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Old Age – Glee or Gloom?

21 Dec

Sometime ago, RM had written a post on ‘What does growing old mean?‘ While I nodded away to glory as I read through her post, I got reminded of a few people and their take on living the ‘second innings’ and hence this post:

Case 1:

A couple who have two sons with families of their own. They live close to the younger son’s house. They stay in an apartment where they have so many peers and they enjoy their time there. They have weekly outings where they explore a temple / restaurant / shopping area etc. The aunt’s younger son was in fact telling us that when they plan of eating out, aunt suggests restaurants that they were unaware of. The couple do stay at their sons’ homes once in a while but miss their friends back home. This aunt even has a music teacher coming home to teach her. She is learning classical music from him, a passion that she always had but couldn’t pursue. She even performed during their Apartment’s community Durga Puja and her vocals skills were very much appreciated.

Case 2:

One of aunt’s mom (AM), she lives alone in a huge house of her own. Her son and family lives abroad. Her daughter lives in a different city. We recently visited her and were surprised to see the way the home is so well-kept. She has a huge garden with hundreds of plants. Abbas almost interviewed her about her approach towards the life that she is currently leading. Here’s how the conversation went:

A: Don’t you feel like going abroad and live with your son and play with your grand children?
AM: I have lived with him for some time. But I am happy here at my own home. At this age, it’s better to detach ourselves from all family ties.” 
A: But they are your own people. Don’t you think you will be happier living with your own family?
AM: When we cross a certain age, we like to do things at a different pace. For example, when living with children and family, they go out and eat. You don’t feel like going with them. But back home, you feel restless till they come back. They might feel offended if we ask why they are late. If they are out of sight, you will not be that apprehensive. You might feel like eating your dinner early. But you can’t eat till your kids are done. Not that they will mind, but we will feel guilty on doing so.You might not like their way of living. And they might not like you commenting or advising coz they are already grown-ups. 
A: That is a part of life right? At every stage of life, you have a part to play.
AM: Look Abbas, I have played my roles well and now is my time to detach from all. Why do you think some people are alive in the ICU for months together? Because they are reluctant to let go of their possessive nature, my son, my saree, my this and my that. Do you know why nature weakens your eye sight and hearing abilities with age? Because, old people are better off not seeing or hearing the happenings around them. 
 

I might not have been able to write down her words exactly but it was such a pleasure listening to her. She is so practical, I became a fan of hers. She recently passed a Sanskrit exam. She said she was the oldest student there and she had joined a little late. The faculty advised her to join in the next session as the class was quite ahead but she insisted on joining and assured that she would catch up.

Case 3:

Ma (MIL) who lives with us and BIL & family alternately. Ma is a person who is very adaptive to any kind of situation. Initially when we had proposed the thought of leaving Mantam at the daycare, she swore not to visit us if we did that. But now she has come to agreement with the setup. Even when she is here, we stick to the 9 to 6 routine and she is alone at home all day. I’m sure she feels bored, but I’m even more certain that she would be at her crankiest best if she were to look after 2 3-year olds on her own for 9 hours on a day-to-day basis.

The gist of the whole post is to say that old age is just another childhood. People must spend it happily and try to relieve themselves of the mundane burden and indulge in all that they couldn’t due to worldly commitments.

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14 Comments

Posted by on December 21, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

14 responses to “Old Age – Glee or Gloom?

  1. R's Mom

    December 21, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    and I am nodding my head to your last lines 🙂

    That aunty Abbasbhai interviewed…super nice eh?

    Like

     
    • Seema

      December 21, 2011 at 2:42 pm

      Thanks RM.

      Super nice – she certainly was. We had to leave otherwise, I was enjoying listening to her.

      Like

       
  2. garima

    December 21, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    Superb understanding lady that AM is.I too believe that parents (inlaws) if capable to stay alone should do so and enjoy their life rather than interfering in their son’s and dil’s life.Instead of staying with son and dil and being unhappy and making them unhappy better to stay alone and live life the way they want.

    Sorry that was small rant from my side…

    Like

     
    • Seema

      December 22, 2011 at 7:51 am

      But Garima, if both parties can adjust equally then it is possible for ILs/ parents to stay together. Also, having elders in the house makes you feel secure and you get to learn from their experience. But yes, at times elders tend to advise you on every trifle matter and it might be irking.

      Like

       
  3. summerscript

    December 21, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    Learning music – wowww 🙂
    Huge garden and passed sanskrit exam – again wowww
    I think if a person is not able to adapt to the changes, then only the problem arises.

    Great post Seema, loved the last para 🙂

    Like

     
    • Seema

      December 22, 2011 at 7:52 am

      ‘I think if a person is not able to adapt to the changes, then only the problem arises.’ – Yeah true SS.

      Thank you 😀

      Like

       
  4. Bikram

    December 21, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    I can realte to case 2 so much, it is in my family .. My grand ma lives alone in the house back home .. I wont go into details why as I have written on my blog , things changed after my granpa passed away .. Grand ma is not my dad’s real mum .. anyway so i see it all the time , I have asked her to come to me inspite of all the problems but she has refused..

    my parents came stayed for one month on a one year visa and wanted to go back , I did everything TORE their ticket tooo so they can stay for longer but maximum was 4 months .. and after my dad passed away I see my own mother at home .. and she is the same , would not come and I totally understand the reply given its true , I hear it EVERY OTHER DAY.. I call mum every other day and mostly the conversation finishes at , have you decided yet to come here and her reply is the same … What will i do , i am happy this and that. And she is happy , she comes and goes when she wants , my sis is in australia , mum is visiting her these days .. another one is in usa , she plans to go there next … 🙂

    and yes to the last lines I would not want my mother to look after my house , she has done it all her life now is the time when she shud rest and do what SHE WANTS TO DO.. she brought me up looked after me and all that .. It would be realy sad and wrong of me to push her to bring up my kids tooo I would not want that ..

    You and Abbas are lovely beautiful people .. and GOOD to know you 🙂

    Like

     
    • Seema

      December 22, 2011 at 8:00 am

      Bikram, I can understand your situation well. It’s better that Aunty stays in a place where she is happy na? As a son, I know how it feels to see your Mom staying so far and that too alone. Her home is her identity, the neighbours, the atmosphere, language, culture, it will be difficult for her to stay apart from them. You know what Ma’s(my MIL) biggest woe here is? That she cannot gossip with the domestic help about neighbors and other household’s hot news… So, it’s better to let them be in their comfort zone. If we force them to stay with us, they might as well do it to please us but then what is the point if they feel suffocated?

      Please convey my regards to Aunty.

      Like

       
  5. Sumana

    December 21, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    Seema what a post !!! Hats off to the aunty whom Abbas interviewed. I swear if i can atleast follow one tenth of it, my old age can be a bliss. We so need to detach ourselves when the time comes but we never let our mind take over certain times.

    Like

     
    • Seema

      December 22, 2011 at 8:01 am

      Yes, she is emotionally very strong and too practical to be true. I so wish to be like her in my old age.

      Like

       
  6. Asmitha

    December 22, 2011 at 2:26 am

    How true! 🙂

    Like

     
  7. RS

    December 22, 2011 at 11:32 am

    Wow! True inspirations these older people are. Learning what they want – infact sometimes I think they like to catch up on what they couldnt do earlier due to so many commitments. I hope when my time comes I will also be able to let go when required or have the josh to try out all that I like!!

    Like

     
    • Seema

      January 3, 2012 at 5:30 pm

      Yeah, I hope so too!

      Like

       

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