Pune: A self-help support group ‘Anand Yatra’ created for singles (widowed, separated and unmarried) who are over 45 years of age celebrated 10 years of its existence in Sadashiv Peth on Sunday. The chief guest of the function was social
activist Vidya Bal.
The group was formed by Hemant Devasthali, retired principal of Ness Wadia College of Commerce. The group has 175 members and the primary objective is to alleviate the feeling of loneliness that takes over single individuals, sometimes leading to chronic depression. It is an emotional support group and not a marriage bureau or dating club.
Devasthali said, “After my wife’s accidental death, I started the group as such kind of problems are not just faced by me, but several people. The group only concentrates on spreading happiness and emotional support to the singles of the society.”
During the celebrations, the members of the group, who showed active participation during all these years, were felicitated.
Vidya Bal said, “There are various types of loneliness, which people face in their life, and Anand Yatra has found out a proper way to deal with this. Loneliness among females is a more sensitive topic in society. Because there is a wrong conception in society about a single female. The female starts facing several problems in society, just because she is alone. There are several groups of lonely women across India who are coming together.”
She added, “Men also go through various difficulties, as they are deeply involved in their profession. After the death of their spouse or after separation they can’t figure out what can be done. They should pay more attention to their hobbies and keep themselves busy. Also, elderly people should give less advice to their children. Let them live their lives on their terms and we should just stand by them in their ups and downs.”
Activities of the group
† Every Sunday, some members of the group gather at Scout Ground Hall, opposite SP College, and lectures are arranged for the members’ enlightenment of better living.
† The group also takes short trips within Pune district.
† Anand Yatra has five groups across the city at Kothrud, Sinhagad Road, University Road/ Pashan/Baner, Swargate and in Peth areas.
† Initially, Anand Yatra had only 20 members.