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  From The Editor's Desk

Within less than a year, Khaas Baat is more than doubling its number of pages to 20. You may remember we started with just eight in August 2004. We also continue to add new columnists. This month, we begin a Religion column on Yoga Vasistha by Swami Suryadevananda, who presently resides in St. Petersburg. We also are publishing a Letter to the Editor from Sanjiv Potdar (page 10), which spotlights on GHARKUL, Home and Hope for the Aged, in Belgaum, India.

There was lots of local news recently such as the Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation fundraiser as well as a Chinmaya Mission graduation ceremony. And our hats off to Dr. Rao Musunuru of Hudson for bringing home the National Physician of the Year Award from the American Heart Association. We have extensive coverage of all these events and more.

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GHARKUL, Home and Hope for the Aged

Place: Belgaum, Karnataka

Time: 6:30 pm.

All the residents of Gharkul assemble in the lobby to recite the daily evening prayers. Volunteers sing along in the prayers and read extracts from “Ramayana.” Then everyone has a healthy vegetarian dinner and this marks the end of one more day at Gharkul.

“Gharkul, Home and Hope for the Aged” was started in Belgaum in 2001. The need for an ashram need not be emphasized in the current dynamic environment. Some of the residents are widowed, some have never been married, and some have children who have either moved out of Belgaum to other cities or even abroad. There also are others who cannot live with their children because of generation-gap issues or extreme differences in opinion. Residents also register in the Ashram as a temporary arrangement for few days.

My father, Mukund Potdar, who is 72 years old, pursued the creation of Gharkul with much effort and hard work. This project, entirely funded by him, was completed only because he was inspired to pay back to society in some noble way. He thought taking care of the aged was one such good cause. His vision is to keep this institution operating independently, so Swami Chaya Pratishthan, a registered non-profit trust (No. PR/SOR/345/2001-02) was formed and Gharkul is now managed by the trust.

Typically, while registering a new resident, a small deposit, commitment to a monthly payment, and a medical certificate saying the person does not suffer from a contagious disease is all what is required. Two cooks reside on the premises to provide three meals a day. There are periodic visits by a Gharkul-provided doctor. Arrangements are made so residents can visit banks, stores or temples as needed.

The age range in the group is typically between 60 and 81 years. The number of residents varies from 11 to 15. Gharkul was built on a leased premise and cannot provide individual rooms for each resident.

My father has ideas for improvements. He wants to provide larger accommodations and semi private or private rooms for residents, while keeping the trust non-profit. His personal funds are not enough to support this venture, which will be successful only with active support of people, both in India and abroad.

If you would like Gharkul to take care of your loved ones in Belgaum or know someone who would like to stay there for a short period or just visit Gharkul, please correspond to the address below. Belgaum is on the Maharashtra-Karnataka border, about 350 kilometers (about 217 miles) from Pune.

If you would like to talk with my father, Mukund Potdar in person, he is currently in Tampa visiting me and is available until the end of July this year. He can be reached at 813-655-5900.

Ashram address:

B. C. 71/2, Elphiston Road,
Opposite Maratha Officer’s Mess,
Phone: 011 – 91 – 831 – 2469047

Thank you for your support.
Sanjiv Potdar

Previous Editor's Notes

January 2005 note | February 2005 note | March 2005 note | April 2005 note | May 2005 note

Notes From 2004
December note | November note | October note | September note | August note

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