Three rooms have been allocated for the elderly – one for a library and two others as separate relaxing spaces for men and women
Abdul Khalek, a professor at Moulvibazar Government College, retired in 2014. He used to pass his nearly unlimited amount of free time hanging out with friends at their homes or offices.
But Khalek longed for an open space with playgrounds, where he could unite with his friends as he did as a child.
The space came in the form of Prabinangyon – a dedicated park for senior citizens.
With its vast open space and separate rooms for men and women to relax in, the Moulvibazar municipality has fulfilled Khalek's long-cherished dream of a green spot to hang out at with his friends.
Elderly visitors can roam around, chat, read or play at the park. Seasonal flowers and local trees have been planted on the premises.
The spot is open for visitors from 9:00am to 10:00pm every day.
Planning Minister MA Mannan inaugurated the park in November last year. The minister said, "This is the first-ever hang-out for senior citizens in Bangladesh. I do not know of any other place in the country which is fully dedicated to old folks."
Local municipality sources said the Jinnah Hall at Court Road was renamed into the "Public Gathering Centre," which has been turned into Prabinangyon with joint funding from the municipality and individual sponsors.
The hang-out spot has been separated from the main building of the centre so that social occasions at the centre do not hamper senior citizens.
Three rooms of the centre have been allocated for the elderly – one for a library and two others as separate relaxing spaces for men and women.
There are sheds, a sufficient number of benches and a tea-coffee corner. The municipality also plans to appoint a fulltime doctor who will provide regular check-ups to the elderly visitors.
Fazlur Rahman, the municipal mayor, said, "I will also grow old one day. The senior citizens gave their golden age to the families, societies and the state. Their age and age-related ailments confine them. The elderly people even did not have places to go and chat in."
Nur Rahman, a Bangladeshi expatriate who returned home from Canada recently, said he and his friends are gathering at the spot at every afternoon.
Nur said he used to feel the need for a dedicated park or an open space for the elderly like he saw in Canada and other foreign countries. While visiting home, the expatriate used to meet his friends at their homes.
"Now we gather here everyday and gossip as we used to do in our school days," he said. The elderly man thanked the municipality for the initiative.
Another local Shailen Roy said, "We feel happy when we get together," he said adding, "Happiness leads to greater health and longevity."
Former president of Moulvibazar Chamber of Commerce Dr MA Ahad is also excited about Prabinangyon.
"I retired from everything as I grew old. Previously, there was no place to spend time for me or people of my age. Now I can spend some moments here on my own," said Ahad.