Plight Of Old People - in the words of Chetna Shahi

That 6ft 2inch striking old man sitting on the bed, his face almost concealed by his thick round glasses, was smiling and reviving all his golden memories. He was talking to me, sharing his life’s history, as if I was one of his peers. His old, wrinkled eyes still possessed the same sparkle that they had in his early 30’s.His ears were longing to hear only the words, “Dad lets go”. Desperate to meet his grandchildren, he wanted to love them, play with them and even teach them from some his own experiences. But, unfortunately, his fate had something else in store for him entirely. The love of his grandchildren, respect from young ones and the love of his son and daughter-in-law were some of the little things that he wanted. But, instead of all this, he is ignored and treated as a burden above all else.

The old lady was looking outside through the window, lines of wrinkles tracing her face and each line telling a story from her past.She, just like everyone else, must have had some expectations regarding her old age during her younger years. But, they were certainly unlike her present. Not giving up all her hope, she still dreams of a silverline in her life, when her son will take her away from that lonely place. In her lonely world, considering me as a refreshing ray of sunshine, she handed me the responsibility of convincing her son to meet her atleast once.
Another middle aged lady sitting in the corridor was laughing every now and then and behaving peculiarly. She got hold of my hand,started crying and begged me, “Please take me to my son. I don’t want to live here. I won’t trouble my daughter-in-law. I just want to live with my grandchildren, see them. Or else kill me; I don’t want a life like this.” With these words she burst into tears. Feeling like a helpless person, I struggled through my tears. I just wished I could do something, anything. But unfortunately, these things are not in my hands.

Capturing a glimpse of such an unpleasant place, I returned, with a lot of anticipation and many more unanswered questions haunting me every now and then.Even today, when the face of that lady flashes across my thoughts, it makes me feel helpless. The memory of the pain in her eyes gives me goosebumps. I still wish I could have done something, something to bring back the faded colors in her melancholy life.

More than 300 such people, each with a different story, belonging to different classes, castes and natures, spend their hollow lives with just one hope “getting back to their own kith and kin”. I wonder where our youngsters are going.Do they just want to win the ultimate race of earning money, forgetting everything else? Or are they just afraid of confronting their responsibilities? What is it that is leading to such pitiful circumstances?
Is this why your parents made you capable of surviving in this world, so that one day you could throw them out of their own home?
 You claim that you don’t have time and that you are a grown up with a very dignified position in your office, living in a posh society (where old people are meant for old age homes),having lots of work and no time to waste. Is your life so busy that you can’t even take care of your own parents? What if they had done the same thing with you in your young age? They were also as busy as you, with all sorts of pressure. Did they ever leave any of your desires unfulfilled? No.
They worked day and night to cater to all your needs, and this is what you pay them.Keep yourself in their position. Imagine how you would feel if your child repeats the history?
Every relationship in this world is a give and take process save that of a parent and child. Parents never expect anything from their child. They always keep planning for the betterment of their child’s future. They work hard for a better upbringing of their off springs. They feel elated when you are happy, cry more than you when you are sad and sit by your side the whole night when you are ill.

 I wonder how parents come to know about their child’s feelings. Citing my own personal experience, many a times it has happened that I have been sad, or had had some problem and my mother would call me and ask what the matter was, even though I would claim that I was perfectly fine.I guess I’m not the only child who has experienced this; almost all parent-child relations are same. I really wonder if there is any higher power, or is it just love?How does this happen? We say there is someone who is above us watching everyone. He is none other but the Almighty. Whenever you are in trouble you pray to him. But there is someone holding more priority than the Almighty, they are none other than your parents, who actually stand by your side whenever you need them, loving you, caring for you, dedicating their whole life for you. They strive hard to give you a better life, always compromising their own needs to fulfill all your dreams. Parents keep sacrificing things being unaware of how their child will treat them in future.
 Why can’t we take some time from our busy life and give them the love they deserve? Why can’t we spend some money from our salary to fulfill their needs? Think about the enormous pleasure they will feel from these small steps taken by us. They don’t need your bank balance; they just crave for love in that stage of their life. A survey by ‘HelpAge India’, suggests that 31 % of India’s elderly population faces some form of abuse in their advanced age.
Growing old is the eternal law of universe and no one can escape from it. Then why are old people forsaken by their own friends and families?
Forgetting the past, lets make a new start and weave a web of love and compassion by  sheltering our elders and giving them the love they deserve.

Chetna Shahi
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