Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Old age bites back?

An after dinner stroll turned out to be quite eventful and saddening today.

Close by home there is a temple outside which sits a security guard every night.
As we approached the temple we saw of couple of people milling around an old man who seem to be fast asleep. Looking at this i thought maybe the old man had lost his way. Having lived all my life in the same locality i can recognize quite a few people in the neighborhood. Thinking that maybe i would help the old man reach home, we approached the people who were standing around him. Turned out that this person wasn't someone i know. The security then told us it looked like the old man had deliberately left home as he had some bottled water and bread with him. It was his way of preparation to fend for himself.
One of the neighbors had got a blanket for the old man and asked him who he was and if he had lost his way. The old man looked like he was from a respected and well to-do-family. Any question that was asked to the old man to place his whereabouts, met with the same answer "Gottilla" (I don't know).

This situation moved me to tears. We stood there for sometime looking at the old man sleeping on the cold stone slab. And we moved on. Apparently this was the second time in the week that such an incident happened by the temple.

I wonder why people are ill-treated as they get old. I agree that they become senile and child-like. All they ask is for food,shelter and some love and affection if you are generous enough. After all the sacrifices and hardships parents face to bring up their kids, is it too difficult to take care of them nicely during their old age? Isn't it every child's responsibility and every parent's right?

It also made me think, how selfish the society in general is. All we did was, show sympathy for the old man ,feel bad for him and just get on with our lives. But then, I am an average person, whose decisions are impacted by/impact others around me. Or maybe i am using it as an excuse.
I have new found respect for people who are into serving the society. It takes a lot of selflessness and compassion to reach out and help people and give them permanent solutions to their problems.
Maybe i will go back with some food tomorrow, if not help find a shelter for the old man, thats the least i can do, if he is still around.

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