History, mythology, Vedas and the country itself teaches
value to its children, the most important being respecting, valuing and
cherishing elders. The current trend being otherwise.
We tend to stop being grateful to the ones who would do just
anything to see our lips curve into a smile, pamper us like it was our right
and narrating amazing stories and anecdotes.
Abuse of elders as opposed to child abuse is even worse
because they have nowhere else to go, emotionally draining as they are
ill-treated by those whom they treated them very well most often. At that age,
they are fragile and weak, with a very bleak future and are helpless much like
Unlike the West,
we live in a different social system. In India, kids after 18 need not leave
their house, go out to be independent and earn for their graduation. While the
westerners learn from us we have degenerated our standards to such an extent
that acts such as touching the feet of elders have become mere acts of show off
consequences of elder abuse are disastrous as the next generation learns from
the past. My grandmother and parents,
integral part of my support system , once narrated me story of the young lad
who was found busy polishing a coconut shell, when was asked by his father why
he was doing it, the boy replies, “I am doing it for you Papa!,”.
“What?!” asked the shocked and bewildered
father to get this reply,” I thought why waste money on earthen pot to serve
food at old age for you, while the coconut shell would serve the same purpose.
Papa, I have seen mom serving food to grandpa in the coconut shell, so you are,
right?”They let me
ponder over the story, and I realised what they meant. Thanks, to my
upbringing, I don’t leave any opportunity of touching feet of my elders to get
all the blessings I could.
grandmother was an epitome of love and care, nurtured and raised my sibling and
me with all her experience and immense love. My parents set an exemplary
example by taking care of my grandmother. My mother took care of my grandmother
like her own mother, the small gestures of love that they made with each other
was wonderful. I remember them going shopping together, excited with their buy,
the discounts, the restaurant that they went post shopping, which restaurant to
go next, and the list never ended. Their relationship I guess over time grew
stronger. Both being elders to me, were a source of inspiration and awe to me.
While all the daily soaps told me otherwise, I was in a house where mother in
law and daughter in law were friends, maybe best friends, I will never know.
Few years back,
when cancer engulfed the body of my grandmother, and we were all busy trying to
save her, although we knew it was nearly impossible. In the former days when
diagnosis wasn’t made yet and her condition was worsening, the people in ICU
with who my grandmother shared her room were moved to see the way my mother
patiently cleaned my heavy grandmother, put up with granny’s crazy behavior
due to meds like it was nothing at all, for she wanted her only friend and philosopher
to be back home, guiding her.I remember very
well, death was fast approaching and granny called me in along with mom and
told me, she was proud of who I am and told me, “Your mom is the best thing
that happened to me and I want you never to disrespect your mom ever, share
everything with her the way you used to do it with me, you are unique in your
own way, but try to absorb the best of your mom.”
With this the neighboring old lady shocked in her expression told my mother that she never
imagined a daughter in law could do so much and always thought that my mom was
my granny’s own daughter. At that time I felt that was bizarre. But today I realize what granny meant.
I am just grateful
to have been born into a family where values are held high, rules followed but
bent according to the need and one which taught us always to respect our elders
orally, emotionally and physically.
On this stop
elder abuse day, my mum and I miss my granny like the words misses the blanks
in a sentence.