A life partner is a person to whom with we share our joy, sorrows, ups, and downs of life. But when someone lost their companion especially in old age, when children are busy in their own fast-paced life. This loss Leads them to loneliness and depression. But what if senior citizens also get the second chance to live with someone like happily ever after. It feels like a dream but Jyeshtha Nagrik Live- in relationships Mandal, founded by former publisher and writer Madhav Damle in 2012 made this dream come true.
Birth of kindness
|Madhav Damle (Middle)|
When Madhav Damle visited an old age homes for widowed seniors he got to know that most of the seniors there were alone and depressed. Damle Expressed his view, “It was disturbing to see how they would feel lost and lonely for days to come. They had nothing to hold on to or fall back on. This is when I arranged for a few of them to meet and interact. I managed to get two couples married. However, the third marriage fell through when the son intervened and created a ruckus”
Strike of live-in relationships
When he got acquainted with the fact that there are over 17,000 single senior citizens who live in Pune only. And living under the shade of loneliness. Then this idea to start an NGO named JNLRM came into his mind. He wanted to help them and make their life happy and full of hopes. In one of his interviews, Damle said “The debacle of the third marriage got me worried and that’s when I read the Supreme Court’s study of live-in relationships. I got thinking, young people have much at stake in a live-in, however, a senior citizen doesn’t have much to lose. That’s how we started conducting monthly get-togethers and quarterly picnics/trips for senior citizens.”
It was so pure, positive, and helpful initiative which is so moving so inspiring. Every person has the right to live happily and loved by someone even at their ripe age. So far Damle’s Organisation/Mandal has successfully brought together 39 couples, which is magnificent. However, the choice of marriage or stay in a live-in relationship depends on the couple. Damle shared his view on Live-in relationships he said “Why not live-in relationships, which can be more hassle-free,” he further added “I did a survey and made 300 questionnaires. More than 70% of people who took the survey said live-in relationships would be an ideal situation for lonely senior citizens looking for companionship, but after 10 years.”
Way it works
The whole matchmaking process is very authentic. Damle stated, “The single seniors are divided into three age-groups, 55 to 64 are Bal Jyeshtha (child-like old), 65 to 80 are Tarun Jyeshtha (young-old), and 80 plus Khare Jyeshtha (really old). “This way, we ensure we are not pairing up two diverse ages because then it increases complexities.”
Once he found a good match for a candidate, he organizes picnics and trips for them. It helps them to lay the first stone or to open up with each other. Then the other documentation was done by the Mandal with the agreement of both sides. So that there will be no place for confusion in the future.
Hurdles and obstacles
Though Damle faced several hurdles in this whole journey. But he never gave up. In our society, where the mere thought of a live-in relationship or getting married at this ripe age is intimidating, it becomes difficult to persuade our children. Damle says in his interview with Hindustan Times, “To be very honest, most of them are often worried about what society will say, or what will relatives say or what will their children say. Mostly, the kids are worried about having an extra member of the property share. Property is one of the most common bones of contention between single seniors and their kids”. Like every coin has two sides, there were also examples where children or even sometimes grandchildren come forward to find a suitable match for their single parents or grandparent.
This Concept of a live-in relationship for senior citizens is unique and also helpful for them. In our society, we need such types of organizations and more people like, Madhav Damle, who thinks out of the box and serves humanity in its true sense. Madhav Damle is an inspiration for everyone that age is no barrier. It’s a limitation you put on your mind. Everyone deserves love and happiness whether young or old. We need a society, where people are open-minded and accept the change. LIVE and LET LIVE, this is a very basic concept of life. If we all learn this fact or digest it, then no one has to live a lonely life whether he or she wants to have a companion or a partner at their ripe age.