Let me begin with a story. Once upon a time, there lived a couple who had a son. His name was Kesu. Since his parents pampered him a lot, Kesu became a selfish and arrogant person. Time passed by and his parents grew old. So, he had to search a job for his daily expenses, to look after his parents and for their treatment. Since he was a lazy and crooked fellow, instead of searching a job, he married a rich girl. Also, he didn’t take care of his old parents. He sent them to an old age home ignoring their prayers and tears. Years moved forward. Kesu also got a boy with same character traits. He got married and seeing Kesu’s arrogant nature dumped him in an old age home, the same place where Kesu sent his parents years back. When events took shape against his expectations, Kesu couldn’t control his tears. All those things came back to his mind. He repented for his ill treatment towards his old parents years ago. But time has gone and everything was late!

Yes, old age is a phase of life that can’t be avoided. Once it comes, it never returns back and stays with us till our end in the form of wrinkles, tiredness and grey hair. Many people are in the false mirage that youth will stay with them forever and that those ‘grey hair’ won’t touch them. But very soon or later, everyone has to accept that bitter truth. Those who disrespect old people and send their parents to old homes often forget the fact that, those are their future days too! They assume, everything will remain the same. That’s why it’s told, when old leaves fall young leaves laugh.

old2One of the major challenges of modern India is the problem faced by disabled senior citizens whose living conditions are worse and no one present to support them at their old age. They are not free from health problems too. Recent studied have proved that more than 50% of aged people above 60 are suffering from at least one of the following diseases – high blood pressure, diabetics, heart diseases, kidney problems, memory disorders, respiratory problems or signs of depression. According to Help Age India’s report, more than 58% of those old people are not even able to meet their daily expenditure. Majority of them depend on their kids.

We lost many precious things in those broken chains

Present society gives less respect to old people. But in turn, they are losing many precious gifts too. Experiences of old people are assets and basement stones of success to new generation. But youth is not interested in listening to their words, advices or experiences. Often, some piece of knowledge is passed as chains from one generation to next, that we can’t find in books. Modern world has already witnessed many such broken chains. That’s the reason why very often, new people try to search something from past and renew it again. How many such customs, traditions, medicines, values, experiences, historic stories etc we have lost somewhere in those broken chains! Only remote chances exist for the renovation of most of them. Often, false piece of information is passed to next people due to missing of some facts. Some people may add their assumptions as facts which can’t be corrected later.

Studies have already proved that grandparents play a key role in the development of personal traits of a child, particularly mental and brain development of kids in their early ages. They teach them a lot, moral lessons and fairy tales, thus helping them to learn their first chapters of love, bond, patience, kindness and relationships that they can’t get from any university. Now cartoon channels have occupied that place, contracting kids’ wings of imagination, grasping power, special bonds shared with other people and of course do contribute obesity problems.

October 1st - International Day of older persons

old1It’s the duty of kids and youth to show their respect towards senior citizens and learn at least a few things from them. To remember the contributions of the old generation and make us remember to respect them, UNO put forward the idea of dedicating one day to them. It was declared in 1990 and ensures that their rights and desires are intact. Also, it asks us to develop a feeling in our mind that we are walking through the steps constructed by those, who have almost reached their last steps towards sunset. It’s a day to respect all old people of the world who did everything they can do, to build a new generation of good citizens – the same thing we are doing for our kids and nation. October 1st is celebrated as World Old Age Day all over the world and let’s promise ourselves that we will contribute whatever we can do, to see those smiling faces again.

Living their childhood once again

When a child is born, he can’t do anything without someone’s help. Even he needs someone to feed food and change his nappy. Gradually he grows and learn everything, attain health and he begins to do all activities self dependent. As age process by, his health condition deteriorates and again he reaches the same state – his childhood. It’s said that old age is the second childhood of a person. Some persons not only lose their health, but their memory too. Some need other’s help even to walk and eat. Some persons may behave just childish. Yes, he is now a child again. As parents are doing everything for a kid, it’s now the duty of kids to give them back the same help, when their parents are going through the worst phases of their life.

Kindergartens – Another version of old age homes

Now joint families are less and old age homes are increasing. Have you noticed kid nurseries are also increasing? Why so? Earlier grand parents used to look after small kids. But now, those kids are taken to some child care centre or kindergarten at the age of 6 or 8 months, while his mother goes to work. Now most of the families are staying away from home town due to jobs in big cities and towns resulting in the increase of day care centres. Grandparents may still reside in their home town looking after agriculture and fields. Earlier old age homes, family and child care centres existed together as a single entity while they are now separated to different modules for convenience.

Due to busy modern life, both kids and old people are deprived of love and care that they actually deserve. Instead, two such pools are formed separately, breaking the grand parents-grand kid relationship! Even if society justifies both no one can deny its losses too!

