellore in Andhra Pradesh followed by on 8th April, 2017 in Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh. 

My observation on the above: MOSJE has always been  partial in its dealings with senior citizens and disabled persons. They allocate and spend money disproportionate to the population of these two sections under ministry control. See my note here made some years ago. This disparity and injustice continues.

Ministry on its own has scheme for distributing assistive devises to the disabled. That work being done for senior citizens among the disabled is now getting highlighted as if some great benefit is extended to seniors. It helps only disabled and only those in BPL category and that too distributed over many years. Even in initial three year period not even a third of disabled senior citizens will be covered. If the ministry is serious about it, why not distribute assistive devices to all disabled senior citizens in one year -- through state govt departments, instead of several camps over many years?

Do you agree? Please share your views.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Hundred percent of survey respondents hate TOI ADs

I conducted a survey among TOI readers asking them:

Do you like first page / front page of TOI containing full page AD?
Do you like half (vertically) cut page in place of full page as first page?
Do you like the long thin right vertical strip of a projecting advertisement in TOI?

All the respondents invariably replied that they hate them. Earlier they had other things to hate, now it is ADVERTISEMENTS proper.
However as it happens with all surveys, here's customary caution: A larger study is needed to vindicate / support the findings. Current sample size: three; myself and my two daughters.

[ Times of India, Advertisements, Survey, Readership Survey]​

Monday, March 6, 2017

Lifelong Learner: An inspirational example

Lifelong Learner: An inspirational example

“After nearly seven decades I was in a class room as a formal student” said Mr RN Mital, about his participation in a one day training course on CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) Funding  organized by Navjeevan Center for Development in Hyderabad in March 2017. It was a fee based event and Mital wanted to learn about the intricacies of securing CSR funds for projects concerning senior citizens. He sat through the course for 8 hours, interacted with a number of NGO participants and came back richly rewarded. Not that he is a novice in the field. Having been associated with the problems of the elderly in India for the past 15 years, he is fit enough to talk on the topic with authority. In case you do not know, he maintains a blog of his own for the spreading the cause of Corporate Social Responsibility.

In fact he has been invited as a key note speaker in many events organized by leading associations and apex bodies. He was nothing less than the President of All India Senior Citizens Confederation for two terms. He was a member of National Council of Senior Citizens and a member of a committee on elders' welfare on NHRC. He, by himself, has conducted several meetings, conclaves, seminars etc on the subject of CSR. And senior officers in MOSJE, MOCA etc know him. But then what prompted him to take up a formal paid training program? His zeal and passion to know more and more and the eagerness to equip himself fully and to establish himself as an authority on a topic close to his heart.

I salute the Lifelong Learner in him. It is not easy to spend a whole day as a pupil in a classroom, keeping in mind that he is 90 plus. Hats off to RNM.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Securing your documents and records: Serious issue for Senior Citizens

Securing your documents and records: Serious issue for Senior Citizens

An important task that all senior citizens should pay attention to is to the get their papers in order. All important records from birth to death and after – are they easily retrievable by you or others in need? 

Judy Rough, in a video session entitled “Getting your Ducks in a Row” during the Virtual Summit [26th Feb to 4th March 2017] organized by Age Without Borders, showed how to handle above questions. Personal identification records, medical / health records, financial investment papers, home, inventory and property documents, insurance, photos, videos, will, passwords, wallet contents etc --- you must listen to her at least just to look at the list and type of papers / documents to think about. I was amazed at the exhaustive list of items we should bother about, but don’t. She touched upon both physical and digital records maintenance. She said she got inspired in this area  after observing her father who did a meticulous and perfect job of handling records and documents.

Inspired by Judy’s talk, I wish to share info on digital documents storage facility for this problem.  Google Health provided such a facility for medical records alone for some years but was discontinued in 2011. Govt of India has started a free service called digital locker at: or This is  service available to  all Indians to safely keep all records like birth certificate, educational records, Aadhaar card, ration card, driving license, Will etc.  The website holds some 165 crore Documents (from 45 lakh registered users) in safe custody already, proving that it is gaining popularity and confidence of people.

Once you register yourself and link your Aadhaar things start rolling. You can upload any document you need to retrieve (only pdf gif jpg formats for the time being). In the case of certain govt issued documents like Driving License or School certificate you can request concerned agency to upload it from their database. Keeping your driving license in the digital locker helps you flash it to anyone who may ask for it right from your mobile phone – no need to carry plastic card!  However, this part is still under development. As far as other documents of your own are concerned, you need to scan them into jpg or gif format. The site is relatively easy to use and reliable. It is also highly secure as explained in its FAQ.

