Sunday, March 18, 2007

Parentage:Old is gold



-By Swetha Amit
Anil (name changed) and his wife were a typical urban couple, with two children. Their nuclear family lifestyle depicted the long working hours, with occasional socializing on weekends. All was well until that one afternoon phone call. Anil received devastating news of his ailing mother having breathed her last. Naturally struck with a shocking blow, he performed his due rights of being the only son. However what lingered in his mind was what was to become of his lonely father. Consulting his wife was met with a vehement opposition of accommodating him at their residence, for fear of being a nuisance. Unable to find an alternate option propelled Anil to drop his father ruthlessly in an old age home.

This shocking act is found to be an increasing trend in India, at present. A further insight will help gaining clarity about the parentage phenomenon especially during their old age.
Our existence in this world is no mystery. We would have never come into being, if not for the divine-like couple-our parents.

Parents were those, whose joy knew no bounds as we opened our meek little eyes to first. They held our tiny fingers as we took our initial shaky step. Their protective hands would come to our magical rescue with every fall. Fiercely shielding us from the harsh glare of the real world, they would come to our side with every cry we uttered. Listening to our childish squabbles with peers/siblings to scolding us for slacking in our studies, have portrayed their utmost concern. Enduring patience has enabled them to imbibe the right values in us. Wisely explaining the facts of life at the “right age” evolved them to turn into our best friends as we grew older. In spite of our temper tantrums and moodiness, they have never failed to understand us. Their steadfast attitude anchored us during times of misery.

Sacrifices were made in order fulfill our every little need through perseverance and slogging. Whatever problems faced, were retained in anonymity. Whether it was funding for our education/paying back loans. Concealed by their cheerful smile would put to rest our pertinent questions. They were pillars of support and strength during our formative years which helped us develop into the wonderful adults we are today. Being our permanent well wishers, they pray for our well being in every growing phase of ours. They accept the nuclear lifestyle with a realization the essence of a healthy distance maintained. For their numerous remarkable deeds, all they expect in return is just an eternal quest for affiliation.

So how many of us realize this? Do we even know our duties towards parents? In times of their need, such as loss of a spouse/growing weaker, we conveniently develop a selective amnesia to our otherwise unforgettable past, don’t we?

Perceived as hurdles in our daily living, depicts the reluctance to accommodate them into our large spacious homes. This results in the brutal act of throwing such senior citizens into the strange old age homes, like some unwanted compiled ragged cloth. It reflects the ungrateful gestures forgetting all that parents have done. It’s a fact these aging souls tend to become ill tempered and cranky. However didn’t they put up with our temper when we were extremely intolerable at times?

One cannot blame the aged for feeling rejected and hurt. Imagine being unwanted by your own blood ties in times of grief and need. It’s a pitiable sight at these homes where these old beings are yearning for their kith and kin. Their sad old eyes can make anyone’s heart bleed. It’s indeed a miserable plight to see such sensitive eyes fill with tears, instead of gleaming joy of seeing their grandchildren grow.

It’s a traumatized state of sometimes being in denial. They live with a false hope of being taken to their children’s homes one day which is far from reality. Such individuals are not even visited by their families after that, with the pretext of lack of time available. Replenishing them with lump sum amount of money isn’t going to make up for the lack of humanity.

The increasing numbers of old age homes in our country have left us to be the laughing stock by others. India is known for its respect for the aged and is portraying the opposite. It should cause us to hang our heads in shame. We have left others to take care of our parents instead of doing the needful. If not for our negligence and irresponsibility, the government needn’t be enforcing laws in favor of the senior citizens today.

It’s an irony that in spite of these thoughts voiced out in our sub conscious minds, old age homes still exist. Why?

Why can’t we fulfill their desire of being with their children in their last ‘twilight’ years? Why not do thoughtful gestures to bring a smile on their wrinkled faces? Is it an impossible task? Why throw them in those cold homes and leave them to suffer from misery and rejection? Why make them face the dreaded disease of loneliness in their last
days?

In other words, why not reverse roles by holding their little trembling finger during their second childhood stage?
Written for www.msn.co.in

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2 Comments:

Blogger subhash said...

I fully endorse your views. But consumerism has gripped our younger generation and they are following the western concept of use and throw.More so contentment as a means to Happiness is now being replaced by western thought that fulfillment of desires is the means of Happiness.In the pursuit to happiness the younger generation finds taking care of parent as a hurdle therefore neglect them.The weaker sections of our society however are driven by economic constraints and find it difficult to balance the duties of takin care of parents and their own families.
To create an awareness and respect for the eldrs is not an impossible task but requires efforts in teachin the young children by our own example of showing respect and concern for the eldrs.
I am working in this direction through discussions, seminars and by highlighting the problems of the eldrs and way to solve them. We have very well equipped homes for the elders too at Delhi'
I deeply appreciate your concern for the elders.
subhashbakshi@gmail.com

10:40 PM  
Blogger Whirlwind said...

Thanks Subhash.Good to know you are working towards creating an awareness amongst the youth about the old age too.

I agree that weaker sections of the society who are unable to manage a square meal a day find it difficult to take care of the elders.

But what about that particular section of the society who are filthy rich?They can afford to keep them.However they choose not too labelling their helpless weak parents as an embarassment in their social circle.

The nuclear lifestyle is convinient.Even parents understand and respect this being aware of the value clash due to the generation gaps.However I think when they are absolutely helpless,their wealthy kith and kin should come to their rescue and not look upon them as a shame.

I have heard of cases where aged are even abused by their own families.According to me its equal to a terrorist attack.Abusing and harming the innocent and the helpless is a bbrutal demolishment of humanity.

11:37 AM  

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