Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Morning Mix-Ups and An Old Man

Yesterday morning, I was out for my walk/fitness regime/couch25K program, as part of the DHs insistence that I do it in the morning, and don't pretend to work out in the evening, and be unavailable for family time. Good enough, though it kills me, I am trying to be up a little early, to go out for about twenty odd minutes of lumbering around, and then be back and feed myself off to glory. Yesterday, I had the podcast plugged into my ears, and off I went, and was about 7 or 8 minutes into the program when I hit a road crossing signal. I paused the podcast and waited for my turn to cross. When I got on the other side, I wanted to rewind the podcast just a teeny weeny bit, so that I could retrace some of it, and pffffff it went, back to the previous song on my playlist. What do you think I did, I tried to get it back to the point where I had left it, but could not. I had the option to re-start my walk/run, but the lazy me would never re-do 8 minutes, and so I though it would be best to just head back home, turned around and did just that. I was unhappy, because it felt like I had given up my sweet morning sleep for absolutely nothing!

As I was coming back, yesterday being Monday, I saw the garbage bins of all the houses lined up in front of them, all along the street. Not having the pressure of listening carefully to the instructions being screamed into my ears, and attempting to follow them, makes for a more observant me definitely. At one place I see a few bins lined up, an old man holding on to one of the bins, and bending down. I could not see him, but just his hand and him bending. I was at a bit of a distance at that point and thought, something must have fallen off the bin while he was placing it, and hence he is bending over to put it back in. I get closer, and by then the man is almost standing, and from what I see he is holding the bin for support, to climb up about 4 inches onto the sidewalk from the service lane. His fingers looked quite swollen, and his grip weak. And there he was standing for atleast 2-3 minutes, trying to climb just 4 inches!

Old people live on their own, that is the way things work over here. I see really old people, shopping at the supermarkets on their own, using public transport, going out for walks, driving around and everything. In India, it is not usual to see older people on their own, or being fit enough to manage life on their own. While it surprised me initially, I was amazed to see how fit these people were, living alone. And then I saw this man and it broke my heart. Wonder if he lives alone, or has someone back home, I could see that he was in pain, and it can definitely not be easy going on with life as usual, when it is so tough to just get on the sidewalk. The image stayed in my mind for a really really long time after I saw it. And it bothered me. How fragile are we, we are all heading towards old age, the inevitable death and yet we live our lives as if we are immortals. How hard would it be to be in the condition the old man was, old, fragile, in pain, maybe no one to care for him. How would it feel being unable to take care of yourself, go about your day? It kind of brought back to me the reason Lord Buddha gave up his royal pleasures, and riches, and went to meditate in the forest. How flimsy and superficial every material comfort and possession seems indeed, when we see pain and death.

Earlier such things did not register much with me, but becoming a mother has changed me in the way I think, feel, perceive, observe, react. And that is possibly the reason that old man stayed on in my mind for so so long, after I saw him. The GP tells me, that is the cycle of life, and we cannot alter it, and worrying about it only means losing the precious moments I have now. I agree, but just keep thinking how worthless it all might be if that is the way we are all meant to end up. And then again there is a purpose in our life, for which we are born, I am sure brooding and anxiously anticipating the future woes is not the purpose of it.

On a side note, having to take care not to step on fresh dog poop on the side walks in the morning just does not feel good, I am sure people with dogs can take care to clean up behind their pets, esp since there are NO strays here. A small dog ran into my legs today morning, and scared the living daylights out of me, it was just let loose, the gates of the house wide open. It was cute, but having a dog between my legs, unexpectedly does shock me, and I am anyways a bit wary of animals I don't know, though I love them and would never hurt them, but I won't go and cuddle them either, if their owners are not around, or I am not specially familiar with the creature, shows I have never owned a pet doesn't it? People with dogs, please take care of your pets, and their...errrr....stuff.

1 comment:

Reflections said...

Old people through out the world face this situation....it scares the hell out of me when I come across parents abandoned by children in their old age in India.

Abroad its a way of life where the parents dont expect their children to go out of their way to look after them....even then I'm sure it must hurt these parents so much tht the children they so lovingly bring up are so busy in their world and do not have time for them :-(
Now & then I tell my husband tht we shd save up a good amout and scout around for a 'good' old age home so we dont burden our kids with our problems and yet at the same time spen the rest of our days with like-minded people & in dignity.