Sunday, July 29, 2007

Appa..Amma...


Appa…Amma.. Small words that doesn’t give justification to enormousness it means..
In my stay abroad I see lot of old people...(the big worry in developed countries about an ageing population)..I am seeing 80-90 year old folks traveling by bus all alone...seemingly very independent and happy.. Unfortunately for many of them their best companions are the walker’s which they use or the dog which helps them cross roads…I met this Indian settled in Germany who was apparently talking about his own children. He was telling me about his son who offered that he could be put in a old age home if he wants...Gracious way of saying “Thanks for all the help papa dude..Time for you to move out”…These images reminded of my own parents..

For that matter am not a kind of son who would come home each day and say “woohooh Dad... high fives”…or hug Mom daily and tell her that she is the sweetest mom in the world…I mean I just don’t know how to say that…maybe am a bit old fashioned here ..or maybe when the did the wiring for my brain they forgot to install that “show emotion.exe ” file.. But I do understand there is something wrong when you are keeping your own parents in an old age home...

These days I call home once a week. They talk about my future...Settling down and stuff. They seem to be in a hurry to see me settled down. I was surprised to hear them talking like that when I went home last time... You know the sad part of seeing parents once in a while...They seem to age every next time. I know that they are getting old. But it becomes so evident every next time…The thinning hairline and diabetes doesn’t lie. I never felt that they were ageing when I stayed along with them. But when I see old photos it remind me of the hard truth..


These days although the calls are generally over after a talk on what I made for dinner... How my work is going on...I end up with a lump on my throat sometimes...coz the calls always ends up with a question “When am I coming back”
My parents are now staying alone. They still work. But there was always my bro or myself at home. But now I can feel the loneliness every time I call home...

Weird that the first time I went to stay in a hostel they were worried how I gonna cope up stayin away from home. It seems like the tables have changed. Am worried how they are going to face life post retirement… I understand how badly Amma want to keep in touch with me when she got herself into orkut…I couldn’t imagine Amma hold a mouse properly a few years back…

I pray that I don’t end up like many folks I see now. Where parents end up thousand miles away in a flickering webcam looking at their son for whom they sacrificed the best days of their life...

Silverine has come up with a beautiful post on how fragile life is all about...

P.S picture courtesy http://blog.freetimegears.com.tw/patrick/archives/2005_03.html

41 comments:

silverine said...

That was so touching :(

I can feel your helplessness, it can be so frustrating. I wish I could stop time from ticking. I hear the same from so many of my colleagues.The struggle to come to terms with the fact that what you took for granted was not a given. Beautiful post. I was really senti writing that post, now I am going boo hoo after reading yours.

:)

Di said...

U mirror my thoughts here...I worry about my parents all the time. Even when i live with them right now. I can imagine how heart-wrenching it could be wen ur away. :(

Alexis said...

Nice post. Beautifully written.

Where parents end up thousand miles away in a flickering webcam looking at their son for whom they sacrificed the best days of their life... Very true... and yes let us hope that no parent has to go through such experience...

~==[[[ Abhi ]]]==~ said...

I really could identify the lines with my life when you told about the SHOW EMOTION.exe! I've lived all my life with my parents and will be moving out for work in a month or two. Don't know what's waiting for me! I chose for this job over one which will be letting me live in my hometown. Dad was happy with it, but there was a sadness in mom's eyes when i told that i've decided to take the job in another town just coz i'll be in a better company.

Anywys i liked th post and i am sure ur parents will be happy to know that someone so far away still cares so much!

gasmutai said...

Cheku..
u've taken me from one end to the other, of the "emotional" spectrum ... whr u had me ROTFL with the one on the 7 wonders, you have me blinking away the moistness with this one. Isnt it true to say, u realize the value od someone when they are no longer near u?

Princess Banter said...

My parents are very much like yours. They have sacrificed so much for us, their children, as they want to give us futures they never had a chance of having. My parents sent us all overseas, which I think is the most selfless act ever, because in my culture, kids are reared to take care of their aging parents. By sending us all overseas, my parents know that they are depriving themselves of this care from their children -- because they know that the chances of us coming back home are slim. Besides, the whole idea of sending us overseas is for us to find better futures overseas. Coming back home would be something they would want us to do... but nonetheless have given up on. Thus, going home for holiday is given a new meaning to us. If we're lucky, we get to be under the same roof once a year.

