No country for old
Tulmaya aama peers out through the wooden-carved window of the oldage home. The street is busy with people moving here and there. But unlike the rest, she was there lying stationary with her shabby choli and old dhoti and her eyes full of tears.
I remember how her world turned upside down after the demise of her husband. The way her son, daughter-in-law and even grandchildren tortured her was so much intolerable. I also heard that they tried to kill her so many times that she had to escape. And with nowhere to go, she took a shelter in the oldage home. It’s been 17 years already.
Since then, she is living the lonesome life. She spends most of her time praying to God, chanting hymns, crying silently. ‘I hope my children are very happy and wish they have to suffer no problems in their life.’ She prayed with a wrinkled smile.
It’s really strange, how a child can act so inhumanely with his own parents; the one who gave birth to him, nurtured, and made him capable enough. And when the time comes to pay them back, he kicks them out of the home. The cases of misbehavior, torture, forbidding the parents in the oldage home or temples has become very common these days. Has the situation become worse?
We also can’t deny the fact that the society has become very competitive and fast at present. We need to work vigorously, run here and there to earn a living. We have to struggle really hard to survive in this world, resulting a very little family time. In this rush hour, how can we stop everything and sit to look after the old parents? Who will earn for their medical treatments and many other expenses? Humans have turned into machines. The issue is also very genuine. Unlike the past traditional society, where women used to stay at home, took care of the house and old members of the family now, we are in complete different arena. Women have double loads; look after the household chores along with outside office. How can the time be spared to take care of the elderly member?
I recall the poem, ‘Sailing to Byzantium’ by W.B Yeats where he wished to be in the heavenly place where he needn’t regret being old. So, is there any way out to address both parties? Yes, it may sound very rude as per the traditional mindset of our society but it can help both old as well as younger generation to keep the relationship bonded. We need to build some sophisticated oldage homes that fulfill all the services and requirements of the old people; including medical services, sanitation, nutritional food, religious programs etc.
If the parents stay at those well equipped homes at their own will, it will not deter the relationship with the children as they won’t have to go through the torture given by their own children. The children also will be compelled to visit their parents every weekend or holidays. This approach will address both the traditional as well as modern society’s aspiration making this nation another Byzantium for old.