Sunday, 17 February 2013

Dwarakamai Vruddhashram

We will also be old one day!!!

Thayagaraja Aaradhana - A yearly tribture to the trimurthis (Shri Thyagaraja swamigal, shri muthuswami dikshitar and shri shyama shastri) and also to the  father of carnatic music shri purandara dasar. If we today we enjoy music at its best , it is because of the ragam, thanam, bhavam filled songs of these great saints of carnatic music.

Like every year, shriram's mrudangam teacher, Vidwan. Shri gopalakrishnan, also celebrated this festival but in a different way. People generally celebrate this in temples, big halls and other places but this man did it in his very own old age ashram called "Dwarakamai Vruddhashram" in chikkaballapur. It was attended by an elite group of people having a sound musical knowledge and lead by mrudanga vidwan Shri. T.S. mani and his wife Vidushi. Smt. Rama Mani

Now, this post is not to elaborate on the arrangements or grandeur with which it was celebrated. Neither it is meant to talk about the songs sang or about the vidwans who sang. It is about the people and the kind of care that they are given.

This ashram is entirely and solely run by Shri. Gopalakrishnan's son murali and his wife. Shri gopalakrishnan also is very much a part of it. This is around 14 years old (i think). Old people who are abandoned by children resort to this place and are taken care like children. There are actually two wings. One wing has all old people whose children have left them to be totally forgotten. Even if they were to die, it would be the ashram inmates who would perform their last rites. According the Shri. Gopalakrishna, in the last 10 years, he has performed rites to around 800+ people. We saw people who have no legs, some who were totally bed ridden, one who could neither hear, see or speak and was being fed by one of the volunteers. It nearly brought tears to our eyes. Time and again, we are reminded of how gifted we are and what we need to give back society.

The other wing is a more decent one where people live by paying some meager amount. So, this ashram is entirely run by donations. Money is not asked but flows -little by little. There is a shirdi temple within the ashram and everyone here believes that it is Baba who takes care of them and their needs. We could actually not spend time with the old people as the celebrations were ongoing and had to leave to our far destinations. But the underlying point is that this man single handedly runs the show with the help of family members. It is pure selfless service.

Many a times, parents are hurt by harsh words. Their advice is unwanted. They become people of boring speech as they grow old. They become a burden. But little do we realize that it were these same mother and father who taught us to face world, who held our hands when we were down, who patted our backs and lifted us when we failed, who rejoice more than us when we found small success in life. They lifted all our burden and made us what we are today and we when we are independent, we find them to be a burden. We don't even realize that we will also travel the same boat few years from now. We will also have to undergo the same treatment from our children because we set an example to our children. We plan so much for he future and claim to be so foresighted but ignore such human values and relationships which will reap the same harvest in future.

Through this blog post, I would like to tell people that if you are interested in donating to this sai ashram, you may do so. You can contact Shri. Gopalakrishna. (Mob: 9886275899). By the way, you do get a 80G IT exemption for your donations.

For many, this post will definitely be a matter of non-attachment and a casual read/comment. It would be like any other NGO who are doing yeomen service. I am not trying to promote this ashram or try to associate myself. This is only to create an awareness in people about this home, their selfless work and their commitment. Out of your many whole hearted charity that you do for varying NGOs, this can atleast be at the end of your wish list.