The Last “Bhoolee Bisree Yaadein” (Forgotten Memories) of 2015

ses blog 018Bhoolee Bisree Yaadein (BBY) is a monthly musical event for 55+ years old service users and their friends organised by the Sikh Elders Service. The event is held on the last Thursday of the month at Apna Day Centre where the community gathers to hear local musical talent. The group also play popular Indian singing games remembering songs from the golden era of Indian film and share a vegetarian meal.

I wasn’t planning on writing a blog about BBY as I was hoping Chani my colleague would do the honour. But I had such a great evening that I felt compelled to pen a piece and I’m sure Chani will be relieved as she has already put so much love and time into BBY, I expect she’ll be glad of the break.

Sometimes it’s the most unexpected things which can touch upon a memory. Words in passing, hearing songs and music, or simply being in the presence of another. These were all true of Thursday evening and sitting in the company of service users, colleagues and friends new and old I could see emotions prompted by memory on each and every face.

Seeing a longstanding and dear service user on my (late) arrival who has recently been diagnosed with dementia, I went to sit by her side. She was singing along to each word and as I gave her a hug hello, she excitedly explained that they were all the songs from “her time”. Enthusiastic singing and the odd tear here and there was enough evidence to say most people in the room were having a similar experience.

As our community becomes gradually more dispersed and family dynamics shift from extended to more instances of living alone, BBY captured in one evening for me what is so great about working in the Sikh Elders Service. Having an opportunity to enrich someone’s life and be rewarded in fulfilment ten times in return is something which brings our team together and our community closer in spirit. A shared hope to make a difference which we always hope produces a ripple effect.

Certainly I will be sharing my memories from this evening with my own family as I replay some of the songs to them tonight. In particular a song which was played that evening, which I know my Dad wrote to my Mum in a letter in the days of their courtship before they were married. Sweet memories indeed.

Sikh Elders Service can be contacted on 0113 216 3143 or sikhelders@touchstonesupport.org.uk

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