Thursday, October 04, 2007

Will somebody love me please?

Scenario1: I got married at the age of 12. The next thing I knew I had 2 children, my two eyes. My whole life revolved around them. I did everything possible to make them feel comfortable. Did they need new pair of clothes? Or some shoes? There is a new brand of chocolate in the market; I should buy them for my children. My son wanted to try his hand in the film industry. My husband was dead against it. He said it is very risky and only school dropouts try it. But I fought with my husband to give our son a chance. Let him try his luck; I persisted. My husband was very angry, but I gave my son some money and he left for Mumbai. He is not anywhere near famous now… so you have guessed it right. He was NOT successful. But it took him almost 10 years to realize this. I kept sending money for his sustenance. He fell in love with a girl who finally made him realize the importance of having a stable job. She refused to marry him until he has one. He then completed his post graduation and found a good job. It took him another 5 years to settle down. I supported him all along; be it money or love or care... you name it. In the mean time I got my daughter married and she settled down. My husband was always busy with his work and though he cared a lot about all of us he would not spend too much time with us. I was the one who was always there for my children. I was so happy with them. Even though it was so much of a responsibility I never felt it as a “burden”. I looked after my son for 35 years and my daughter for 25 years. 35 years of my prime time… just for them.
My husband finally retired and we settled down in a small flat. We did not want to live with our son who now had a family of his own. Everything was just fine in it’s own place. Slowly my husband’s health started worsening. I was not so young any more, so we employed a nurse to look after him. The medical bills started getting fatter.. with none of our children willing to spend on it.. we decided to sell our flat. He died eventually leaving me all alone. Nobody was willing to give me a house for rent. I was old and it was dangerous they would say. Left with no choice I reluctantly asked my son. The answer was a firm NO. First he could not afford me (oh!), second he wanted privacy (a old woman in a corner of the house will be too much of a disturbance).
I lived with a neighbor for 45 days till I found an old age home which would take me.

I live here now. He does not even call once a week. I don’t hate him. But I often wonder is this justice? We take care of our children by giving everything we can to them. Can’t we expect 20% back from them? Is it too much to ask for 2 meals a day and a place to sleep?

Scenario 2: I used to live with my son and his family. We got along quite ok. There were no major hassles. My son got an onsite opportunity to go to USA for 3 months. He left me here saying he will be back soon. Its 2 years now and I have not heard from him. One of my relatives says he is in town and has purchased a big bungalow. I am still waiting for him to come and take me home….

Scenario 3: I don’t have a son. I thought I was lucky since I don’t have to suffer in the hands of a daughter-in-law. But last year, my daughter threw me out of my own house after I had written the entire property in her name. I was out on the street with just the clothes I had worn. I didn’t even have a single rupee. I don’t know why but I just walked to the railway station and sat there till the morning. A coolie saw me and must have somehow guessed my state. I told him my story, and he got me here. People here have time and again told me to complain against my daughter and get my wealth back. But I don’t want it. I have friends here; I have people who care for me here. I don’t even want to see her face again... not even in court.

“I” am a senior citizen; an unwanted burden on this earth. I worked till I dropped dead to bring up my children. Now, I just rot in a corner. I don’t need your money; I just need your love. Will you love me please?

These are NOT fictional stories. Every year on my Paati’s death anniversary, my mom goes to an old age home and sponsors a day’s meal for them. These are the stories which they tell her. They long for a touch… they crave for a hand which holds them. They cry if you give them something to eat. Some just sit in a corner and mourn without talking to anybody.

Oct 1st was world elders’ day. Is this what we want to give back to our parents who gave so much to us? Even if we don’t love them for whatever reasons, atleast lets not be inhuman. Let us be kind to them just as fellow human beings. Please…. Not everybody is lucky to have their parents alive for a long time… those of us who are lucky enough, let us thank God for it and let us try our best to keep them comfortable in the last days of their lives.


Pavan said...

seriously, paatis/ajjis (elderly in general) are the googles of our times.. with immense knowledge, stories, puzzles, teaching.. and endless love (with no credit limit).. if possible, watch "aa naluguru" and what you said resounds there.. it is hard to write a coherent comment for this post.. and this old-age homes culture is definitely creepy

Anonymous said...


will read and respond to this post later ... in the meantime, you might be interested in a discussion at bhel puri's.

- s.b.

ssk said...

I dont think it will get any better in the future for the senior citizens of india. I see a developing nuclear culture in our country and will soon become a lot like in the US were the senior people are left alone to care for themselves.


veena shivanna said...

