I was talking to my mother the other day about ungrateful Indian grown up children who leave their aged parents in a lurch and my mom told me a yesteryear story which she had seen as a lass.
My mom’s granduncle and grandaunt were childless and when they grew old, they had no place to go so my grandmother took them under her wing – my grandpa was henpecked. My grandma was a calculative woman; she never particularly treated the old couple well. They received a monthly welfare money of 30 ringgit and they used it to buy whatever they needed. They lived a wretched, deprived life and when they died, they were cremated as orphans. They have no generation to give them progenitor worship – their posterity ended with them.
There was another woman who went from house to house in the estate at meal times for alms. She never married and was of course childless and hapless. From haplessness, she was overcome by helplessness when a bout of illness rendered her non ambulatory . She’d drag herself on the road and beg for alms to sustain herself. One day, she died and was cremated by the estate residents.
Indian children – once grown up, forget their parents
Well, the people I mentioned above were childless thus suffered such a fate but many aged Indian parents here suffer almost like them because their Indian children don’t bother to look after their parents after they can use the wings THEIR PARENTS GAVE THEM.
My mother never praised me for my academic achievements. As a kid and a teen I always had this complex of my mom not recognizing my accomplishments. She brought me up old school – yenna adi! And then, she abruptly halted beating me after PMR and I wondered why she also stopped checking my homework and hitting me over the mistakes. Now, I realized that it was not that she didn’t want to laud me; she did not know how to because her mother never praised her on any job well done. And, by ceasing to punish me physically, she implied that I have gained her trust and confidence – she no longer saw the need to keep me on track. She understood that I have recognized the right track and believed that I won’t derail.
Our parents may have thrashed and chastised us, Indian children but they do it for our own good. They fear that we might choose the wrong paths and self destruct, ergo this methodology. Whether the ways parents apply to keep us in line are appropriate is second. Your parents don’t like beating and scolding you. When you were a baby, surely your parents would kiss you and hold you and bask in your buttermilk, powdery baby smell. When you grow up, all that become awkward. We are Yindians. We have maanam, rosham issues. But, that doesn’t mean your parents don’t love you – they just don’t show it in the form of open affection. If there is anyone in this world who would like you to live well, it’s your parents.
I hate it when some Indian children call their parents ‘kelevi’ and ‘keleven’ or simply old lady and old man. To those twits, I want to ask do you have the fountain of eternal youth? Won’t you grow old? Why do you think your parents grew old and weary? It is because they have toiled to bring you up. Why do you think your mother’s breasts got pendulous? They became like that because she fed you. Why do you think your father’s shoulders are slouched? It’s because he carried the burden of you for 20 odd years. Also, we get lofty when we get educated. I have heard Indian children who studied using the sweat and blood of their parents go,”Unggalekku enna teriyum? Vaaye mooditu pesame irunggeh.” Indeed. The folks didn’t know that such a scum will be born as their child. Even though by some power they come to know that their child would spew such poisonous words at them once it grows up, they would still shower love on the child. Every mother grieve everyday thinking of her baby that died in a miscarriage. Such is the heart of a mother.
When you were a baby, you will be shitting around and your mother would clean the mess you made. When the same mother grow aged and incontinent, you cringe to put adult’s diapers on her. You use your dad’s lifetime deposit to have a grand wedding and then not look back at him once his resources dry up and he becomes useless for you. This even happened in my family; when my father retired and became penniless, my elder siblings disrespected him. His favourite child, my 2nd elder sister used to call him a bloody bastard and she even called my dad so when he was lying in his coffin. I got so livid, I almost gave my kurang ajar, dastardly elder sister a tight slap.
Our parents sacrifice so much for us. So many events where they go hungry but ensure us well fed. And, what some of us, Indian children, do in return for their sacrifices? We place them in old folks home and forget their existence. Karma will bite you in the heart – my 2nd sister’s only daughter is now giving her mother heartache by being rebellious.
Actually, Indian children’s folks are to blame – they trust their children too much and expect them to look after them after they have aged. I hate to break it to you but your expectations are idealistic. Every parent is bound to get into empty nest syndrome and it is advisable for the parent to prepare himself/herself to be self sustainable because even the most loving child is bound to change otherwise as other relations like wife, husband, in-laws and kids assume priority. Maatram than maarathathu. Then, you will become a burden for your child and no self respecting individual will like that.
It is indeed true that one mom can look after 10 kids but 10 kids can’t look after their only mother. Parents of adult Indian children will be balled here and there and fights crop up on over who should take care of their parents. This is the point where the aged parents are sent to old folks home and forgotten.
In order to avoid being a burden and live a dignified later years, the parents of adult Indian children should be selfish. Don’t give your EPF money and your lifetime savings to your children wholesale – keep some for yourself. You have given your kids enough by equipping them with all they need to sustain themselves. THAT IS MORE THAN ENOUGH.
Let your children build their own, separate lives and visit each other once in a while. Distance makes the heart grow fonder.
I watched my dad fall from grace and since I was still in school at the time of his retirement and death, I couldn’t do much for him and this guilt will always nag till I breathe my last. He gave all his kids all they needed and more but two of my elder siblings who are female (I am mentioning gender because there is a perception that female children are more likely to take care of their aged parents than male children) always say,”Apdi yenna perusa senjitaru?” He gave them a headstart and fortified a pedestal in the form of education. Isn’t that enough? How can my sisters blame my father for their apathy and laziness to study? My dad had done his part – his children neglected their part. <Reality Check> This post is dedicated to siapa makan cili, dia rasa pedas.