IF YOU ARE IN SEVERAL WHATSAPP GROUPS, especially of seniors, the number of posts you get about elders being neglected, sent to old-age homes or treated badly and those which stress the importance of loving parents outnumber all other types of posts.
Some posts that went viral recently showed clips from a television reality show, in which children displayed their acting skills, like one about a woman sent to an old-age home “for a few days” by a son pretending to be going abroad, who never answers her calls till she dies there. Another is about a son who sells the ancestral house by fraud, forcing old parents to live in a cow-shed.
Several posts I received give tips to aged people on some measures to ensure that their golden years are tension-free. One of the tips is not to transfer property to the children and leave it to them only in a Will and never to save it all without spending. One said:
“It’s TIME to use the MONEY you SAVED UP. Use it and ENJOY it. DON’T just keep it for those who may have NO NOTION of the SACRIFICES you made to get it. Remember there is nothing more DANGEROUS than a SON or DAUGHTER- IN- LAW with BIG ideas for your HARD-EARNED capital.
“Warning: This is also a BAD TIME for INVESTMENTS, even if it seems wonderful or fool-proof. They only bring problems and worries. This is a time for you to ENJOY some PEACE and QUIET.”
(The shouts — words in capitals — are NOT mine)
It is true no father with money stashed away can say ‘no’ to a son whose business runs into trouble and who needs capital urgently. He would give his last rupee to the son to help him revive the business. And yet the advice has some basis and should be followed.
The person who sent it, however, seems to be a Westerner or one unaware of the Indian children’s capacity to emotionally blackmail the parents into parting with all that they saved or even to end their own lives if it helped the children.
That is one of the main reasons Indian courts have been rejecting all petitions seeking to allow euthanasia (mercy killing) and the main force behind the practice, in a Tamil Nadu district, of the elderly being ceremonially ‘put to sleep’ as exposed in an episode of Aamir Khan’s ‘Satyameva Jayate‘ reality show on TV.
Perhaps death or living in an old-age home is often better than the loneliness and neglect they suffer in living with their “busy” children, as they do in India or the parents’ feeling of guilt of being a burden on them.