He no longer breathes as freely as he used to before. She no longer feels fit enough to travel long distances for a vacation.
They don’t walk as fast as they used to, a few years back.
The coffee takes longer to be prepared. The vegetables take longer to be cut.
Their food intake is a product of various restrictions placed on them by age and by medical experts.
Suddenly, in the fast paced world, they seem to be laggards,hoping that someone like you or me take them as a pillion on a ride which they aren’t too accustomed to.
Yet, they have done all that they could in their capacities to ensure that you or me are equipped well enough to handle the pace of the current world without breaking a sweat.
For most of our lives ( and I am talking about folks of my age), we grow up with a sense of entitlement. Entitlement towards all our whims and fancies that we assume should be satisfied because we are children, and as parents, it is only natural that they give us all of that. We were chastised when needed, pampered when needed, but more often than not, most of our parents gave in to our demands, even at the cost of their happiness at times.
Yet, for all of us, as we grow, over the ages, we get acquainted with the reality around us. Slowly, we come to terms with the ways of the world. Ways, which may or may not concur with what was taught to you back at home. It is something that I would wish to say that at this point, that this current generation that we belong to, are on a threshold between the values and practices of the past and the wide open door of the future which disregards a lot of these as impractical for the ways of life today. With reality becoming increasing virtual, we are faced with this desire to be increasingly ‘accepted’ by peers. It is a pressing matter and more often than not, some of us tend to lose our sanity in this mad race.
But this isn’t a post about the ways of our generation because like one of my friends pointed out, each of us tend to have our own moral standards and we deem that right . The call for something which is universally accepted is looked upon as ‘dictatorship’ and suddenly we hear terms like ‘progressive society, space in relationships’ and words like that which seem to be ‘contextually’ right.
Thinking about which, makes me say this that these are the very terms we use when we go back to our parents while making our case. It is not a case where I am saying that our parents are always right because their judgements are often a result of their experiences which have been vastly different from the ones that we have today. Yet somewhere I believe that we find it easier to dismiss their opinions rather than ‘lose face’ in the front of our peers for having a different perspective about the point of conflict.
However, I think that all of us at some point of time come face to face with the ‘moment of truth’ regarding our parents and that often shapes the way we begin to look at them. For however bitter the truth is, it is not a very pleasant sight to see your parents age in front of you and struggle to deal with tasks which they once accomplished with ease. Age here isn’t just about physical deterioration, it is also about the mental deterioration. For the times that they have grown up or lived in have seen a different world as compared to the world of ‘temporal’ relationships that we are getting used to.
Yet, there is one fundamental thing. For all that we crib about or fume around on social media or otherwise to satisfy our ego or self-respect, the truth is that our parents have more of that in their little finger than we have in our entire lifetime. For irrespective of what we earn or what our designation at work might be, we will always continue to be their children and they have perhaps understood what ‘self-sufficiency’ is, much better than us.
Which is why they never ‘ask’. They do not hold all the sacrifices they’ve made over the years as a gun over your head and coerce you into their biding.
But,we…need to understand.
Life has now come a full circle and our parents are now akin to ‘children’. Children with strong egos and self-respect which makes it imperative that we tread paths cautiously. Ensuring that we ‘care’ enough for them without really making it sound like a favour or an extra burden.
I cannot speak for everyone at this point , yet I can say that ten years back, my mother used to sit up late into the night with me to ensure that I do not feel lonely while I studied. Ten years hence, even as I knock the doors of my home late in the night after work, she’s there,opening it for me with her dinner unfinished. To ensure that I do not feel lonely while I have my dinner. My father has never been outwardly expressive about his concern for me, maybe that is how fathers are. Yet I find him awake in the night long after he has gone to bed, only to ask me how my day at work was.
Last week, I happened to take my Mom on the Bangalore Metro. It was her first ever ride. She sat there next to me, gazing out of the window in awe. Having noticed a couple of people clicking selfies, she looked at me and asked me if we both could click one too. I clicked one and as we got off the train, she said ‘Thank You’.
Somehow that hit me hard. For all the years that she had toiled endlessly with her tuitions and household chores to ensure that we were never kept wanting, her satisfaction lay in a simple selfie clicked on a train and she was being so thankful for that. Yet here we are in the world, doing more than what is warranted for mere acquaintances who still complain that we could have done better.
Everyday as I leave home for work, I leave in the hope that God is watching over my parents much like the way they had hoped when I was away from them.
Our parents may not be perfect…but they’ve spent all their lives striving to ensure that we are ‘perfect’.
Asking for nothing…yet giving us more than what we desired.