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Monday, July 10, 2017

Real life experiences in a world of contrasts

The mind wanders and various thoughts come and go. Some which register more than others. In which case, I try to put them down, before they go away. So here’s something which I observed during one of my evening walks.

We have a very large and well reputed Polyclinic in our complex offering a wide range of medical treatments and facilities. People of all age groups
 (mostly from the upper strata) come here to have a range of treatments and follow up activities. As I drew up closer, and moved towards the outer perimeter, I saw an old Omani gentleman in a wheel chair. He was gently being taken down the specially built ramp and into a parked and waiting Lexus ES-350.

My primary observation was that he looked weak and unwell. But overriding that was another one for he also looked happy and content. Even managing a smile back at me as I gave him one while directly passing by. The reason for that happiness was very simple. You see he was surrounded by loving family members, who were there to provide mental, moral as well as physical support. There were three of them, a young man and a woman along with a boy of about 14 years of age.

So here's my take on this- At the end of the day, what are we all really looking for? Just some peace and quiet, and most of all the loving support of our family,particularly if we are weak, old and ill. For money alone can't buy happiness in this world.


 Here’s a contrasting story. It was a cold December night of our winter vacation in Delhi a few years back had just finished a family dinner at 'Punjabi by Nature' in Priya's Vasant Vihar Complex. and were looking for a 'paan' to conclude the eating fiesta.

As everyone wandered from place to place, looking around, I stood near a bangles and accessories pavement seller, looking at his wares and my eyes just happened to fall on an old lady, sitting on a nearby pavement bench. What particularly caught my attention was her sad eyes and an expression of sheer desolation. She looked absolutely lost and alone. The very next moment, she turned and looked at me. Our eyes met, and an unspoken communication took place. I willed her into some semblance of awareness of her surroundings.....and she managed a timid smile.

And then, something happened and which has stayed with me-till today, and every now and then still returns to haunt me.A younger woman, (possibly her daughter in law? ) walked up to her and asked loudly- in Punjabi- "Bunty Kidhar Hai? Kidhar hai Bunty?"( Where’s Bunty?)

 The older lady lady looked up, totally confused for she hadn't even realised that Bunty wasn't there. She started stammering," I don't know, he was just here" desperately looking around, for she really had no clue. 

All the while the younger woman continued with her ranting.

Suddenly, a boy of about six came running right up to the older woman. Then hugging her he said, "Sorry, I had just gone there... for a moment."

The lady was so relieved that in that moment, tears spilled out of her eyes.  

I stood watching, having understood what I had just unwittingly been a mute witness to-total disrespect of an older person. It was obvious that she was now without her partner. And that's why the younger woman had the audacity to treat her this way.

Life took over, and I went on with my family in the next few minutes, but not without turning to look back at her. Still sitting there yet, the child was holding on to her hand.

In some of my quiet moments, I often wonder, what happened to her from that day onwards?

NB- This piece was originally written by me for 'My Take' in Muscat Daily


purba chakraborty said...

Wonderful post, Sunaina. I liked the way you wrote both the stories, from your perspective.
The second story was heart-wrenching. I feel so sad when I see old people getting treated so badly by their family members :(

Sunaina Serna Ahluwalia said...

Thank you Purba. Glad you look at life the same way, old age can be really tough..