Life and Death in Pashupati
“Here and there they are seating in the courtyard and on the shrine platform with absorbed in detailed memories of a distant happiness. Or it is a place where elderly people are left by their families to die? Thousands question will haunt you but there is no one to answer you but only your inner realm of emotion. They submits to being fed, here, in a old home, It’s the same every day, every day…..I understand, when you get here you don’t worry about the future. Then, I mesmerize, May God bless and give them solace.” – GMB Akash
Once you enter the premises of the Briddhasram at Pashupathinath you can’t help but feel like you are transcended time back at least half a century or more, to a place where the world moves very slowly.
Looking at the bed side a damped photo of a grandchild while a grandma smiles and say she didn’t see her last 10 years yet she sleeps with a same photo in her mind. They were like reciting their homelessness to me. I have to capture their souls to keep their image from disappearing out of sight.
There, you can see all grey haired elderly citizens doing nothing but spending lazy moments for hours in the courtyard and on the shrine platform. Some curious eyes follow you as you walk pass the welfare gate. If any of them is busy praying than other is trying hard to bend and dust off his cloths. A place, all you hear is the steady sound of the wheeled metallic support of an elderly with crippled feet or a faint sound of a broken radio which is playing Nepali song or news.
(Social Welfare Centre Briddhashram is the only Elderly’s Home operated by His Majesty’s Government in the Kingdom Nepal. At present it is being operated by the name of Social Welfare Centre Elderly’s Home, Pashupati since 1977 A. D. The total sheltering capacity of this Elderly Home is 240 persons. These residents suffer from many illnesses associated with old age; including paralysis, failing eyesight and deterioration of mental faculties)
For some it is a depressing scene to see people at the end of life, away from family, living in the Briddhasram. But for many, this is a place where they seek refuge from an ever speeding life and feel satisfied enough simply helping and sharing talk with the older citizens. The residents of the home don’t talk much to each other, which gives you an aura of wilderness where no word is spoken; but they really live for each other closely for rest of their life. This home for the elderly fills one with hope. What gives hope is that although they have lost families and possessions, the residents still care, they care for each other and they retain a deep sense of humanity.
Many people believe that they must help and protect their parents, when they become old. I personally believe that this is a moral obligation that every child should have towards their parents, whichever the way they choose to do so but they should never let them break apart alone.
“Through my lens I try to listen to their silent voices, in absolute solitude and silence,for I am sure I shall be able to hear about their unbearable wounds in which they stumbled upon alone years after year. So I take out my camera, go inside the place and merged with their pain”
– GMB Akash