1. What prevents the Indian elderly from ‘seeking fulfilment in their own actions’?
Do they face pressure not to ‘live alone’? Or disapproval if they do not ‘help’ their adult children run their lives and have and raise their children?
I met a busy and otherwise happy 53 year old who loves her successful career, and finds it fulfilling. She was worried that she would not be able to do for her grand children what her homemaker friends manage to do. No matter how much she did, she felt ‘there would be comparisons’.
Another 73 year old independent woman continued to ‘live alone’ after her husband’s death, six years ago, in the same house, with the same dependable domestic staff, managing her own finances, and in reasonably good health.
Her children are ‘asked questions’. She too faces criticism for not wanting to live with her grandchildren. How well she knows her grand children, and how well they know her, is one question she is frequently asked. (Maybe, mainly by those elderly who wouldn’t permit their family members to ‘live alone’?)
Yet another retired and widowed elderly was judged because the children found he was in a relationship. What was the objection? Maybe there were fears that he might spend his hard earned money on himself (or on the partner)?
It seems, as a society, we disapprove of the elderly living their lives or spending their own money.
Maybe it’s not just the elderly – we seem to disapprove of enjoyment [link].
2. If the Indian elderly had lives of their own – how do you think would the society be different?
Maybe, they would have less time to think about family values, marriageability or career prospects of, not just there own, but also other people’s children?
Maybe, there would be lesser anxiety over ‘trivial issues‘ like eating or drinking preferences or housekeeping skills of Indian daughters in law? And maybe, there would be more interest in taking care of their own health, happiness and self reliance?
Does personal discontent makes the Indian elderly more inclined to wish to control the lives of other people? Would the elderly who are content in their own lives be more willing to allow their children find out what makes them truly happy?
Do you think this could, in someways, harm the society? Could this make the adult children feel unloved and uncared for by the parents who are not controlling or atleast ‘commenting’ upon their lives?
What do you think?
Sharing Malyaj’s comment in response to this post – “I remember how tensed my family was at the time of my marriage 2 years back. Every time they were forced to do ‘Milnis and Teekas with heavy envelopes’.”
Seriously, Why do we need to involve money in everything I don’t understand !
I detest this obsession with money, especially other people’s. I hate when people tell other how much they spent on their family events, when they ask the same questions. And how crassly and casually people ask each other’s salaries and about material possessions. I simply do not understand it.
Older people in our society need to learn to have a life of their own. Instead of seeking happiness in their kids’ lives, they need to live their own lives and seek fulfillment in their own actions – go join a book club, travel alone for a few months, learn a language, pick up a new hobby, paint, run, ride a bicycle, write a blog, fulfill the aspirations you couldn’t earlier, get some more education.. the possibilities are unimaginable. But most of them are stuck with chasing their kids to get married, then to have kids and to show off their status in the process. What a waste of life that could have been reclaimed !