Salim Shaikh owns a raddi depot in Patil Estate slums near Wakdewadi Masjid. In his free time,he collects newspaper cuttings on social issues such as female foeticide,suicide among youth,old age homes and so on. After enough deliberation on this material,Shaikh has now made a 30-minute film to highlight woes of senior citizens staying in old age homes. He screens the film in small slums to discourage people from shirking the responsibility of looking after aging parents.
Shaikhs raddi shop also acts as the office of Sandesh Library,he founded 18 months ago. We used to make posters on social issues and convince autorickshaw drivers to paste them on their rickshaws for creating awareness. The posters also carry Salim Shaikhs contact number. We used to receive at least one call daily from people who read our posters either thinking we were running an old age home or to commend our initiative. The 10 members of our library then decided to make a short film that will depict the woes of senior citizens in an old age home, said Samir Shaikh,another member of the library.
A Hadapsar-based Siddhi Vruddhashram (old age home) run by two friends,Laxmi Mane and Chhaya Sarawade,permitted them to conduct the shoot. We started the old age home in 2002 for destitute senior citizens. However,we have at least two instances where children have admitted their parents here by saying they were their neighbours and had no one to look after them. We found out about it after one of the parents died and the children came to sign the property papers, says Sarawade in the film.
There are 13 inmates in the old age home. In the backdrop of their daily routine depicted in the film,Sarawade and Mane narrate heart-wrenching stories of how senior citizens are admitted and how their sons and daughters even refuse to claim the bodies upon their death. Shaikh sought our permission to shoot the film. We agreed after realising the film will be the voice of senior citizens staying here, said Sarawade.
We have screened the film for small groups in the Patil estate slums itself. Going to other areas is not always financially viable, said Salim Shaikh said. However,a copy of the film can be given to those interested,he added.