Not too sure what to respond.. but ya the stories here are very sad. I don't see our younger generation lack so much of ethics indeed they need not depend on ancestral proprty so much since they have options to earn a lot of money.. so we may have to hear the other side of the story too....! :-) I am not justifying the other side of the crowd, but yes its worth considering... many times the EGO/rigid nature of the elder generation might lead it to such situations..! I am not generalising here though.

parijata said...

This was a very touching post. Throwing one's parents out of the house and not paying their medical bills, and heck, not even visiting them, is inhuman.

In this time and age, I think parents have to be ready to live alone, when their kids grow up. You know, be near enough to help and be helped, but far enough not to interfere unnecessarily.

shark said...

@pavan: To some extent I may even let this old age home be. But the least the kids can do is visit them once a week and tell them they are not alone.. is that too much to ask for?

@sb: been then commented on that. you can say thanks ;-)

@ssk: "left alone to care for themselves" - you said it!

@veena: Have to agree with you. The more people become economically independent they are atleast better. But still man is known for his greed.. even if I have crores of rupees.. I still need those extra from my parents right?

>>many times the EGO/rigid nature of the elder generation might lead it to such situations..!

I don't agree to that. Yes some are difficult to live with, but I am sure it can be solved with some basic discussions and common understanding.

@parijata: you said :

>> You know, be near enough to help and be helped, but far enough not to interfere unnecessarily.

So they have to live according to "our" convenience huh?

Tell me something, didn't the same parents live with "us" along with all our nakaras... how many times have we woken them up in the middle of the night because we are hungry/scared/whatever? Didn't they withstand all that trouble from us for 25 odd years?
So why can't we?

As I said to veena, some can be difficult; I am not denying that. But setting the expectations right upfront and somehow find a common ground to live together amicably is definitely not impossible.

Yes. All it needs is time and effort which we basically don't have or don't want to spend with "them" :-/

Veena said...

hmm.. crores of rupees and you still need it.. Gosh! not fair...:-)
can't agree with this, its more merrier when you earn and spend rather than those easy money .. Haven't met any real time cases still and hope I will not!
And the second point, may be true... I had heard some stories around our family circle and most of the elders said they can't adjust with the nature of the son/bahus and the new generation ideas (not to sure to what extent) and when they were asked they said the same stories and hence I just commented that way.. Definitely this can be sorted out but the 'adjustments' have to be from both the side ! I feel sometimes the best thing in relationship would be being a little submissive and give away and I wish the same vigour remains in you for long!


parijata said...

No, you misunderstood me. Not according to *just* our convenience, but mutual convenience. We live with my in-laws, and I really think it is more convenient to us than to them. I do not have to worry about my kid when I am at work, my lunch is packed and I get fresh dinner. But I am wondering how it will be when my son gets married. If my daughter -in-law liked to stay separate, I would want to give her that freedom! I would like us to stay a little farther from them, but still near enough, so that we can still help each other when necessary. And believe me, when there is mutual love, you will want to spend time with "them"! A loving relationship is much better than an amicable live-in arrangement. What do you say?

I do not think that being submissive is the answer, unless that is your very nature. You will be doing more harm if you are submissive and resent it.

Kadalabal said...

really an inspiring post it is true people are forgetting old people for reasons best known to them. many of them dont need your money they really need the love and affection and the company of their grand children which is taken away by many. if you have differences it is fine stay seperately but dont desert them visit them on week ends or twice a month send your children to stay with them when they have holidays so that they never feel they are outcast. the same parents whould have toiled to bring you up and today whatever you are it is because of their effor which may include many sacrifices etc.,
there was a post by vijay on this in his blog if that can be linked it will be nice
I am happy to note the comments and yes we must take care of them and we should not forget human values and duty to society. old people are not social responsibility as in some western countries here it is our responsibility
a good post and i admire the feelings
three cheers to shark for the post

shark said...

can't agree with this, its more merrier when you earn and spend rather than those easy money ..

that's what like minded people like us think. But the rest of the world is not that way. Otherwise we would not be seeing so many murders committed just for money.. right?

Regarding the problems, I agree with you veena.. there are some problem bahus and problem mils.. no doubts about that. What I am aiming at is the average crowd where there is no major problem...

A loving relationship is much better than an amicable live-in arrangement

That summed it up all. Yes I agree completely. Even if we leave our parents in old age homes for whatever reasons, we should atleast lovingly visit them often and just let them know that we care for them...

@kadalabal: I agree with you completely. All they need is some love and affection, whether you can give that in your own house or in old age home is left to you...alwa?

thanks :)