Anonymous said...

very well written... all the .exes are in place allright.

~*. D E E P A .* ~ said...

Am asking u too ... when r u coming back ? *wink*

The .exes are similar to mine !

mathew said...

@Anjali
your equally blamed for that..but it is always good to have such reminders..in the mad rush we forget many things..

@di
yeah..it is more a guilt that am goin through..get the best of times when you are with your parents..

@Alexis
yeah..but it is the sad truth we see now..the quest for money does come at a cost..

@Abhi
Man all mom's are like that..and it is not that your dad is happy to see u off..he might be equally missing you..it is just that he maynot express it..

@Aravind
exactly..you said it..
btw the post reflect my emotional condition..I was feeling weird after hearing stories from folks out here..

@Princess banter
Thus, going home for holiday is given a new meaning to us.

so true...It is not just another holiday like before..but i hopefully should be back soon..I have made up my mind not to settle down abroad come whatever may...

@anon
yeah..it though doesnt run at times..;-P

@Deepz
nice to see u back bud..you forget writing love in between writing all those codes..eh..

Rupa said...

Something every one of us have to live with!-May be the curse of this generation -who got the blessing to get immersed in the depth of their unconditional love and then live with the guilt of not expressing the love when we had time and the helplessness of not having the time when we really want to express the love.
Well written!

rebel said...

Oh I know how bad you must be feeling..

And suddenly you realise that you have to take care of them instead of them taking care of you.. It feels so bad...

Really senti post!

emmanuel said...

the same feelings and thoughts here......my view was blurred as i reached the end of the post......well written.... :)

priya said...

Well written and that scarifice and time they wait for their children to comeback or see it both pain and happiness to them.

Kiran a.k.a KiKS said...

Very good post, chaetta... :)

Reminded me about the very day I left for Chennai... It was on that day, I saw tears in my Dad's eyes for the very first time...

Still searching said...

Shit, your post brought tears to my eyes... My parents are also alone, away.. and I think about it very often, on how kids like me leave our parents miles away to pursue our own lives.. and not that we don't care for them or talk to them or love them, but we're not there for them in the times when they need us the most.. and I feel very guilty about it sometimes... The worst is that parents would love for their kids to build their own lives and pursue their dreams, which makes the situation worse!

Your post is one after my heart.. I wanted to write about this for a long time, and am glad you expressed it for me!

Zee said...

i'd commented on this post!!! where's it gone?? :(

Nanditha Prabhu said...

I feeling a lump in my throat too, rt now!
I have always thought about this...and i see you have penned it so well!
i tried to pen down similar thought in one of my previous posts!
youngsters coming up with such attitudes is a sure positive sign.

Mishmash ! said...

Mathew ,
Were you thinking aloud for many like me?? and what you wrote in you conclusion passage is so true in my case...webcam! this show-emotion syndrom was quite predominant in my case too until I left home for work and started realising the hard truths about TIME !I started hugging them when they used to come to see me off...I felt good.....now sitting miles away , i talk to them on alternate days thru voice chat....they re happy and relieved......this post retirement phase, make your parents take up something which they like, in my father's case, he continues his teaching profession with a part time assignment...keeps him active...those soap serials keeps my mom "alive" ....my brother calls them every night....doing the best we can from the situation we re in....

And if you think those old people you see in the western world are seemingly happy and independent, you re right , coz thats what they want, here they want the kids to be out of home before they go to college..., if not they call them "moochers"....and then thats the time they pursue their passions....so that makes them happy....but HELL NO to old age homes...I dont think it should be part of any culture ...

Am sure your parents 'e eyes would have welled up, if they read this post...as sure they did if your mom is in orkut and you have linked your blog in your profile page ! Trust me, your parents KNOWS how much they mean to you....and they re happy....

Btw, of all the channels, why orkut for mom to be in touch with you? :) if she is techie enough for orkut, she is quite geared up for any voice-messenger service too :) so increase the frequency of your calls...talk to them more....Live in the moment!

if you see them talking to you about settling down, in another two years you will see them talking about their grandkids too :))) Trust me, this comes from my experience :))))

Mathew, we re all good kids....our generation is much more responsible than it is perceived to be. Our parents will never suffer!