Of course regular bank lockers are available for safe keeping originals of land records, Will , mortgage documents etc. We need to make an inventory of all important papers, sort them into folders, file them, index them showing location and method of deletion / removal / transfer etc. This may appear to be lot of work but worth it. Especially for senior citizens as their memory is unreliable and you cannot predict what you need when.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Power of giving back and Active Aging by Armoogum Parsuramen

Power of giving back and Active Aging by Armoogum Parsuramen

I watched a video session on the fourth day of “Aging without Borders Virtual Summit”. The speaker was introduced by Moira of Pass it on Network. Armoogum Parsuramen from Mauritius, popularly known as Parsu, is the founder of four leading organizations: Global Rainbow Foundation taking care  of physically handicapped persons, University of Third Age in Mauritius, Senior Citizens  Solidarity Foundation and International Tamil Diaspora Association.

The University of Third Age Mauritius started three years ago runs 25 courses and enjoys a strength of 1000 students – as you may guess all are senior citizens. Senior Citizens Council is the apex body uniting some 760 Senior Citizens Associations. Mauritius, he calls is a rainbow country meaning it is a multi cultural society which enjoys unity in diversity. Senior should live in harmony with nature and other sections of the society, he says. Being ever grateful for God has given him his philosophy is: “Earn, Learn and Return”. Giving back to society is essence of his living.

Talking of International Tamil Diaspora, he described briefly about Thirukural written by Thiruvalluvar some 2000 years ago. The teachings enshrined in it are relevant even now. Translated already into 45 languages Thirukural enjoys global appreciation. He spoke of events coming up in May 2017 and in 2020 in India. In fact, I was drawn to his talk as I am a Tamilian myself.

He says building a network is hard work but if you are keen and committed to serve the society, help comes from all sides making your dream a reality. God-fearing Parsuramen believes in universal spirituality and claims that FAITH does bring about miracles. Presently he is engaged in removing computer phobia among the elderly – he has made hundreds get interested in skype, browsing, twitter and Facebook. Shortly they are planning memory training  programs with a view to mitigate problems due to Alzheimer’s disease.

I am proud to be a member of Asia Pacific Alliance for U3A where Parsu is also a member. Parsu’s talk demonstrates what one can achieve in life if he has determination. Perfect living example of active aging, indeed. 

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Mental Gym for Seniors: Sentences with progressive word length

Mental Gym for Seniors: Sentences with progressive word length

SSS-GLOBAL is a web based discussion group for senior citizens on Yahoo. It has 700+ members out of whom some 150 are active on daily basis. About sixty messages are exchanged daily. One member, Prof V Seshadri, sends out every day one puzzle or quiz question to solve. The query or question could be word / language based puzzles, arithmetic problems, logic based puzzles etc. Match the following, pick the odd man out, fill in the blanks etc are routine. Answers are sent to him and discussed next day in the group. This mental gym exercise is appreciated by many and on a daily basis at least ten seniors take part in answering the puzzles.

Recently he posed a task: “Construct sentences containing of increasing word length successively”.
First word must be of one letter; second one having two letters; third word having three letters and so on. How far can you go, he asked us. I guess that this was inspired by the famous quote about physicians scribbling of prescriptions:

I do not know where family doctors acquired illegibly perplexing handwriting nevertheless, extraordinary pharmaceutical intellectuality counterbalancing indecipherability, transcendentalizes intercommunications incomprehensibleness. 

Several members participated, each excelling the other in coming up with brilliant answers. Some of them are reproduced here.

1.      I do say that other rumour mongers' attempts backfired (RK chitrapu)
2.      I am sad that their Maruti crashed. (Jayanti Menon)
3.      I do not lend money.  (RV Rao)
4.      I am the best known writer  warrior. (Doraiah Babu)
5.      I do not want blank cheque anymore (RV rao)
6.      I do not like bland pickle  (P Vyasamoorthy)
7.      I do cry over nasty jokers (P Vyasamoorthy)
8.      'I am the best green garden traffic managing directory'. (V Seshadri)
9.      'I do not want other skills because teaching institute vandalised'. (VS)
10.  I am now well known Kerala Ayurved Hospital in-patient. (SV Ramana)
11.  I am not very upset person amongst cheerful gathering. (Anureeta Saigal)
12.  I am not very happy person amongst negative gathering. (Anureeta Saigal)
13.  I am not like saint living without ambition.  (Anureeta Saigal)
14.  I am too good child always admires /respects beautiful quotations. (Anureeta Saigal)
15.  I am one rare oldie having motions properly  (P Vyasamoorthy)

I liked item 10 most. It was sent by Sri SV Ramana from a Nature Cure hospital as he was admitted there for a knee problem. He wrote that sentence depicting his position. What an extemporization!