One of the families in our neighbourhood in the earlier place comprised of an old lady and her son, who was afflicted with polio. The lady got a meagre pension from her deceased husband’s last job and the son had a bank job in which he was doing well when they left that place, to move into a bigger house, around 8-9 years back. I remember the son as a cheerful guy who used to play cricket with me, even when it was quite difficult for him to run around. During holidays I used to spend maximum time at their place. Somehow I did not get to meet him after they left to the new house. He got married, but I was not able to attend it. The lady being close to my mother always paid a visit to our house whenever she was in the neighbourhood. Around 3-4 years back I spotted him at the bank when I was running an errand. I went to his desk and noticed that he looked rather dull. He smiled back when he saw me but I felt that the cheerful guy which I knew was missing. My mom said that they were having some family problems and the lady and her daughter-in-law were not on talking terms. I am not interested in family gossip so I ignored the later part of the narration. After a few months I saw the old lady in tears while talking to my mother. I came to know that the things between the two ladies in that house had reached to such an extent that the son had asked his own mother to live in a separate house. We always hear or read stories of children neglecting their aged parents but seeing someone closely I felt very sad that day. Last week the lady had come to our house to see our Ganesh idol and also had brought a few ukdiche modak as prasad. She was looking very frail and I had to hold her by her hand while dropping her off from our house. Later back home mom told me that the son had stopped going to the bank and since he was absent for a very long time he was sacked from his job. He was facing a serious inferiority complex and had stopped using his crutches. Dragging himself on the floor he had refused to get up. So the lady was putting aside a major part of the pension as savings and was helping to fund the education of her grandchildren. She was skipping meals to save costs and on a few days she lived on 1-2 bananas only. Even then she was refusing any kind of help from others.
A few years back the son and wife had driven the old mother out of her own home. They had refused to provide monetary help to her and had left her to live off on her own. They had ordered her not to meet her grandchildren. Now the same mother is fighting a lone battle to feed the family of four and providing a decent education to the kids. What is her fault in this situation? Is life treating her badly? Rather than life it is the people who treat each other badly. How can a child, who has been brought up by his/her parents, neglect them when the parents need him/her the most? Isn’t it a child’s basic responsibility to support the parents? I mean the answers are so simple yet we fail to think clearly. That day I vowed that the least I can do for my parents is to respect them and be there when they need me. I hope you also realize it in time. Last heard my mother was trying to help the lady’s son regain his confidence and had given him some confidence-booster books by Swami Sukhbodhananda. I am not sure how much that will help but I sincerely hope the family re-unites and leads a happy and healthy life.
P.S.: Uploaded a few images of our Ganesh idol and the puja.