Friday, October 5, 2012

A poignant question

The day before yesterday my daughter was quite excited , she was one of the selected few of her class who were being taken by the school to visit an old age home. She made a handmade card , got us buy eatables for all the naanis and daadis she was going to meet, she even wanted me to cook halwa for them, but since this idea dawned on her in the morning when there was only 10 minutes left for the school bus to arrive we could not do anything about it, she also had plans to buy a few saris for them and so on… I was quite happy to see that my daughter actually looked forward to this and wanted to really spend time with the old age home naanis, may be it’s all the good effect of being with her grandparents during the day,  I thought.

 In the afternoon I gave a call to her, as usual, to ask her how was the day, what did she do at school etc.( for that day at the old age home),  from the other side the voice that came was quite a sad one, all the enthusiasm and excitement was gone from her voice and she sounded dull. I was quite taken aback and asked the reason, she told me that the Naanis in the old age home , around 9 in numbers were very unhappy people, they were constantly quarreling / arguing with each other, excepting one or two. They were only interested in seeing what was brought for them by the children, meanwhile,  the management of the old age home  had given instructions to the children and the teachers who accompanied them that anything that they have brought for the inmates should be submitted to the management who will distribute it, inspite of this some children gave away things to some individuals and it created problems among them. My daughter told me that one of the old lady saw the packet of toffees in my daughters hand and forcibly asked her to give it to her saying that  she shall distribute it, my daughter had no choice but to give it away.   She then said that the they (the children) started a game of Antakshari with the Naanis ,  wherein after around 5 minutes they seemed disinterested and asked the children  to stop it as they were giving them a headache. My daughter was quite upset, she had also given the hand made card to one of the naanis who had taken it but without much interest.

It was very difficult for me to explain to my daughter  that she should not have any ill feeling for these naanis because it is possible that they were bitter with their life as they were living away from their loved ones, they might be feeling angry and helpless and they unknowingly expressed their feelings like this, and that she should be happy that she was chosen as one of the few who were  suppossed to make them happy at least for a day. I also told her that they were not rude or quarrelsome and irritated because of you all, that is the children, I told her that they are upset with their lives, they want to be with their families just like your own naani and daadi  lives and seeing all of you, may be they were reminded of their own grandchildren, and they did not want to give away their  feelings therefore camouflaging it with rudeness to distract themselves.

 I do not know whether  I did the right thing by way of this explanation but I could see that  my daughter seemed to have understood, at the same time she asked me a very poignant question "why do their families keep them away from themselves"?? This was such a question which had no answer, at the same time it had  so many answers in the form of so  many incidences ,  so many sad stories… but at the end of the day it is a question which haunts all of us.. and the fact that it is not a question which can have a straight and simple answer in today's scenario is quite a depressing thought.

I wish all of us who would also reach old age sooner or later shall try to  understand the emotions of our elderly people , be a little patient with them and do not forget that it's only a matter of time that we shall be in their age, may be then we would realise the intensity of the pain they go through, know the reasons for their decisions, their likes and dislikes, irritiations, fears, insecurities etc. but somehow I have a gnawing feeling that by then it will be too late...

12 comments:

  1. This was such a difficult situation for you to handle.... Your kid asked such an innocent but thoughtful question whose answer is so difficult
    :-(
    It makes me so sad when people shows insensitive attitude towards elders :-(
    But you know while i read this post I was constantly thinking about your daughter as this incident must have shown her hard reality of life and i think she is quite young na!!

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    1. Hi Nibedita, Yes , it was difficult,but I felt she understood...

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  2. I volunteer at a Hospice Nursing home. I can totally understand your daughter's feelings and yours. The same question pops up in my head too(why would their families keep them away?").

    Hugs to your daughter. She is young, but you have given her a good explanation. She will be able to understand once she grows up a bit.

    Take care!

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    1. Hi Nilu, Such a long time!! where were you?? i tried to read your blog so many times, have you made it private, what happened?? and what about access to me dear ?? and thanks for the comment and connecting once again :)
      take care

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  3. Hey,

    I just came across this blog while searching for something else on internet. I happened to read this post and I loved it.

    The way you have portrayed the whole issue is very touching.You have raised a very contemporary question and written it very well.

    One question that kept hammering in my mind so I'm asking you - How old is your daughter ?? And how did she take it when you explained the whole thing in such a mature way ?

    Thanks for writing such a lovely post !

    Mamta

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  4. Hi Mamta, Welcome here, thanks for the comment. My daughter is 10 year old.. i felt she understood the whole point....thanks once again
    take care

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  5. Maybe as we are marching towards old age, we should remember to be wise, as well. I am not exactly sympathetic towards people who use their past/sickness/loneliness as a weapon. In fact, they of all people should value life.

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  6. Hi Bins, Agreed, sometimes old age can be quite unreasonable because of these reasons as you say , that is exactly why I have written that we have to be a little patient, because we never know how we are gonna end up when we reach that age, as they say childhood and old age has lot of similarities...

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  7. Agree with Bins. I'm thinking about disappointed ur daughter and friends wd have been:-(.

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  8. Hi Nance, you are right but then such are the ways of life , isn't it??

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  9. poignant question indeed and you did a good job answering it! i am glad our parents are not suffering this fate but am preparing myself for it:-)

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  10. lan, I am with you in the preparations :)

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