They say that old age is our second childhood. As people grow old with time, we will too, someday. We’ll find ourselves lost in the oblivion of our own minds, staring deep into the nothingness that is life. We will have nothing to do but wait for time to whisk us away in its arms into a land of unknown, a land of its own. Old age homes are places that see people with such thoughts hovering about their minds more than any other place on earth. Old age homes are places where children leave their own parents to live, to die, to wait for an absolution that never really comes. Old age homes are probably the saddest places to ever exist.
This article here is dedicated to the entire population of old people who are now mere burdens, liabilities and responsibilities in the eyes of their own families. Take a look at your grandmother or grandfather, or any other old person for that matter. Tell me what you see. Or maybe I’ll tell you what I see. What I see when I look at my grandmother is a woman of immense emotional strength; a person who has fought and struggled with life for eighty years and made it out of it, having discovered a new and better self.
To understand better, take out an hour or so out of your ridiculously busy scheduled lives and go visit an old age home. Do nothing; just look at the people there. But wait, don’t just look, but see them. See how they are fighting with themselves every day to put up a brave front and go out into the world with a smile on their face. See how they keep hoping against all hopes, against all odds that one day, may be soon enough, their sons and daughters will come and take them home, a house with floors and walls that they made a home of with lots of love and care. Tell me then if you can ever do that to your own parents. No? You can never imagine doing that to your parents or grandparents ever, right? Good, but the sad part amidst all this is that these old age homes still exist because there are thousands of people out there who do it to their own parents. Leave them in unknown places called ‘homes’, which are immensely ironical, and go off to live their own lives in peace.
Yes, people like these exist. They live around us. Maybe even within us.
Got too busy a life to think about all this? To hell with that! Sit down for a while, relax your ever-tense muscles and reflect back upon the time when you were a toddler. You were nothing. Your identity depended on those of the people around you. You couldn’t feed or bathe or wash yourself. It was the time when you couldn’t speak. You grew up to be the person that you are today because of your parents and your grandparents and everyone else who cared about you and loved you. You might be an engineer or a doctor or a lawyer or an actor. But you are what you are because your family didn’t give up on you ever. They didn’t leave you in a home to mend for yourself. They stuck around even when you were the worst possible version of yourself.
So it’s time we return that favour. Give them what they gave us. Love them. Tell them how much they mean to us while we still can. Care for them. Make them feel wanted and valuable. Because there will come a time when we will not be able to hold their hands and tell them how they changed us for the better. Hold those hands that once fed you and bred you and clothed you. There will come a time when you’ll have to step into their shoes and walk for miles with no end destination in sight. Set a good example for your kids, lest they do the same to you. So spend time with your family; your parents and your grandparents are the biggest support systems you’ll ever find. Try and do your bit to erase the concept and total existence of such homes. Be the child that they raised you to be. Let them know that you’re there for them, every step of the way. Be the reason for their smile, because there will come a time when you won’t be able to look up at their face and thank your stars for giving you a family as wonderful as the one you have, however bad you may want to.