The recent episode of ‘Satyamev Jayate’ on sunset years and sun shine days was rather disturbing. The total degeneration of humanitarian values in India could be felt through this show. Further, the show was deceptively lopsided.
Everyone will agree that ageing is an irreversible process and with ageing a lot of changes do occur in a person. Their appearance, behavior, attitude and health conditions are the most significant ones. The conspicuous features are a sense of neglect and sense of insecurity. This could be seen almost in every aged person’s talk and behaviour. The host Aamir Khan and the few of the audience expressed that India is the ‘only’ country where three generation of people stay together in the same house. It is true that joint family system has certain advantages and also there are disadvantages too. The mother-in-law versus daughter-in-law relationship is invariably strained and abrasive in most of the instances. This could be hardly solved in most of the cases.
Earlier, the family had to be united because of financial reasons and today things have changed a lot. The father and mother expect the sons and daughters-in-law to be obedient in all respects. Conversely, the son and his wife expect their freedom should not be questioned by the parents. This over expectations and dependence on each other alone leads to a lot of conflict, cold and open wars leading to separation of desertion.
It is something like an unwritten rule, if there is a friction between the son and father the society only tries to square the blame on the younger generation and they only should listen to the elder. Pray, age doesn’t give wisdom to all. Only a few get it and others use ‘age’ as an excuse to harass their children. Just recall the very first episode of this ‘Satymev Jayate’ where an educated, elite mother-in-law kicking her grand child from the staircase since she wanted a male offspring. Can we imagine the daughter-in-law will wholeheartedly be warm to this woman during her sunset days?
Generally, Indians are very nosey people. Family is something which bound everyone through invisible bonds. The society preaches the elders will never err and only the youngsters are arrogant. Is that argument really valid? True?
Another depressing detail is the fifteen thousand beggar women loitering on the roads of Brindavan, the holy land of Lord Krishna. My God! If our God is so kind why in a place where once the beautiful damsels were roaming around to get a glimpse of Lord Krishna and to listen to his ‘bansuri’ now promotes ugly old beggars chasing the tourists for their alms! What sort of God he is or really God is there?
Staying together, even if it is a family needs a lot of compromises and adjustments. As long as economic dependency, people listen; if it is not there, they will never cooperate. The majority of the Indian population is ruthless mercenaries and openly greedy lot.
India is the only country which always waxes eloquent on ‘chastity’ and one man one woman relationship quoting Rama and all. But, why at the fag end of their lives they prefer to remarry? Companionship is fine; when sex is not of prime importance why not enjoy companionship with other old or young men? Why go for a woman? Even if it is so why get married? Okay, what will happen if the new husband or wife also dies since they are in their evening of their lives? Remarry some other woman or man again? In my view, the old age romance sounded positively ludicrous.
Live-in relationship by foreigners and when the younger generation followed it, the moral police of India and the media thrashed and criticized it. When I saw the number of oldies waiting in the queue for selecting their partners in Gujarat I was appalled to say the least. What type of hypocrisy it is? Where are those moral police?
As for trekking shooting etc, these people can be an exception from the common lot. It can be amazing news or an entry in a book of world records but impossible to follow by all. The health conditions invariably deteriorate with ageing. Playing cricket or dancing (that too for that horrible song like ‘Kolaveri’) by elderly people was positively ridiculous and nauseating!. If they trip and break their limbs who is going to attend them?
The harmless way for any man or woman at the twilight years is to concentrate more on either social activities like teaching, house hold help, reading, writing, music, gardening, painting, philosophy and religion. Old age demands dignity than anything else. Indians are possessive and avaricious. That is why ages ago, Adi Sankara sang ‘Bhajagovindam’ to all these ‘Mooda mathes’ to understand the ephemeral nature of life and act philosophically.
If the elders start reliving with matrimony and live-in relationships, I will not be surprised if the present population of India shoots up to astronomical figures in the coming years!
My advice to elders: Stop thinking about your children, wealth and pursue something useful either to you or to the society! If not, keep your mouth shut, pack up and wait for the day to leave!