Saturday, September 20, 2008

Help, I'm old !!!

Kerala finds itself staring at more than 3 million people who are above the age of 60. Many have been thrown out (either physically or by being a nobody in their own house) of their homes and some live at the mercy of relatives or old age homes. Even that is a luxury and some end up on the streets with nothing.

But life wasn't always like this for them. There was a life of happiness and content. A life with a loving wife or husband and the fullfillment of bringing up one's children and caring for them. But what was the epicentre of their lives then shatters all expectations. Mother's and father's are taken care of and then conveniently disposed when the time comes. Some are put up in huge mansions constructed by the children who work in the middle east, the U.S. or Europe, and the parents also become a part of the furniture, to be showcased to the public. Without any community support the old are left to fend for themselves or live a life after surrendering every bit of their integrity.

Society itself makes the aged feel unwanted. Everything happens so fast and changes faster that the mother's and father's can't even cross a road or shop in peace. The railway's and banks give special incentives to those above 60 but how will these people reach a railway station or a bank? How is it possible to do anything when one feels they could be mauled down any minute by the traffic.

This is not the case in every house hold. There are children who go the extra mile to take care of their parents, sometimes even overdoing it a touch. There are those who age gracefully and die gracefully. But they are the exceptions. What about those who are pushed into solitude? What about those who feel the carpet has been pulled from under them? When will we assure and give dignity to the aged? These then are the questions before us.

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