Post Mortem

Old is gold

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 5/4/2019 11:58:07 AM IST

 Over the next 33 years, 20 per cent of India’s population will be above 60 years of age. This must give us joy because a mature population rich in knowledge and information is there to lead this country to a more peaceful and right path of development. But old age becomes cold age for the elderly once their progenies start discarding them. Thus, their life becomes miserable and is often neglected and uncared for. Frustration and anxiety become their lifelong companions let alone miseries.

As one advances in age especially well past 40, his youthfulness of mind and body goes downward but maturity of mind goes upward weighing things in a more mature way. That is why the world always pays heed to the advice of the old wise men and the world never goes astray from their advice as well.
But the elderly silently suffers too much without raising their complaints at their fag end of life. I knew a very old man who was waiting for his end or rather left to die by his family. He had many ailments though not serious but as was the practice in the late seventies, he too was never taken to hospital for treatment, for; the dear ones were expecting his death. This old man somehow crawled to the veranda of his house during high noon when nobody was in the house. As his house was so close to the village road, passers-by could have a glimpse of what was happening in the front of the house. As I was on an urgent errand with the agility of a teen, I was just passing the house when I heard a groaning. I turned my face and saw the old man lying on the veranda. He was helplessly beckoning me to go to him. Delaying my urgent task, I ran towards him. When I reached him, he asked me in a feeble voice for a glass of water. Embarrassed at his request, I stood for a moment nonchalantly. Then the man looked at me and pointed to the kitchen to take water from. In a jiffy, I brought in a glass of water, and he drank it thanking a lot. Later, I got to know that his family members never cared for him and within two weeks the old man passed away. 
A political leader’s grandma lived next to our house. She used to come out of her house daily trudging to meet people. She was so keen to keep in touch with the people around her. Once, a very old man confessed to saying that old people did not wish to let a day go without meeting as many people as they could. Here the grandma too had such a desire to meet people. Unfortunately, many used to go the other way to avoid meeting her. I was the sole person she shared and poured out her worries and anxieties with as I was a good listener.
During the year 2010, I attended a funeral of a friend’s father who died at the age of 90. In the funeral speech, the parish priest qualified the dead man as a mobile library because the man had amassed a lot of information and knowledge from fiction to science. Admittedly, most old men are the repository of knowledge and information but we often take them for granted. And the old saying ‘old is gold’ is very true and relevant. Our mindset must be changed to take care of the elderly with love, for; we too must come to this stage and age one day.
T K Nandanan, Kochi

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