“Say cheese…say bread butter cheese”,smiled a lady around 65 years with her half broken teeth and soft laughs when I was taking a selfie while coming back from the old-age home.
Some experiences in life leave a mark deep inside heart which memory fails to erase even after years. One of those was our visit to the old-age home.
It was supposed to be a surprise for me, as my friends planned my birthday party in old-age home, as I always hated the idea of spending a lot of money on youth birthday parties.But I am very good at spoiling my friends’ surprises which they plan for me. And I somehow got to know it before.But it is for them, I pretended as if I know nothing.
I had no expectations, I was ready for every swing of my experience.
When the evening sky started turning golden red and birds signing off for the day, we walked into the old-age home which is at the verge of the huge city of Bangalore.
The place was filled with deep silence. The only thing I can hear was, birds of rainbow colors chirping out of joy in one corner of the home. After a few seconds a light voice of prayer broke the silence with a divine grace of gratitude.After the prayer, all the woman sat up for an evening chat.It is then, we offered them the snacks which we bought. And then it started with exchanging the smiles and went to sharing the personal stories.
My eyes could see grey hair, wrinkled skin, weak bones,slim smile and broken teeth .
BUT, My heart could see unanswered love, untold stories, unfulfilled wish, scars deep inside and lost hope.
Inspite of the beautiful interiors which are hand made by them and the perfect evening with an aura of bliss all around, their hearts are filled with distress.
“Thank you and may you have a life of love”, blessed, one of those woman placing her soft wrinkled hand in mine. My heart wept with joy of her love. With a queered voice of doubt “how are you ma?”, I asked. And then she started, she said all the things she does from morning to evening, her friends, the things which she love and the food she like the most, and the list went on. I just sat there listening to her low voice filled with love and pain. “She just needs someone to listen to her and thats it, thats all she needs, cant her children do that? she fought with life to raise their kids and this is what she gets in return,” I said to myself gulping back the thin layer of tear in my eyes.
“Can I get another glass of juice, I love it”. A woman with a short hair and a broad smile talked.”I am a fun person and I like humour, what comedy shows you watch in TV?” she asked me before I can come out from the surprise of her strength and enthusiasm.
“I watch a lot of them,” I answered.” but, I am better than all of them,” she bursts out with laughter and sings a hymn which made all of us awestruck with her level of energy .
“Say bread butter cheese!”…she exclaimed when we were clicking a photo.
“I have a son, and two daughters who stay far from here,” said another woman with her eyes blinking twice.”I dont really know what they work,but they have a very nice house and I love my grand children, but my son left me because I have Bell’s Palsy which is a neurological disorder which makes my mouth go cross whenever I speak.” wiping her tears, ” but I am his mother right?” she said keeping her hand on my shoulder. I couldn’t speak a word. My heart shrunk. Cheering her up for a selfie is what I could do.
“when I was young I used to work in an old age home,” a woman with deep eyes and a dark completion said. “But now my muscles became old and they sent me to this old-age home” she chuckles with a memory of her youth. “But even here I take care of everyone. All are my friends and we are a family here and I love my family”, she said.” I was alone and I fought for life, I learnt a lot of things and I still love learning new things”, she said with her eyes bright with spark.
“There is a girl”, she continued,” with mental and physical illness who is around 27 years old we all take care of her. Her parents left her here when she was very young. She is our child and we take care of each and everything of hers”, she said introducing the girl to us.With the heart of innocence she waved her hand as a sigh of greeting for the snacks we gave for them that evening.We all stood speechless for the amount of love and care they showed to each other.
After an hour we just thought of cheering them up by some songs and dances . With our broken voices we managed to bring a smile on their faces.
No sooner we finished to sing a woman with a fair completion and eyes filled with grace came to one of my friend and asked “can I sing?”.
“yes of course, “she exclaimed. Wisdom makes people more humble. I saw a live example just then.
And then she started singing with the bliss in heart and with the voice of her unique sweetness she sang which made everyone around clap their hands in joy. “It is in our second innings we have to sing it to the most” she says,” but my…”she keeps quite.
Inspite of everything they celebrate their differences. They live till they die.They laugh for not to cry. They pray for their family even though they abandon them. They share and care.
Each one of them has
a story which is waiting to be heard,
wisdom that worth millions,
pain that grows every day,
smile that never shades inspite of all these,
ALL THEY NEED AND WISH FOR IS SOME LOVE AND CARE…
Cant we give this to our parents? if No…what is our life for?
All the kids of this millennial era should know the pain of the people in homes like this ,and if we can recognize at least one percent of the human deep inside us, old age homes like this doesn’t exist in the future.
.A ton thanks and love to my friends who made my birthday celebrate here, among the people who can love the best.
And I still dont understand, how can anyone leave this love?