A talented dancer, cook and teacher enjoyed a day of surprises themed all around her personal interests and heritage thanks to team members at St Catherines View in Winchester.
Nalini Bhagwat was the centre of attention amid celebrations of the food, music, dance and dress of her home state in western India, Maharashtra.
The day featured the opportunity to wear traditional clothing sent in by Nalini’s daughters Asha and Varsha. And Nalini led the dancing to a soundtrack of classical Hindustani and Carnatic music some of which was heard in popular Bollywood films of the 1940s and 50s.
Chefs at the home prepared a spread of Nalini’s favourite snacks including onion bhajis, samosas, pakora, naan bread, poppadoms and mango chutney.
Healthcare Assistant Roopesh Puthalomkunnath Vileangotunhalil brought in some medu vada – lentil and chilli fritters – that he made specially.
Nalini said: “I can’t believe people arranged all this for me. It was such a surprise, a special day that really cheered me up.”
Although born in Kenya, Nalini spent most of her early years in Pune near Maharashtra’s state capital Bombay, now Mumbai.
She first learnt to cook on a small stove under the guidance of her mother and continued to strengthen her skills into adult life.
Nalini also learned classical Indian dancing as a child and was good enough to be invited to perform in front of Marathi aristocracy.
In the UK, while working as a ledger clerk at a stationery company near Hemel Hempstead, she taught Indian cookery to small groups at her home and other venues.
She also completed a Diploma in Health Studies and later worked at a health food shop in New Milton for many years. As well as Asha and Varsha, Nalini has a son, Prakash.
Laura Sheldrake, Companionship Team Leader, said: “Nalini is a talented and creative lady and it was an honour and privilege to host a day all about her.”