Geeta Shankar

The Elderly’s Mother

Geeta says, “Make it a rule to never lie down at night without being able to say, I have made one human being at least a little wiser, a little happier or a little better this day.” It’s this thinking that made her open an old age home for the elders who have no home.

Geeta was gifted life on 17.09.1960 in Mysore, the cultural capital of Karnataka. Intelligent, daring, active and hardworking, she began her education in Bangalore, Karnataka, and then continued in Maharashtra, Assam, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh. She was equally good in sports & games at district levels. She finished her graduation (BA) and a post-graduation (MA – English) from the University of Mysore. Thus, she has had exposure to varied cultures/ customs of different parts of our country. This much travelled Bangalorean who got initiated into social work through Lions Clubs, Haemophilia Society, India Population Project VIII took the plunge into social work by joining Mr. Mohan Pai in Bangalore.

Moved by the incidents of parents being neglected by their children, she felt the urge to mitigate their suffering. In the year 2001, she then joined hands with Mr. Mohan Pai, a noble soul, to establish an old age home in Bangalore. It was Mr. Mohan Pai who named the brainchild as OMASHRAM (www.omashram.org).

The initial years as Founder & Managing Trustee were indeed a journey full of challenges and hurdles, where there were very few who came forward to support the Elderly cause. As we all know, many would come forward to take care of a child, but very few would offer to care for a senile. But with the moral support of Mr. Pai, she chose to prove her strengths by doing her best to care for the neglected yet beautiful parents. Mr. Mohan Pai passed away in the year 2010 after a brief illness. Undeterred, though shocked, Geeta marshaled the Trust through various challenges along with moral support of fellow trustees - Mr. Kishore Joseph and Mr. Arun Singh, whom she added on as additional help. Now she also has a young and talented Guru Kalburgi as Trustee on Board, to assist with her with latest potentials. Her determination, conviction and passion to look after the elderly people enabled her to overcome the challenges. Nothing stopped her and since the inception, more than 500 elders have been given a home and care.

A lady with compassion towards the needy is devoted towards the cause of the elders. She says, “Our home is an experiment in community living where every member is made to feel at home without the impersonal atmosphere of an old age home.” Currently getting funding through small payments from the financially secure residents, Cash/Kind donations from Corporates and other well-wishers, Omashram Trust under her superb guidance is able to provide the best care and home to the elderly souls. When asked about funding support, she says, “We beg, we borrow but never steal!” Geeta says, while her old age home enables its residents to lead a life of dignity in the evening of their life, she does not believe in counselling them. “They have gone through so much in their lives that it is pointless to even attempt to touch their experiences.

For her amazing work she has been felicitated with various Excellence Awards to boost the morale of the Trust. Geeta was one of the top 12 – Deccan Chronicle – Angel Investors of the year, in 2014. She says "People call me and say your old age home is doing very well, that it's absolutely packed. That only means and more people are abandoning their parents, doesn't it? That's why my dream is to run an orphanage side by side with an old age home - the children don't have grandparents and the old people crave grandchildren, so they will have each other."

“There are some people in society who exhibit an aura of energy and happiness. One such Lady is Geeta. She is a mother, sister, daughter and a friend to the residents of the old age home,” says US Moinuddin, a well-known Author, Environmentalist. Geeta’s love and concern for her “elderly children” have filled the parent’s lives with a desire to re-live. There is an air of liveliness when Geeta energetically walks from one room to another and entertains her “children”.

Geeta is not here to fight for elder’s rights. She is here to provide them with love and succor, exactly the way they did for their children. To enrich parents with a rosy sunset in the evening of their lives. She honestly feels to shut down all the Old Age Homes around and unite the families with affection and pride. But impossible to alone think about it. Hence, she would create a large family of parents and children while combining an orphanage with the old age home, for which some angel has to bless her with an infrastructure of her own. Geeta Shankar, through the Omashram Trust is also sponsoring the education of some local children as well as the tribal children in Coonoor, Ooty- Tamil Nadu and giving away Academic Excellence Awards to the meritorious children.


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