A house where the elderly meet
OT, June 24, 2011 IST
Okhla Times Reporter/AFE
On a hot and humid day of June 23 at about 5: 30 P.M. a few elderly people in a house at Abul Fazal Enclave are talking about science. Urdu magazines lay strewn on the table and the shelves in the modest room of a four-storey building are chock-a-block with books. Of them some are covered with dust. On the street, other residents are busy with their daily chores. Some are returning from their offices and a few girls are busy buying fried sweetcorn being sold nearby. But the hustle on the street is not distracting these retired residents who are animatedly debating how science has changed the world.
This is the only place in this colony where elderly flocks every day to read Urdu magazines, newspapers and to share their stories.
The Zakri Library and Adult Education Centre, popularly known as Ulfat Kada, has a constant stream of visitors from 11 A.M. Opened throughout the week, both old and youth turn up to keep them informed about development. A television set is also placed at the corner. Dilbar Hussain, who has been running the centre since 1990, said the television set is a source of information as we watch religious channels like Peace TV and Q TV. But with the channels being blocked the television has been quiet with the residents doing most of the talk. Hussain, who was born in 1935 and has 17 children from his seven wives, said: “The centre was the brainchild of my son Raghib Husssain, who died in a road accident at an early age of 18.”
With all his wives dead and only surviving son based in California, US, he lives alone, whiling his time away with other old people in the locality who too face such problems. Amroha-born Hafizur Rahman, who has been living in AFE for the last 20 years, said: “Whenever I feel lonely I come here.” Another resident Amannullah, 60, was also seen engrossed in an Urdu magazine. When asked about his reaction, he said: “It is a good place. Other than meeting new faces we also discuss our problems.”
At times, this old men’s club is also crowded with middle-age residents. Abdul Rakib, 40, a regular visitor to this place, said: “I come here to read magazines and Urdu newspapers.” Another young resident Arif Shamoo also stepped in to have a look at the newspapers and interact with elderly. By 6:00 P.M. the crowd started swelling with the debate raging on a range of subjects of the past and present.
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