Once upon a time ….
We all have grown up listening to the typical “ once upon a time’ stories and prince and princess stories from our grand parents. I still remember how the gesticulations and dramatic expressions of my grandma made even an innocuous looking story thread into something really exciting! However with the collapse of the joint family system, grand parents were left alone in their sprawling homesteads in the country sides while the new generation migrated to bigger cities and foreign places in search of a posh life style and fortune. The grandma’s bed time stories made way to CDs and cassettes that parroted children’s stories, rhymes and western folklores unlike the olden days when the kids were acquainted with the local life , culture and traditions through stories. Is it not ironical that these days, kids know more about Peter Pan than Mahabali or the important festivals of Kerala?
Nonetheless, this blog is not about the bed time stories we all loved very much but the lovable narrators of those stories. Things have come to a point where family ties and relationships do not matter any more! Aged parents are being left alone to fend for themselves in their ancestral homes in Kerala or in many cases in destitute homes and old age homes where they will be spending the twilight of their life like a prisoner with no room for personal likes and dislikes. If at all they are allowed to stay with their children, their position will be worse than a house keeper or a nanny where they have to take care of all the house hold duties and attend to the babies while their children go out to work in far away cities.
It is alarming to note that we Keralites, who used to take pride of a good track record in gender equality education, health care and other social issues can become so mean and thoughtless. Old age is not a bane but only an inevitable phase in everyone’s life. As they say, old age it is the second childhood and it is quite natural for the aged to desire or even demand to be loved and pampered. They have devoted a life time of theirs to raise their kids and have nurtured the next generation with love and warmth, which is sans parallel. In your mad chase of material wealth and bigger apartments and luxury vehicles, are we trampling our family virtues and the warmth and assurance that only our parents can give ? Remember, if it has happened to your parents today, tomorrow will be your turn for sure. So make sure that you do not shirk away from your responsibilities citing petty reasons like lack of time or resources lest the same fate might fall upon you.