THE LIGHT OF ANDAMANS | ISSUE 14 | 30 SEPTEMBER 2011
Agony of Being Old
Old age is a curse. More so, in the modern society where nuclear family is fast becoming the norm rather than an exception. Highly ambitious, fast moving and upwardly mobile young couple find their parents a burden, a hindrance on path of their progress. Naturally, the old parents are left to fend for themselves in the twilight of zone of their lives.
These are the parents who spent till the last drop of their blood for raising the very children for whom they have become a burden. There are large numbers of such cases where old parents have been insulted, humiliated and even manhandled by their children holding high positions in the society. The humiliation and mental agony turn them into human wrecks.
Such cases of neglected parents are increasing in these
Islands too. Unable to stand the agony any more, some of them commit suicide. The causes are never discovered nor searched. Some of them resort to begging. These are mostly poor people who, after making supreme sacrifice of their own comfort and pleasure, had sired the first generation of educated members in their families. Some of them were government servants and get a pension too. But after the death their spouse, they find it difficult to maintain themselves all by themselves.
It is at the dusk of one's life that an understanding company, a few cheerful moments, a little play-act with grand children acts as tonic for the aged. But the changing lifestyle, a mad rush for material comfort, an insatiable desire for more, does not leave any space for sentiments, emotions and a sense of duty and responsibility towards the generation fading out.
Where individuals fail, the society has to come forward to apply balm on the wounds of these aged ones. But society too is driven by the same people who do not have time for sentimentalities and emotions. And the government takes over.
Some ask, whether Old Age Homes are good or bad? Certainly, it's a very tough question to answer. When individuals fail to respect and take care of their elders, the society in the form of government come forward and address the issue. It's very easy to find fault with the system. If we want old age homes to disappear, we need to make space for them in our homes as well as our hearts.