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Living Alone

About Ritika Jain

Ritika jain hails from Rajasthan, She is pursuing her journalism studies from Mumbai. She loves to meet new people, explore new places and also loves dancing.
For #TellMeYourStory, Ritika is dedicated to collect stories from senior citizens, especially from those at old age homes, who aren't tech savvy but have marvelous stories to say, reflecting upon culture, values, ideologies and a generation.

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I am 63 years old now. I am living alone since forever I guess. I was all of 8 years maybe, when my parents left me on the streets of Kota, Rajasthan. I had no idea what to do, where to go and what to do with myself. I don’t even remember their faces now, after all these years. Those were the days when I could not even afford to drink water by myself.

Many months passed. I struggled a lot to survive. I got a job in the agricultural sector where I used to earn 2 rupees per day. You might be wondering how someone can earn just 2 rupees for a day’s work! But then, in those days 2 rupees were equivalent to 200 rupees now. I could easily have my meals with that money and even saved a little bit for rainy days.

After a year, I switched into a garment shop as a worker. There I earned 100 rupees per month. Gradually I managed to save a lot. I started dreaming of a better future. After continuing in the same job for almost 3 years, I started my own garments business. Things were going pretty well.

It’s just been 2 years since I came to this old age home. I was never married. There wasn’t anyone to plan my future so meticulously and secure it with a family. Neither was I so farsighted. With no one to fall back on, and age catching up with time, my strength started giving up. Maybe this is the reason why I sold my shop few years back and came to settle in an old age home to live peacefully.

I was a middle class man. After life-long struggles, I had started feeling that this business would take me nowhere. I did not even know who I am going to give my shop after I die. It made sense to pass the fruits of my struggles to a logical successor and retire from the grill, finally. By then I had made sufficient savings too. So I decided 5 years back that by 60, I am going to stop everything and move to an old age home. I wanted to live with some new people to care for, and be taken care of. Today I feel that it was the right decision. In this old age home I am living happily with some new friends. We laugh together, eat together and stand by each other in happiness and pain. If this is not family, what else is?

Storyteller : Devraj Daga

As told to Ritika Jain

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