It is amazing that how we need love and attention during all phases of life. While we are a kid, there is no lap that we have not been into. Someone or the other is always busy engaging us, damn every single time we go cranky. A single cry can gather the entire family around us. As we grow into teens and twenties, we end up finding our kind of madness. Hormones don’t let us be alone (sometimes yes). But there is always this fulfilment of kind of attention and love we are craving for. And then life happens!
Interestingly this attention and love is found missing while we grow old – like old to the stage where our kids have found their families and career to pursue. In the last few months, it so happened that I ended up spending time with quite a few elders (some couples, some single partners) – seemingly happy, full of energy and enthusiastic about life but hold the conversation for 15 minutes and you will see a world that is reeking of ‘loneliness’!
All household chores done! All socialising done! So, yes life is happening at its own pace for these oldies too. But trace them back to their homes and you will find a deafening silence that can only rip your heart apart. I will not hesitate to admit that I witness the same thing at my home as well.
What is surprising is – when we (the kids and the larger family) are back home – our parents get 50% rescued from all kinds of illness. They are eating healthy, sleeping on time, engaging in regular and varied conversations. There is an unbeatable zeal to pursue life. ‘Akelapan’ finds it way out of the home. There are no sully evenings or dreary nights when untoward thoughts keep them engaged and surrounded.
I have seen this first hand and I can’t be more depressed about all of this. I will never be able to forget an evening when I went to meet my uncle who stays with his wife (kids settled abroad) and for all the time we were there, he could not stop talking and keeping us engaged. While I had gone to spend some 30minutes with him, I could not help but ending up spending the entire evening with him.
Why? Why is it so that when our parents need the most of our love and affection – we find ourselves tied to our “chores and career” but when it was our turn to receive all the love and affection – they stood by us relentlessly. My parents say that this is the chakra of life! I am not sure they do really mean it or that these are their consoling words to prevent me from any guilt!
There is a Dogri phrase that goes like this आपु गुड़ खादा होये ते दुज्जे की कियाँ मना करना (If you are in a sugar spree, how will you advise others not to taste it). What I mean is I am not sure if I can advise or suggest anyone to just leave your cushy jobs, hefty pay-checks, pack your bags and go back home! But all I can say is we can definitely be more engaging with our parents and elders of our family, a little more cognizant of what’s happening in their lives (lest we are caught by surprise someday), talk to them daily (I hope I am not asking for more) and just make them very much a part of our routine! It might not be the easiest thing to do but surely not impossible.
After all, we all need Our cup of love to be filled! The question is can we fill our elders’ cup of love?