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The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Christmas cheer for old-age home inmates

- Fashion academy students play Santa

Carols, cakes, caps and Santa, rather Santas, together made the day special for 39 very senior citizens in Ranchi on Wednesday.

Students of the capital’s Indus Fashion Academy lit up the lives of the inmates of Bariatu-based Old Age Home by organising pre-Christmas celebrations. Twenty students descended on the home, sang carols, shook a leg and treated their elderly friends to a sumptuous lunch, all in the spirit of Christmas.

The broadest of smiles came from Ashrafi Devi, who claimed she was 108 years old, who looked pleased as punch in her red Santa cap. Devi had rarely found a reason to smile in the last 10 years or so, when her son left her at the home and went away.

Mere bacche toh bichar gaye hain, lekin ye sab bhi mere bacche hi hain (I have lost my children, but these students are my kids too),” Devi said, adjusting her cap.

Equally delighted was Ranchi resident Mohua Sengupta, who had been staying at the home for the past year or so. “We are all lonely, but these children have given us something to smile about,” she said.

Though the day started on a light note with song-and-dance, it ended with a lot of moist eyes as the inmates bared their hearts and relived the happy times of their lives.

“We have not come here on our own. My son told me that they would take good care of me here. But after dumping me here, he has not come to visit me even once,” said septuagenarian Gomti Bai Khaitan, who was brought to the home 20 days ago.

The plight of the inmates touched the students too.

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