Close to 150 senior citizens sang, danced and acted at a unique cultural event organised by the Senior Citizens Forum

The small, clay lamps filled with oil were replaced by China-made ones: lest the oil spill and scald their fragile hands. The women were attired in the traditional Gujarati chania-choli (skirt and blouse). The men wore the traditional dhoti and kurta, with a matching head scarf. In unison, they danced to songs praising goddess Durga, in a circle around the decorated garba deep (lamp).

One needn’t be faulted if they mistook the dancers, with their synchrony and grace, for well-trained professionals. All six women and four men, however, were senior-citizens who performed the garba for over 25 minutes on stage. There were sporadic lapses, but they were forgiven. At the end, the audience gracefully stood up and greeted the effort.

“It took us a month of hard practice to get this right. The programme is conceived, performed and presented by senior citizens, which itself is an achievement. It’s like reliving our childhood days when we used to practice hard to take part in cultural programmes,” says H. Kamakshi, president of Senior Citizens Forum.

On Sunday, close to 150 members of the SCF turned up at Sweekar Upkaar in Secunderabad, to participate in a unique cultural event, on the occasion of its 20 anniversary.

“We started with just five members in 1993. Now we have close to 575 members in Secunderabad. We also felicitated our super-seniors – who are aged more than 80 years – today, as a mark of respect,” Ms. Kamakshi said.

Another group of aged women from SCF performed Kummi, an ancient village dance form from Tamil Nadu. The women formed a circle and danced, clapping their hands rhythmically to a Tamil song.

“The song essentially describes coming of age of a girl and women empowerment. This dance form is usually performed during temple festivals and on Pongal,” said Veena Mythali, who led the team. Hindi and Telugu skits, songs by senior citizens and drama were also performed by the seniors in the anniversary celebrations of SCF.

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