Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Old and The Young.

Young.......

“The wisdom in an old head is worth all the treasures of the world. And to say that life ends after retirement is to commit a travesty of facts. Doing good to others is for merit and causing pain to others is a sin”

In today’s world, there is a general feeling that old people are burden on Society; they are mistreated by those in positions of trust, power or those who are otherwise responsible for their well being.

Of various stages of human life, old age is the last stage of human life where they become emotionally and physically weak. The modern society is built by the young for the young and in the race of money, comforts and luxury they neglect the old.

An old woman seen begging on the stairs of BNB building
 It’s not uncommon now to see old people abandoned from their home. Youngsters have little tolerance. They shout at their old parents. In some cases they torture them both physically and mentally. The old doesn't have energy to fight back and what they possibly do is just bow their head down and serve their own children as a slave only waiting for their last breath. And many of these disheartened souls often land up begging others for food or money in front of Banks, along the street and in the bus terminus.

An old man begging one of the shop keepers.
Today, the difference between old and young is substantial. Young are better educated so they do not blindly accept the ideals of their elders. Youngsters today have lots of money to spend and enjoy their life at the fullest. And it is often the elders taking all the suffering and humiliations. In addition to it, the old age itself brings more ailments which only make their lives more miserable.

Along Norzin Lam
Interestingly, the old always assume that they know best for the simple reason that they have been here a bit longer.  They don’t like their values being questioned and threatened and this is precisely what young are doing.

The old consider ‘family’ as a good environment motivating them to live happily. They enjoy having meals together and play with their grand children.
 

The Old 
doesn't have the physical ability of a young person. And this aspect of their life keeps bothering me. I have seen them struggling everywhere; on the street across the town, toasted inside our crowded city bus and on the staircase of our Banks.

Crossing a busy road is just one problem they encounter, getting into a bus is another and they trying to get a seat inside the crowded city bus simply make me feel uncomfortable.
The old and weak

Travelling by the city Bus has always been a thought provoking experience for me. I have seen the old and the weak barely able to stand on their feet. Yesterday, as I was walking back home I saw a bus conductor lashing an old man to wait for the next bus because his bus was jam pack.

On the other day, I saw an old woman being dragged by few police officers and the woman was crying profusely. I wonder what could be the reason.
An old man and his Radio
I have always seen an old man wandering on the street of Thimphu with his radio blazing Bhutanese songs.

In one of the corners of our Bus Terminus lives an elderly man with his thin mattress to sleep on, a blanket to cover him during cold winter nights, a pair of Chinese shoes to help keep his legs warm, a Gho and a woolen hat to wear.

In reality, the mere presences of old parents indeed make us feel secure. They deserve our care and love and most importantly they deserve the due respect. Their dignity must also be maintained at all cost. They have a tolerant approach in whatever they intend to do for their family because of their affectionate nature. And this “Tolerant Approach” should not be misinterpreted in anyways as their weakness.

Pondering over the incident of the bus conductor lashing on the old man, I felt in the core of my heart to thank him. Why? If the old man did get on he would have to stand and that would be certainly not good for his old bones. And you know, people rarely give their seat to let any old man sit. Our youth have no time for the old and sadly the old doesn't have much time either.


 Sketches, Photos and Article contributed by Tara Dulal Bhandari


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