Noble Mansion

Inside the adharghar

Scenes from a retirement home in Nere

Rahul Bhatia

Call it an adharghar, a retirement home, a “final destination” (as some of its residents do). Two young men, Amit Shirke and Balu Patil, have the run of the place. It’s a tiny place, tucked away on one edge of a state highway and, on a new urban plan, in the way of a major road that will come this way.

They cook, they clean, they serve. Both of them grew up in families that looked after people who were old, abandoned, or sick. They spoke about what it took to manage the home, and their lack of profits. They barely break even. What truly bothered them, though, was how land acquisition in the area had changed values. Farmers spent money extravagantly on cars and weddings, and refused to work any longer.

Amit and Balu spent their days at the home, where life is simpler. People here just want to talk, he said. Sometimes they’re raring for an argument. They oblige. “It’s good for them,” he said, smiling.

Read the main story here.

Amit Shirke, one of the young men who runs the old folks' home at Nere. He worked for years after dropping out in the tenth grade, and recently resolved to get a college degree
Rohit, a friend of Amit's, visits the home after wrapping up his fabrication business for the day. He wants to make things, but "no one funds R&D in India," he says.
A feature of life inside the home: rows of residents lying down
Balu and Rohit listen to Amit discussing a patient. The man lies in a crib at the far end of the room. He's yelling and laughing. The other residents are used to it
"This one fights," Amit says. "Look at her, and she'll fight. Talk to her, and she'll fight." She sat up the entire time I was there, rubbing a paste onto her gums
A bottle of Dextrose, a glucose solution administered intravenously, ready for emergencies
Amit and Rohit make air coolers on demand. "It costs 7000," Amit says. "And it's cheaper and better than anything else on the market."
The belongings of a young girl who walked into a jungle nearby, and was found paralysed. She was eleven when it happened. Now she's 26, and remains curled on a bed