Something happened recently which triggered me to talk about this.
So before coming to the actual topic , lemme share with you guys one incident. And this particular incident is the reason I am writing this. Otherwise this topic has always been at the back of my mind but I never actually thought about penning it down.
I saw him sitting alone on the sofa in a crowded mall. And since I was supposed to wait for my friend I chose go sit next to him as seldom do u find such empty places in crowded malls. “Are you a college student or are you working?” He initiated the convo. It was hard for me to understand in the starting as the old man was so old with no teeth in his mouth. He was 80 , I got to know this in the conversation later on. “I saw you coming from there and your aura being so radiant, I felt I could talk to you. You seem like a smart and intelligent girl to me.”
I like the fact that people find me approachable but what he said really raised my confidence. I mean I am not much used to such huge compliments but this particular one coming from an elderly and a VETERAN at that had me overawed.
He told me he comes here ALONE just to sit and watch people. So that he can kill his loneliness for some time by talking to random people. Earlier he used to visit with his spouse but since her death he has been following the ritual alone. He dislikes going places alone now and feels lonely. Even with his driver – as instructed by his daughters- always ready at his service , he prefers to be at home most of the times. He said he has two daughters who are settled and that they also treat him nicely but then it’s life and it has to go on.
This made me realize how lonely he is even with his two children living in the same city as him, just two blocks down the lane.
I felt as if , for a long time he has been wanting to talk to somebody, somebody with whom he can share his emotions and that how he is feeling in life.
When I asked whether he is an ex serviceman he said ” I was so right about you. U have got good observation skill. And as I can conclude now – you are an army brat. Aren’t you? ” He also asked me what I was doing here to which I replied I am waiting for my friend. We talked about the city, his service in the army, his tenure at the IMA and also my hopes , dreams and aspirations. He was pleased to know that I want to join army. He was all disappointed as to how youth these days does not want to join services but at the same time was happy to know that I did want to. And he was even happier when I told him that my friend I am meeting today is also in the army. He said he would like to meet him and I promised that I will take his leave only once he comes.
The man who had known me for barely 15 minutes now told me ” you are going to do it. Your are going to get there. I can see in you those qualities and ethics required for the services.”
I went numb after hearing this. I didn’t know what to say. He has barely known me for a few minutes and he is all praise for me. And when I didn’t say anything he joked ” Although I might not be alive by the time your day comes but I will surely pray – either from here or from above- that your day comes soon.” Tho it was a blessing but in the manner he said made me feel so bad for the old man. I took the blessing but at the same time I was thinking ‘ is the old man really so hopeless of his life and is waiting for death to consume him.’
My friend came at this moment and I introduced both of them. He stood up smartly and greeted him with that soldierly charm. It’s well said “once a soldier, always a soldier.”
After some time we took his leave.
Later on when me and my friend were talking about this, he said ” Have your ever gave a thought , it could be us too 50 years from now.” And I replied , ” No, I want it to be better than this for me.”
The main idea behind me sharing this incident about Jagjeet uncle was to show how lonely one gets during ones old age. He has lived a very happening life, full of action but at the end he is left alone by his daughters. Not actually but emotionally.
As a kid , as an infant when we are not able to take care of ourselves ; our parents to everything under their control to make things easier for us to survive in this world. But these days I am more than shattered by the headlines in the news with such stories behind. Recently a news circulating was that of a lady who was found dead in her house after three days. She used to live alone while her son used to live a few blocks away. He didn’t even bother to check on her in those 3 days let alone visit her.
This is just one incident but we have heard or read about several such incidents.
It is high time for us to realize that “They need us.” We should accept that they are our responsibility and that we can’t run away turn our back towards them. What do they want from us? Just a little time and some moral support so that they are sure that we have got their back. Take care to pick out that time which they need from your busy schedule.They feel hurt being neglected so. I could see that in Jagjeet uncle’s moist eyes.
My grandparents never stayed with us but then that is because they had an option in the form of my uncles and they decided to choose the latter so that they stay grounded at one place (their home for life) and are not uprooted after every two years ,which they would’ve had to do if they chose us instead.
I shared Jagjeet uncle’s blessing coz my mother says, ” Trust no one but the words of an elderly, as they don’t speak with their heart or mind but with their experience. Heart can be deceived while mind can be manipulated but experience remain the same for years reminding you of your lessons. They would never lie.”
After all these years , my parents and I have always missed the presence of an elderly at home. They for somebody to guide them with every little decision and I for somebody to pamper me much.