Laws to protect old age

When joint families existed in our country, old persons were not a burden to the family. Instead they were the most powerful persons who have a massive control over the entire family. Also, every family member respects them a lot. But as years passed by, atomic families became the new trend and thus, known or unknown, youngsters began to move away from their responsibilities of protecting their old parents. Conditions of many such persons are really pathetic, particularly if their life partner is not alive. Throughout their life they ran along with time to do everything for their kids and as time passed by, they lost their ability to move in the same pace with time. Also, during this long run, they lost their whole energy and majority of those parents even forget to save something for their future in the false belief that there is someone to help in need. But, with broken hearts, when such people have to leave their homes – the homes they built with their hard work and money and spent their whole life, nothing can replenish those tears and loneliness they feel when they were asked to go! To ensure their safety and welfare, ‘The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens’ Act was passed in 2007. It instructs the duties of every person towards his old parents and asks him to take care of them.

Many people showed their real talents at their old age

Though youth age is more energetic, old life holds more experiences. Many people have showed their real talents in their old age. Now also, many politicians and artists are active in their old age.

World famous actor George Burns got best actor Academic awards for his wonderful performance in the movie ‘Sunshine boys’ when he was 80. He says, it’s the best performance he has done on silver screen and has given him the best satisfaction. Tolstoy’s literary pieces were most impressive when he reached last stages of his life. He was 82 when he wrote the book, ‘I cannot be silent’, and this book is often compared to his most famous, ‘War and Peace’ and ‘Anna Karenina’.  Picasso’s great works were after his 90’s. His shivering hands and memory problems were not sufficient to pull him away from his passion towards painting. When Eamon de Valera was selected as the President of Ireland, he was 91. When George Bernard Shaw wrote the play, ‘Farfetched Fables’, he was going through his 93. Critics say, among all his works, this particular piece has more emotional colours, intensity and fragrance of experiences.

British philosopher Bertrand Russell worked for world peace when he was 94. Winston Churchill wrote world famous, ‘A History of the English speaking people’ during his 80’s.K.P.Kesava Menon, an established writer and editor of Malayalam wrote majority of his works at his old age. He was able to conquer his blindness through his amazing contributions to the literary world. Rabindranath Tagore started drawing at the age of 68 and he completed more than 3000 works.

A few names from artists of Indian film industry

Lata Mangeshkar started her singing career at a tender age of 15 and through the years, he has made distinct fingerprints in the history of Indian music. Each passing year made her more mature and each decade gave a fresh new voice. She got a National award for best playback singer when she was 62. Even her younger sister Asha Bhosle is not far behind. We have seen many of her mesmerizing numbers after her 60’s, particularly with A.R.Rehman’s compositions. Now also, both the sisters contribute a lot to the music industry – filmy and non-filmy. 

old5Angry young man, Amitabh Bachchan is known for his versatility and supreme power over Indian audience. Though he was most popular during his 30’s and 40’s, he got majority of awards during his 60’s. He won million hearts and infinite awards for his credible performances in ‘Black’ and ‘Pa’ and no doubt, these two films are milestones of his acting career. Still at 70, he is a living legend who his followed by admirers a lot and he is active in twitter and blog. Now also he works restless for films and through his TV show, ‘Kaun Banega Crorepathi’, still he wins millions of hearts and a lot of appreciation with his energetic and spontaneous performance.

A few words about one of the most versatile actor of Malayalam film industry, Tilakan. Years made him only mature and mature and if we take the past 30 or 40 years of Malayalam film industry, no doubt, he is one among those top 5 shining stars who knows the real syllables of acting. He is considered as the most versatile character actor of this industry and it was at the age of 78, he did the most memorable movie of his career – Indian Rupee.

What, we can do for our senior citizens

Forgotten old age is a big question mark raised against the modern society and it’s the duty of every citizen to ensure their happiness, safety and good conditions of living. It’s said, both gooseberry and words of elders may taste bitter first. But later, both are sweet! Yes, it shows the significance of words of our senior citizens. Let us spend a few hours for those disabled people at old homes. They need nothing else, but a few words of love and a feeling of security. Also, whenever we meet an old person in distress, let’s do some favour for him. At least, we can buy something worth for them, just help them to cross the road or offer our seat in a crowded bus. We can carry their small luggage as a form of help.

Now those grandma stories and fairy tales have almost disappeared. Only cartoon fantasies exist in kids’ imagination and memory. Such cartoon characters may entertain them, but only a few are able to give moral stories to learn. If you visit an old age home, don’t keep distance from them or see them with pity eyes. Instead show some respect towards them. Make them feel that we have learnt a lot from them and are still following their foot steps and lessons. It will surely help to blossom their frown minds and hearts at least a little bit.

It’s our duty to help those people, who have constructed our future using their past. We should attain their energy to move forward. Let’s thought for a little while, if courts and laws are needed to ensure their safety and rights. We should never create a situation where, they need to ask and buy what they actually deserve, because it’s the real shame on us to create such situations. Let us keep these promises till our fingers are sufficient to count all old age homes of our country. That’s why once Gandhiji told, ‘If I can do something for our country, my first attempt is to destruct all old age homes’. Yes, Gandhiji truly believed that it’s the duty of kids to look after their old parents. As we are Gandhiji’s true followers, why can’t we start it from our life itself?

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