Shn
P.S One more thing, all these parents need their privacy too like Mr & Mrs Rao of Silveline ! :)My parents are another example.....and my Grandma-in -law whom i mention in my kuttanadan posts, she is the most modern of all, though a widow, she likes to stay at her own place, not with any of her kids, she does not even let a maid give her company at nights !!!! Strange isn't it ? :)

Mishmash ! said...

Hey, sorry my comment is lengthier than your original post :P sorry for taking all that space :)

Btw, i did manage to get a bottle of Kirsch from the local store, not a german brand though...thats ok :) Thanks for sharing that link :)

Shn

Keshi said...

touching post Matty!

Having my mum close to me was avery imp thing in my life. When I was away from Studying, I missed her like crazy. Now that she's with me, I feel the happiest.

Keshi.

n said...

beautiful .......as usual ..:))

N said...

hi mathew, thanks a ton for your visit and comment :)

loved this post. though it left me feeling a lil mushy :) nice blog here..

mathew said...

@Rupa
Exactly...sad irony of it..

@Rebel
it was not a sudden realisation..it has been pestering me for sometime..but feels a lot better after a call home.. :-)

@Emmanuel
yeah..I believe we all think the same here..thanks..

@Priya
yeah…its kind of a catch 22 situation…thanks..

@Kiran
well..i think over the time it mellows down…But the point is we should forget that in the long run…

@Still searching
fully empathise with you. I was struck with a similar guilt and some images just prompted me to post this..neways I just hope that I don’t see them end up bored and lonely..

@Zee
ah..seems that blogger messed up..it is happening for the second time..
Anyone working in google kindly look into this issue and resolve it!! ;-P

Strange that I don’t even get a mail notification for the comment..

mathew said...

@Nanditha
yeah..am glad that you reminded me am still a youngster!! ;-P
But on a serious note I have seen many parents end up alone at a big house.. they have all the comforts but miss what matters all…


@Mishmash!!
Thanks a lot for the long comment..Was so happy reading this..It is nice to hear from some one facing the same situation..
Well the point is I call home twice a week…But what surprises me is Amma thinks she is try-ing out all possible means to keep in touch…and she aint anywhere techie enough and even doesn’t know anythin beyond putting a scrap..that too takes longer than making a biriyani.. ;-P

Well maybe am worried coz they wouldn’t even tell me if they miss or want something..Each person differs from the other..some like to stay independent..others like to be constantly cared and looked after..Am just anxious out here..

Thanks for the comment..it cleared a lot of things…

@Keshi
I know how much you love your mom..it is so obvious from your blogs..enjoy the times..

@N
Thanks for dropping by here..

ToOothlEss WOndeR! said...

Dude, if you find that show emotion.exe file, can you put it on rapidshare?
no, seriously.. I'm the same. no frills. And so are my parents. We're used to staying apart, and we dont send each other cards or anything. but there's so much of love nevertheless.
great post!

wanderlust said...

hey mathew, beautiful post. don't know why people keep saying today's youth has no feelings, i know for a fact they have their hearts in the right place, much more than their older generation.
but, that is the grim reality. my parents are all alone in a village in kuttanad. they can't imagine living anywhere else and they are practical enough to realize that it is not fair to expect any of their children to settle with them. they know it'll be like others who stayed on there till their health permitted and then moved on to wherever their kids were.
as for me, i've already made up my mind to move to an old age home when I am 60-65 :-)my kids and grandkids can visit me there. but then i know it is easy to say so now, when the time comes....

usha said...

beautiful post!
um struggling hard 2 swallow dat lump in my throat too.. n planning 2 prepone d post-dinner-phonecall hom! lemme reach for d phone..

mathew said...

@toothless wonder
yeah..I think the point is not being emotional.it not being expressive!!!

@wanderlust
check out the comment from mishmash..explains a lot of things..well it good thing volunteering to get yourself in a old age home..but like you said perceptions change with time!!

@Usha
Thanks for dropping by here..
Well feels great to hear someone preponing a call after reading this..I take it as a nice complement..

Mayth!! said...

