It is more than two years that I penned my first brush with the Day Care Center of sector 15, Chandigarh in the space available in this portal. Since then I became a regular member. It has been a wonderful and rewarding association. I made so many acquaintances and friends. I gained identity as an individual independently of being father of my nephrologist son. I got to know so many wonderful persons. Each of them had their wonderful life experiences and they shared their stories with enthusiasm. I felt like being a part of the community. It was a forum for me to be know the local Punjabi language and culture in direct encounter. I have lived for nearly two decades in Chandigarh. But I was insulated from being familiar with local community, because I rarely found opportunity to meet common people in any substantive manner.
Day Care center changed all of that. There was Mr.Chhabra partially paralysed,but always cheerful. He would like Paneer Pakouras and a little prodding was sufficient for him to order for these for those assembled. It was wonderful to know Vijay Berry, a man with artistic temperament, humility and spirit of abandonment, ever smiling Binode Vadhera, and Binode Mahajan. Graceful Shree Surinder Kumar Mahajan would often appear together with his gracious Mrs Mahajan. We used to celebrate birthday of members; the birthday cake would always be provided by Mrs Usha Bansal.
I discovered the center as a conglomerate of persons from different segments of the community, each of whom had a lovely and tender life story. Mrs Tejinder Kaur had successfully and courageously borne the brunt of fate without showing the scars. She, Shree Mahatab Nudarat and Mr Wilson Masih are NRIs and stay offshore with their offsprings during part of the year. There were occasional sessions of Shero shayari by Nudarat and Wilson Jee. Berry is a gifted singer. He would regale the assembly with melodious songs. Balajee was the odd man out. An artist with his unuque eccentricities, Balajee would make drawings effortlessly with imagination. He is a theater person as are Shre Vijay Berri and Shree Binode Mahajan.
Counseller Smt Priyanka Thakur employed her not so common talent of engaging with every person so that he/she feels special. She enjoys being helpful and relevant to senior citizens. She would chalk out activities for the day. Coordinator Smt Vandana would maintain her poise and grace.
But then I had to move to another end of the city. This made the center out of reach for me. My association with it was interrupted. There were occasional contacts by phone calls and rae visits. I missed the center and could not find a replacement of it. The association lingered in my memory.
I had a particularly exciting and rewarding experience a few days ago. As the doorbell rang, I opened the door. Smiling faces of Smt Vandana Bhatia, and Smt Priyanka Thakur together with Shree and Smt Sk Mahajan greeted me. It was a surprise and honour for me. I was used to be a regular member of the center before shifting to my new address in sector 30. I felt gratified. and my feeling of isolation seemed to be misplaced. I promised to visit the center the next day. After they left I found our photographs in my messenger box sent by Priyanka, They were clicked surreptitiously by her. It was such nice and naughty of her, I posted a photo on the Facebook page of the center.
Today as I visited the center I was overwhelmed by the smiling faces, besides Vandana and Priyanka Shree Vijay Berry was there. Smt Rama Chakravarty came as earnestly requesting me to help her with computer. I felt so happy to comply with her urging. Her eyes glistened.
Mr Wilson Masih and Mr Mahatab Nudarat regaled us with their beautiful shayari. Shree and Smt Sk Mahajan were happy to see me there. Then There were the ever jubiliant Shree Binode Mahajan and Shree Balajee. Dr Goyal and Smt Sheba recorded our B.P as they used to do. Sheba was the person who had introduced me to the center. I inquired her about her pretty daughter Angelina. She smiled.
It was such an invigorating experience.