Ever since Vikram left for the US things have changed. He had promised he would return after completing his MBA. But then who returns? The opportunities out there are stupendous and galore. It stands out, living in the number one country of the world. Moreover, India couldn’t accommodate his dreams and aspirations so he had to be in the US. After MBA he was forced to take up a job, to repay the big loan that he had once taken for his studies. And by the time he finished paying it up. He was too well entrenched in the system, to return.
I had seen this happening to others in my corporate circle. When their children went abroad for higher studies and didn’t return. But I could never visualize, one day it’ll even happen to us. With children not around life becomes one long monotonous tunnel of darkness for the parents, when they gradually start aging.
All those peppy expressions, like qualification, opportunity, career, job, profession, aspiration, passion and many more, that I once rejoiced and cheered about, are now scary words for me. In fact they have come to haunt me at the twilight of my life. And, it’s only because of those promising words that he left. Perhaps, I too had left because of them when I was young. So, the circle is now complete, about which I shouldn’t be complaining.
The four bedroom apartment that I had bought some time ago. Thinking, it will be occupied by we four and the grandchildren—the happy family, is now quiet and vacant. It is rather too big, for the two of us. I had built some other assets too, for my child, to secure him. But I guess it’ll only have to languish now. So, I live with my assets and he lives with his career.
Thanks to the Americans. Through their inventions we can at least stay connected on a daily basis with Vikram, Smita and the kids—so a big Jai ho to whatsapp, facebook and the rest. A lot is left behind. Social media now drives our lives. The other day I read a quote of Albert Schweitzer, French-German Theologian that describes our lives so very well. “We are all so much together, but we are dying of loneliness.”
Since our housing society is new. From the very word go I have cultivated a warm friendship with our neighbours. They too happen to be our age and sail in the same boat as we do, with a son and a daughter. Son is in Bengaluru and the daughter in Mumbai. I find similar exhaustive expressions on their faces too. Perhaps, the realities of a harsh life are the same for everyone.
Off late. I have started taking good care of my spouse. As she is the only one now, available for my immediate beck and call, just as I am for her. She still feels, a day will come when we all, will be together. Where, I don’t want to ruffle her. Or maybe she’s putting up such conversations just to cheer me up. Small problems appear big now. These days, God has become my frequent pastime. I visit him quite regularly. Say every morning evening and at times, even during the day. For, who knows when I’ll need him? And all the gadgets at home that help us in our day-to-day appear divine.
I’m now very particular about my fitness and even happier to see that she too, has joined the health regimen. We go for long morning walks every day. A sure shot way to feel young, fit and even positive. For, I’m convinced nothing will change. The life situation handed out to us has come to stay. So there is no point in telling yourself, one day we all will be together. In fact we are together by living apart. So accept this as your life and be happy.
I now have a good routine. I have started socializing as much as I can to ward off any negativity. I have made known to my well-wishers about my anxieties in case of any untoward. I don’t go to office anymore but I’ve not retired either. I can’t. Because, there are challenges at hand, always. They could be day-to-day, health and even emotional. My hobby is now flourishing. Life is a journey where I’m not lowering my guard. But I don’t know what’ll be the scenario when one of us will be left alone.
The epidemic of loneliness is striking almost every household. I learnt about it more intimately after speaking to many old couples who don’t stay with their children. Most parents are left alone in their lives to fend for themselves. Where, children cannot be blamed either when the world has become their oyster.
So, look after yourself and don’t just depend on your children alone. As they have their own pressures of life to handle.
By Kamlesh Tripathi
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