My neighbor came to my door and knocked with his weak hands and as I opened the door… he smiled with too much effort and though he couldn’t walk he came up to me and congratulated me for my new job…Amma had told him…and then he said.. “Mujhe Peda nai dia”(you did not give me sweets) and then he laughed and said im just joking…all the best for your job.
I realized that this man standing before me was my one time maths coach ..The very strict person that he was..I remembered how strong and well built he was and how all the children used to be scared of him..General Manager of a textile mill …successful & rich and a social person .I was filled with guilt because I hadn’t taken time to speak to him in years… and now I suddenly realized that he had grown very very old too soon..His face now suffers from partial paralysis, the once fit Sabnis uncle whose gait used to instill fear in people now walks baby steps so that he doesn’t fall ...he can’t hear like he used to… operated on the heart twice after 60. He loved talking about science and politics but no one would speak to him about all that now. Every day I used to watch him sitting by the window with a face that yearned for someone to stop by and speak to him.
I realized I hadn’t called my grandmother since long.. I called her up.. I told her Im coming to meet her and she mocked me for remembering her after long.. I said I'll make up for it and she said okay come soon..more importantly come safe…don’t ride the bike to fast..I reached and her smile was different ..I sat down with her and asked her how she was and how does she feel now..and what started with just another “im fine” flowed into a flood of varied emotions into words and I just sat there admiring the strength of the 74 year old old snow white haired , soft wrinkled skinned lady. I explained to her about my work profile in the most basic tamil that I could talk..And I could see her face filled with excitement as I told her about each process and she loved the fact that she could understand what I was doing… she felt proud about me and made me some coffee I hadn’t had in months before I left
Below is a poem written by and old, weak , lonely ( extremely powerful , learned , rich in the past ) man.This man used to be and still is a mentor to my friend and my guide hiren bhatt..Hiren called him up for a casual “ how are you doing?”And the man replied to him in a poem..
"Each morning I arise
Look at the blue skies
The paper is on the table
To read English I am able
I search my name in the obituary column
but my name is not there
My name is not there
means I am not dead
So i have a hearty Breakfast
and go back to bed"
I realized I have been taking them for granted…as if they’ll live as long as I do… I don’t know when il wake up and not have neighbor uncle sit on that window waving to me wen I leave for work.. or when my grandma would feel proud of me again..
One day there would be no more screaming from that man who stood at the second floor as we broke his glasses playing cricket…Its scary when you think this degree of loneliness, boredom and sadness could come to you some day … it would be you or your parents at the window yearning for someone one to talk to. Don’t waste time..don't take them for granted ..call them up …meet them ..tell them how much u love them and how beautiful they look …watch them blush and show u their old photographs, ask them if they need something and may be buy groceries for them…
We can always go late for a pizza party or a beer..and when they blabber wisdom you don’t need just nod ..shut up ,smile and lisn… coz u never know if these two minutes will come again…and when u mite need these two minutes when you are old.
The two minutes you give them could be their last and they could re-live their entire lives with you… Lets not make them feel they are alone and waiting to die… lets give them a reason to live, to talk to us..
No need to go to an old age home to feel good and make them feel good..we can start at home for starters .
IF YOU HAVE AN OLD GRANDPARENT /PARENT/ OLD NEIGHBOUR/TEACHER …call them or meet them if possible today and you will realize what this blog post is about.
Thanks for reading and keep coming back to Rams realizations
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