Parents: Home Alone

“Hey Mom and Dad, I love you. You are simply the best”. This is the most commonly used one-liner of the present generation. I would like to ask all you ‘cool’ people of Gen-X, how many of you really mean it?”The empty nest syndrome”, a saga of every second family of urban India, strikes the homes of thousands of beleaguered parents, whose children leave them to live abroad. They receive infrequent phone calls and send a few dollars to their parents. This reminds of the candy man, who keeps children happy by placing some candy in their hands, and promises to give them a big chocolate bar. But the chocolate bar, the moment of reunion of the once happy family, seldom arrives.

The parents, who were once the “Super Dad” and the “Cool Mum”, become irksome and burdensome people. The mother who taught you how to say your first word and walk on the path of life, and the father who taught you how to write become mere liabilities.

Parents who had dreamt of a comfortable life after retirement from work, would obviously feel betrayed and lonely because of such negligence. All that they want is companionship, love and care but the children are unable (rather unwilling) to provide this and regard them as emotional fools. Parents, who once burnt the midnight oil to fulfil even their children’s smallest needs to make them happy and make them feel special, seek shelter in old age homes. The place they once called home is no longer a home but a house built of stones, hatred and negligence.

You might have heard the story of a mother who loved her son dearly and did everything to keep him happy. When the boy got married, his wife asked him for a gift and the gift was his mother’s heart. The boy told his mother about it and his mother asked him to happily kill her and take her heart away. After killing his mother, the boy took her heart and started walking and stumbled after a few steps, and fell on the ground. As soon as he fell on the ground, his mother’s heart asked, “Son, are you all right?”

This story can apply to almost all parents. Even after enduring such pain, they never judge or blame their children. Instead, they pray for their safety and happiness. What they want is a little bit of our time, care and acceptance. Is it wrong on their behalf to ask us to take care of them, after all that they have done for us, including a lot of things which we can never pay back in the same measure?

According to a research on empty nesters carried out by Help Age India, ‘an increasing emphasis on the individual as a unit is lowering the position of the elderly’. The situation is going from bad to worse. The number of parents under mental stress seems to be increasing day by day. Where do relationships stand in today’s materialistic world? It seems that emotions and relationships have been wrapped up in a blanket of the bitter

truth of separation and negligence. Respect and care for our parents has definitely taken a back seat in changing times. Do our parents, who have sacrificed their happiness for our well-being , deserve to be treated like strangers?

My dear friends, it is we who will have to make a difference, before the situation becomes irreversible and reaches a point where a son, just after a few years of going abroad refuses to recognize his own parents. It is high time that we offer a helping hand to those, who once held our unsure and shaky hands, and gave us all the comforts in the world…to those who spent sleepless nights raising us,…to those who made us who we are…

Fatimah Kanth

[Image Source:]