Their story of friendship began in a branch of SBI bank, where Gattu Veera Bhadra Rao, Manepalli Satyanarayana, and Manda Papi Reddy, met
Gattu Veera Bhadra Rao, Manepalli Satyanarayana, and Manda Papi Reddy have been together for 5 years, sharing a room and a newspaper reading habit.
The 3 came to Anuraag Human Services, a senior care home in Hyderabad, at different times. First Papi, who doesn’t have children, soon Veera, lonely after their spouses’ passing and not finding companionship within the family.
One day the 2 were at an SBI branch, and as they stood in line waiting to get their pension money, they got chatting with Satyanarayana, who told them of his loneliness at home, despite his 4 children and their families. They encouraged him to move in with them to Anuraag, with Veera assuring him they would all share a room.
Papi Garu (Garu is added to show respect in Telugu), they say, has the gift of words, always being able to console his friends when they miss family or break down remembering old, happy times, when their lives were full, with work and family. “I’ve lived here for a long time; I was able to assist my friends in adjusting to their new surroundings. It’s difficult to move on at first,” explains Papi, who was a farmer from Mahbubnagar, Telangana.
Every evening when the sun sets, these three active men come together for a chit-chat holding a cup of chai. “We never run out of conversation and talk about just about everything: the happenings at home, politics, cinema,” says Veera, who used to run a rice mill, in Eluru, Andhra Pradesh, and has 2 children.
They find joy in the little things and never take their friendship for granted, not even arguing with each other. “I am not here to run a business like I used to, so I hardly ever have any ego or jealousy which destroys any relationship,” says Satya, who was a carpenter before he retired.
“Watching them interacting and joking with each other is a sight for sore eyes,” says Rama Devi, who runs the day-to-day activities of Anuraag Human Services. Many of the elderly don’t communicate as much as they do, and are often silent from the losses from life. “With them, it’s always smiles. They lift each other up.”
Satya says, “Building this friendship took a long time and a lot of effort. Before we even realized this bonding, everyone started referring to us as the 3 friends.”
The Billion Hearts Beating Foundation provides personalized monthly medication to senior care homes that offer free boarding and lodging.