You don’t know
When they grow-up
And start talking
As if
It is their own sky
With its own blue
And a hue
That, sometimes
Makes you feel
Your kids
The pivot of your life
Suddenly start moving
In directions
You never sanctioned
Leaving you hinged
To the point
That still stays around
To that pivot only
Time for you to grow-up
To reconcile with changes
To tag along with life
To try and understand
Meanings you don’t see
To persist with the space
Your children demand
You need to understand
That, some day
You had given them life
That, for some years
They meant life for you
But not anymore
Grow-up and realize
That your kids are not
Just your kids anymore
They have a life
Where you may exist
But within your space

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –


October 1: International Day of Older Persons

They are supposed to have greener days after raising a family and giving their family members a life of their own.

Different societies and cultures have different sets of values, societies dominated by joint families, societies dominated by nuclear family, societies in transition with breaking families and societies becoming more and more individualized must have one thing in common, the responsibility to give comfortable days to our senior citizens, our elders.

That is an idealist statement. It is like what it should be.

But it is not like it.

Here in India, in our societies, with eroding (or changing) value systems, the insecurity to the lives of our elders is becoming a an epidemic that we have not been able to assess so far, or we are conveniently pushing it to not be heard, because those who have to asses it are too busy in assessing and working on their own lives.

Mother Teresa had spoken way back in 1979 during her Peace Nobel lecture about this poverty that was besetting out society.

A poverty that makes every other possession immaterial, emptying people of the will to live further, but not to die either, to pass the days, and not living them, to look for the vain hope that someday the burden of poverty will reduce and will subsequently ease, that someday someone will come and say, see, I have come here to repent, to give you what is rightfully yours, to take the pledge that I will try honestly to compensate for what I have done, what I have taken away from you, because what I have done can never be undone, and they will embrace the offer, with an unsurpassed joy, as if nothing had never happened.

That is our elders. That has been their lives all across, in all our societies that make for the pluralistic Indian society, always giving, expecting nothing, but an emotional shelter in the prime of their lives. They give us all, even their lives, for the lovable words they believe are there to care of them, are there to be attentive to them.

And what we are doing, the products of hyper-competitive societies pushed to the edges of extreme selfishness, where we don’t see or refuse to see beyond our individual lives.

We are creating a value -set – we are becoming the parts of a system – that is fast eroding and humiliating what has been the base of our lives, for ages, since the known history of the Indian civilization.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –


They were there, surviving somehow.

This would certainly not be the life they would have thought of, ever, when they were raising their children, giving them all, thinking of them only, from teaching them how to speak and walk to guiding them on how to take on life, consuming, exhausting their life energy to make future of their children better, to settle them comfortably, to make them independent (and, in turn, to make them dependent on their children).

And they were there, surviving, somehow, in their 70s, having given all to their children, keeping the bare minimum for them (and in most cases, not even that).

In the emotionally cold and tangibly insolent surroundings of the old-age home, they were waiting, if any of their children would come to look for them.

Their natural right had become a sort of miracle for them that had so far eluded them. They knew any hope was hopeless. Yet, some of them kept their hopes alive.

It was story of every couple or every man or woman, the defined inhabitants, living there. Yes, but the two of them, who passed away on a single day, were incriminating reminder of the growing animal in us, the humans.

Yes, the children, they were raised by these two ladies and their husbands to become the civilized members of the society they were living in. But they did not know they would be excluded from that very society by their own children, forced to live in a fake environment of socializing, to die in isolation, in an old-age home, a paid one, where even a normal help would come after making repeated requests.

Both the ladies were in their 70s. One was ill and was in sub-conscious state for seven days before she breathed her last. The people their said she had around eight children and other relatives in the city and she waited for seven days for them. Though informed, none of them, not even any of the children, turned up to see her, to take her back for further, advanced treatment.

The other lady was living her routine day there when she fell in the bathroom and couldn’t survive the fall. She, too, had her children but no one was there to take care of her, to rush to her when she fell. Probably, the apathy from her children and the subsequent depression had taken its toll.

Both of these ladies had families, had children, who were duty-bound to take care of them.

Yet, they died alone. In fact, they died this way because of their children only.

Depending on how ‘animal’ or how ‘human’ one is, the shock value can be absolute. For me, it was just a regular, like any other day trip there, when I came to know this and I felt inert for a long time after it.

And it deeply, psychologically negatively affected everyone else living there – the ‘defined’ inhabitants of that old-age home. It was not just the problem of the two ladies only, in varying degrees, almost of them were facing it – the pain of ‘rejection’ by their own sons and daughters.

Shouldn’t such children be tried for murder (even culpable homicide trial would be an unpardonable injustice)?

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –