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Care

(Written on 13th Jan, 2015)

For the past few weeks or so, I've had to frequent eye clinics on account of a close relative. I've been witness to a number of heart-warming scenes of younger people taking care of their elderly relatives, which happily contrasted with the less cheerful news of the neglect of senior citizens (which one often comes across nowadays).

Like the one I read this morning, about a lady in Mumbai who had passed away - abandoned by her family. But the silver lining is that, even in that case (if one were to go by the news reports) a neighbor, who runs a small business nearby, found her ailing and was by her side till the end. Perhaps there's something in what they say about the 'universe' sending its angels to those who are altogether forsaken.  

Anyway, returning to merrier thoughts... there was this man of mid-20s, who was accompanying his elderly father. I thought the latter was his grandfather, but apparently that wasn't the case. This young man had a yellow, polka-dotted bandana tied around his head, leather gloves on his hands (cut to the knuckles), and a single earring. He was wearing well-worn (or, should I say, fashionably worn) jeans jacket and trousers. Since shoes weren't allowed inside the clinic, he was bare-feet. The father, far more conservative in attire, was wearing socks. The tiled, shiny floor was somewhat cold.

The son's jeans were so long, they were folded under his feet and still trailing behind by nearly an inch! Not being sartorially updated, I wondered if this was the latest fashion trend. I was also apprehensive that he might suddenly trip over. Eventually, I learned that this was his trick to keep the feet warm! But he was more worried about his father's feet, and kept on insisting that he (the father) rest his feet on the back of the chair in front - lest he catches a cold. This went on until the father, exasperated, told him to shut up :)

There was a stream of sons, daughters, adult grandchildren, nieces and nephews entering and leaving the clinic, accompanying their elderly dear ones. I couldn't help but wonder, how tenderly they held on to their senior wards, often under protestation from those who imagined they didn't need that support. Whenever the elderly had to climb the staircase, or there was a bump in the path, there were strict instructions - 'Watch that bump!', 'Here, hold my hand', 'Ooof, what's the hurry, walk slowly'... so on and so forth.

There was a particularly senior lady, perhaps in her 90s, being accompanied by a man nearing 60. She appeared a bit confused, and had poor eye-sight. I think he was her son. He carefully sat her in a chair, and requested her to temporarily hold the small bag he was carrying. It was a bit chilly inside the clinic. He then proceeded to pull a shawl out of that bag, unfolded it, and with the utmost tenderness - wrapped it around his mother.

There was this girl in her late 20s, or at best early 30s, who was gently admonishing (what appeared to be) her aunt. The latter was valiantly trying to wear her shoes, but failing due to a difficult to negotiate strap. 'Will you please let me do it now?', sternly said the niece :) and bent down to carefully adjust the shoes.

I came away from the clinic, enthused about the warmth that still exudes from this beautiful, blue planet. 

 

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