That was a lovely post. Straight from the heart. Its difficult to get a word or two from our parent's mouths on the topic of insecurity or solitude. They just dont want to let us know how lonely they feel when we're miles away. I guess it'll really hurt when time plays its role well, and we consume the role a of parent. I just remind myslef what goes round, comes round.
That was a lovely post, really. :)

Venkatesh A.R. said...

yes chekku.. rite u r..
parents always take up the responsibilities from us and treat us a young kids, even if we have one for ourselves..!! and that's y they never reveal their insecure feelings to us.. but it's we who need to, say, by this age, understand this and slowly take up responsibilities.. once we do that, they feel a lot secure..
it's true for u to feel all these, now that ur far from home.. i am not sure how long i'd be able to njoy my piece of cake being in trivandrum with appa and amma!! :-)

Nariyal Chutney said...

:( . So touching mathew and seems I have missed this post and after reading it I am missing my oarenst even more . Just blogged about how our generation treat old people. Think showemotion.exe is there inside each one of us but compilation happens only some times :).

Amooma said...

touching post.
do you wish u were back home? or are u helpless?

mathew said...

@Mayth
what goes round, comes round.
...yeah exactly..I think our life is a merry go around...

@Venky..
You are very lucky in that sense..Sad that we dont get best of both the worlds..

@NC
yeah..read that one..was quite pathetic how folks can go down..

@Amooma
Am thinking of the long run..Am currently away temporarily..What I dont want to settle down in a place far from home..far away from parents..

Anonymous said...

but, dude who is stoping you to come back to India. i did it, i came back to bangalore, as such, i meet them regulary during weekends. the joy of seeing them makes up for the monetary loss that i gave up for taking up a job in Bangalore.

Come back, u had you life. its time to make them feel proud and wanted. it time for our parents to enjoy the fruit of their hard work (read bringing us up) by enjoying the bliss of oldage in the company of their childrens

Come back man, come back plus India is no longer the laid back country that it was once. today you have more opp. in India than in the USA. but, i dont know why mallus got a very bad habit of taking pride in saying i am working abroad.

even though his abroad work may be that of a data entry type

Nikita..... said...

beautiful :) couldnot have been written and described in a better way...!

I have gone through the feeling of staying away from home and strangely Iam aspiring to go out of home once again for studies :(

its really strange how we choose this path knowing all the hardship and gloomy days that lie ahead..Its just the perfect catch 22 thing here... !!

very well written..kudos to you :)

Radhika Ganesan said...

beautifully put ... i can't agree with you more .. i guess i have lump in my throat now .. i had been thinking of writing a post on the same topic for so many days !

maggi said...

OMG...this was truly touching!Everything so aptly placed and expressed. I was choked while reading this. Even i have experienced the mouse episode... even i cud not belive tht my mom wud be able to use mouse so efficiently. Now she never misses her turn to play 'Solitare' whenver she finds laptop unoccupied :). It feels immensely gr8!

Yes even i could feel lonliness in my parents voices few days back (coz now we all stay together :))...Lucky ME!

Kudos for the post :)

Make the Impossible...Possible said...

I was going through couple of posts in your blog..and this is too much to handle for me..."really touching lines".Sitting here with tear filled eyes....I’ve been to US 4 times and each time I feel really hurt and eyes filled after talking to hubby, amma and acchan…Even though I know that my stay is short term, it hurts a lot when I’m away from loved ones… “ I end up with a lump on my throat sometimes...coz the calls always ends up with a question “When am I coming back” …”rightly said”. Sumy

My Dreams said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
My Dreams said...

Hi...
great...everyday i am also thinking bot the same matter..my mom is waiting for my calls...but i can't do anything...or i don't knw what i will do for them..

rums said...

Wonderfully written. Though i think it is harder for girls who gt married and are forced to stay away from their parents,wont you say? like in my case,where i grew up and stayed with my parents till i was 21 yrs old,never stayed in ahostel or worked away from home..but got married as soon as i finished college and have been very far away since,ocean's apart from my parents .there's not a day i miss them..and everyday i know i will never be able to be with them in the same house except for the 10 days of India visit..(sigh!!)now that is helpless..at least you have a choice.

oh and you may not remember me,we used to study in the same college(in mechancial).keep writing,you are really good at it.