What would life be like if there was no one to talk to, no one who was interested enough to talk to us ? It is very difficult to imagine such a situation. If we are solitary people it does not really matter but if suddenly we lose the companionship of someone close to us, someone with whom we have always shared our feelings, then it would be difficult. It does not seem to matter when one is young but as we grow older the companionship of someone of our age group to whom we can say, ‘talk to me’, is so necessary. It is necessary but we are lucky if we have that.
All are not so lucky. I was in my brother’s place for two weeks, early this month. They live in a colony with more than three hundred houses. Morning and evening walks were fun. It was good to see children of different age groups playing in the evenings after school. There are a lot of elderly people living with their children. I used to meet them every evening. I have always noticed that many a time, a glance and a smile connects two strangers. And there are others who live in their own world. They are just not interested.
Every evening I used to see a lady sitting on the bench by the side of the road looking at people walking by. The expression on her face was saying ‘talk to me’. She was a solitary person. I could just wish her, I did not know her language. Another older lady had some problem in her ankles but walked daily with her young companion. We exchanged greetings but I did not know her language. A lady in a wheelchair with one side paralyzed was taken around every evening by her companion. She used to lift her hand slowly when her friends greeted her but she could not speak. I met a very nice, polite old gentleman. He was ninety one, living with his son. When he came to know I spoke Kannada, we would talk to each other almost every evening. He had lost his wife twenty five years earlier. He enjoyed reading the newspaper read four of them every morning from beginning to end. I could not meet him before leaving. I did not know his house. There was a very active old lady who enjoyed talking with her friends. She did not know Telugu, she was a Maharashtrian, but she knew Hindi. She was happy to ask me a lot of questions and also to tell me about herself.
Listening with interest makes a difference. There was an old Doctor, he lived with his son, his wife had had cancer some years ago. She had recovered but recently she was experiencing back pain. Walking a few steps was difficult. It may be necessary for her to have a surgery. This old doctor had met my parents earlier and was interested enough to enquire about them. I suppose most people are happy if there is someone to listen to them. An old lady living opposite my brothers’ place is such a positive person. She is seventy five and lives with her children. She lost her husband when she was sixty. She keeps herself busy and is interested in people, in a nice way. When I met her for the first time I told her I did not know Telugu but she said she knew Hindi. I felt nice talking to her because she was genuinely interested. She told me she was happy with her children and had everything she wanted. At this stage of life all she wanted was someone to talk to and someone to listen to. That is important as we grow older.
‘It’s important to have a twinkle in your wrinkle.’ ~Author Unknown
‘Never lose sight of the fact that old age needs so little but needs that little so much.’ ~Margaret Willour