A few weeks back I was at a socio-cultural
event full of people, young and old. From kids to people in their 40s, it was
quite a mix of people really. Among all of us though there was an uncle, let’s
call him Uncle John. He was probably in his late 60s. For some reason, the very
moment I entered the hall I noticed him. As the program gradually got underway everyone
started taking part. Suggestions kept pouring in and everyone took turns establishing
their point of views. It is then that I observed something; something that,
well, ruined the evening for me. Maybe I’m too sensitive, maybe I think too
much from my heart every now and then, I don’t know, but I didn't like what I saw
and it all went downhill from there on.
It was Uncle John’s turn to suggest
something and to my surprise nobody seemed interested in listening to what he
had to say. He was subtly ignored, avoided even. It was as though he was
invisible, irrelevant to the crowd. These were people making tall claims about contributing
to the society, all apparently educated and they couldn't find it in them to
lend a patient ear to Uncle John. Is it really so hard to respect the opinion
of an aged and experienced person? Is this how the world see’s old age or old
people? If so, don’t you think it is wrong? We are all going to be old one day,
it’s inevitable. Then why this? Do we have to outgrow our elders? Is this some
kind of fad?
“That's the trouble with you
young people. You think because you ain't been here long, you know everything.
In my life I already forgot more than you ever know.” ― Neil Gaiman, Anansi
That night’s events got me
thinking. What if one day someone treats my parents that way? I would be
furious, wouldn't you? When I see aged individuals, grandmas and grandpas,
uncles and aunts, I think of my parents. One day when they are really old and
away from me for some reason, what if someone treats them the way people treated
Uncle John that day? What would I feel? What would they feel?
I have always tried to be
respectful towards the elderly except maybe towards those who have meddled in
my life unnecessarily to make it hard for me. I always make it a point to let
them speak. I always lend a patient ear to them; yes whether I agree or not is
a different thing altogether. But I let them speak and give them my undivided attention
when they do so. It doesn't take away anything from me.
People leave behind their old
parents at stations so that they don’t have to bear medical expenses. People send
away their parents to old age homes. How can anyone even do this? I don’t think
old people need too much from their children and those around. A little bit of respect
and a patient ear is all they crave for. You don’t really need to do much to
keep them happy.
Give them your full attention.
Listen to what they have to say.
Respond to them when they talk to
Look at them when they talk to you.
Ask them how they are feeling, at least
once in a while.
Tell them you understand their
Give them a chance to be a part of
Don’t stop loving them because of
their age because remember they won’t.
And do this not because you have to
but because you should. I’m not saying you don’t take your decisions or live
your life the way you want to. But it doesn't have to entail ignoring and
disrespecting the elderly. Just my two cents!