Monday, 14 April 2008

The Empty Nest.


It is my Sunday ritual to call up my parents back home in India. I can clearly hear the joy in their voice and know how eagerly they are waiting for my call. Its been nearly a decade since my parents have been staying alone, since all three of us (my 2 sisters and me) have been married and moved away from our hometown. In the beginning it was for studies and then better job prospects that we had to leave our Family home.

There is a whole new breed of such parents in today's India. They are living on their own and their children have either settled abroad or are working in another city. After the advent of globalisation as new and better opportunities both in terms of education and work came forth , the already nuclear family broke into even smaller parts , with the parents left alone and the children moving out.

Most of the times it is the parents who encourage the children to take benefit of the opportunities at hand. At that time usually, parents are still working and have a busy life. Its easier for them to cope with the absence of children.

After retirement they have plenty of leisure time but where are the children and grandchildren with whom they had dreamt of spending their old age. Even though parents are extremely proud of the achievements of children but deep inside a throb of pain lingers . They miss the company of their loved ones. The only thing left with them are old memories . They try their best to fill the void by sticking to routine and developing new hobbies. Basically the empty nest syndrome starts afflicting most of them.

The much awaited scheduled phone call is mostly for assuring themselves that their children are safe and happy. Parents do not want to burden them with any troubles as the children are far away and will worry about them.

Also going and staying with their children forever is a choice which most parents are not in favor of. Uprooting from a city in which they have their own circle of friends , their home and familiar surroundings and staying in a city/country where they are constantly dependent on their children is discomforting. Also the children are caught up in their own lives.

Much has been said and written about how parents feel but the children also feel helpless that they are not able to do anything about it.The demands and responsibilities have to be taken care of. And once they start their own families the pressure still increases. They are very much aware of how their parents are faring. The desire to be the support for parents in their old age is quite high. To share their successes and failures with parents and not inform them over the telephone is what they too desire.

Of course there is a different variety of parents as well as children who abandon their loved ones for their own comfort. The evils of this category is too long to be included here.

Ultimately it boils down to the fact that parents have given up a lot of their time and energy in raising us. They have showered us with love and caring. They have kept their needs aside for our wants. It now becomes our responsibility to take care of them as much as possible. To be a emotional and financial support to them. Even though its not physically possible to be with them, being in regular contact is also a great support.

There are two lasting bequests we can give our children. One is roots. The other is wings. ~Hodding Carter, Jr.

Even though "the nest is empty" our roots are still strong with our parents.

1 comments:

harshavardhini said...

There did come a time when I felt guilty too of leaving my parents alone for two years in the course of my higher studies and wanted to go back and be there with them But I guess our parents wouldn't want that either because they want us to grow, as individual entities and also learn to live and handle things on our own. For one reason that they are not going to be there with us all our life and they want us to realise that. They will always miss our physical presence but then in the end we need to realise that it is "the way of life". It is not so that children are insensitive to the pain of their parents, they very much are, but again as I said, "it is the way of life".

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