Saturday, April 12, 2014

The old man's worry

‘Ugh, ugh, ugh” the old man was coughing incessantly all through the night. The cough syrups did not help. It was pathetic to see him struggling for the last one week.
His son went to his bed and gently rubbed his back to ease the pain.”Drink some warm water, appa (dad).It will give some relief” he said
“Raju, please do not send me away” said the old man and started coughing again holding his chest with his palms.
“Who told you?” asked Raju
“Sama. I am afraid to stay elsewhere and wish to be with you all till my last breath. I implore you, please do not send me away” he pleaded pathetically.
“Appa, Sama is having annual examination. This is crucial. Your constant coughing is disturbing his studies. Our flat is not big. Your condition is also not improving. Please understand that it is only for a short duration and for your benefit”
“I can shift to the rear balcony. It is covered and almost like a room. That way it may not disturb Sama.I cannot tolerate outside food. I am accustomed to your wife Vanaja’s food. Please Raju”
“You are adamant, appa.Vanaja is not able to manage the chores in the house and give the attention you need always. It is for short duration only. I will ensure they give you good food. Do you think I would want you away? But the examination, Vanaja’s poor health and your condition forces my hand. This arrangement is better for all. Please cooperate. We have decided after careful thought. I will be coming and meeting you frequently. Do not worry. Be ready to leave tomorrow by 7am.”
The thought of senior home with many sick in-mates and the indifferent attention he had heard about scared him. He was also worried that the frequent visits of Raju would taper off. He loved his grandson Sama very much and was unwilling to leave him.Vanaja is a nice person taking care of him as a daughter would do. He did not know what brought about the change in their minds. He was cursing his wretched cough. Could it be a mere excuse, he even wondered. He could not sleep the whole night.
As the vehicle entered the big building complex, a wheel chair appeared to take the old man. Everything was spic and span with shining granite floor. He wondered whether a senior home could be so opulent
“Raju, this does not look like a senior home. It is more like a hospital. Are we not supposed to go to senior home?”he asked
“Appa, how did you get the idea that you would be sent to senior home when I am there. Your cough is worsening and I am afraid you have infection in the lungs. The doctors here will take care of you. Vanaja or myself will get food from home. In a week I will take you home. Sama also can study without worrying about you. Your condition has affected him much. I did not tell you wantonly about hospital lest you refuse knowing your aversion to hospitals and the smell of disinfectant”
Overwhelmed with emotion and wiping his eyes, the old man said “Raju, forgive me for thinking you are putting me in an old age home. You are a gem indeed”


  1. Cant blame the poor man , when you look around and see what generally happens to old, aged parents.

  2. Something is better than nothing. :)

  3. The angst,The joy are beautifully captured in this roller coaster of a story. Loved it. Sonia

  4. The old man's apprehension Is natural. Raja is a good son different from today's son. Considerate and nice

  5. why this negativity with old age it a prejudice or because of its name...or its associated with uncaring children..why?
    People dont think practically..I cant understand how could such small things make a good son or bad son..isnt it being too will be all young people saying this because they havent so far cared about anyone that..ask hubby is a senior citizen himself, and looking after his our life is affected..and how long can we do it..because of her we cant go anywhere, if I was in her place, I would certainly prefer to live at some home or atleast for a month in a year...
    and its not that I dont care for her or anything, if it was like that she would havent been with me for last 40 years..In all my vast circle there is not a single person who has looked after inlaws so well for 40 dont get any notions of branding me..:)..I want to look at this with practical mind.

  6. In 30-40 years, I hope there will be 5-star/3-star rated senior homes with a lot of entertainment options. I will need one for myself. The question, however, is - will I save enough money to buy an accommodation there??? Hmm... :)

  7. Love the story n well written.. hv to plan my old age life..

  8. Nowadays, young couple are working and taking care of home. I might not be easy for them to take care of their in laws full time. This son is an exception. It has become common now to stay at the old age home which are very good, nowadays.

  9. It's a controversial subject attracting subjective replies from your readers, as indeed seen in the comments above. All for reasons rising from personal or individual or familial needs and preferences. Not an easy subject or issue to decide on.

    Have a great day, KP. Blessings!

  10. He should have done it in the beginning stage itself.So then Sama would have obtained more confidence from the grandpa.Nice story as usual.

  11. Thank god!!! I was worried that the old gentleman was being packed off to an old age home much against his wishes!!! As usual you have brought about that unexpected twist in the tale.

  12. Well portrayed the pain and worry of the old people, this is something all of us too will worry about one day. what a nice end to the tale and a positive note too.

  13. Extremely thought-provoking post!
    The relationship between parents and their children becomes more complex when the parents grow old and are dependent on their children for moral support and, in some cases, for financial support as well.
    Like most things in life, there is no single formula that works for everybody. One only has to hope that every person will care for his/her parents and parents-in-law in a compassionate manner, subject to their practical constraints.
    There are cases of elderly people living in old age homes being cared for by their children. Likewise, there are cases of elderly people living in their own or their children's houses being neglected or ill-treated by their children.
    You may like to read my today's post Matrudevo bhava (Mother is God) on a similar subject.