by Aishwarya Sharma
On a Sunday afternoon
Calm and divine,
Sat under a tree, son and mother,
Reading stories of immortal time.
The breeze was soothing,
And so were the tales,
Between the “hms” and “ohs”,
Were heard rustling of leaves.
At the end of the story session,
The child had a curious face,
“Oh! Mother, what is courage?”
Asked the son with an expectant gaze.
“Tell me first son,
What is your impression?
About this word courage,
Who should have its worthy possession?”
“Mother it’s simple,
Since time immemorial,
Courage is a quality of
The great men of our times.
Kings who won battles with strength,
Or those who built castles magnificent.
Batman’s adventures in the dark,
Brave deeds by Superman-Clark.
I wish to be courageous like these,
Journey through unknown lands,
Fly space crafts,
Climb mountain peaks.”
“Ah!” said the mother,
Completely absorbed in her son’s words,
Understanding a child’s mind,
Romanticizing the world’s works.
“Nice are the things you said
Huge and glorious in sight,
Full of courage as you may seem
But are full of mere might.”
“But mother”, interrupted the child,
“Why do you differ with me?
I thought you will always like what I say,
Can’t understand your current dismay.”
“Child, o’ child”, his mother replied,
“There are things you should learn with time.
The word courage may seem huge,
But in it lies some deep truth.
Courage is that inner strength,
Understanding one’s own soul.
Believing I one’s self and dreams,
You must learn its meaning in the whole.
A mother’s courage while bearing down in labor,
Or the courage to express emotions to your beloved.
To speak the truth when it’s tough to say,
Or to accept things in the darkest hour.
To stand up for one’s own or another’s right,
Against those imposing cruel might.
To defy the usual and commonplace,
And keep walking on the tough path at your pace.
To change for a betterment,
Courage to look inside.
To stand by the one looked down upon by all,
Mocked at and marginalized.
Courage needs motivation,
Courage needs support.
No task in this world,
Is fulfilled without dedication.
These things aren’t really extraordinary in occurrence,
But require such a spirit for their execution.
The ones given an opportunity to do so
Are really lucky, I admit,
Because god bestows such tasks
On those trustworthy and fit.
Of all the courageous tasks so far,
The one I wish to emphasize:
Dear son, be courageous enough to be kind.
Keep this close to heart and always remember in mind.”
by Rajika Khanna, 3rd Semester
“Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything”
On the day we remember and celebrate the aged, I would like to highlight the above lines of the poetic masterpiece “Seven Stages Of Man”, written by Shakespeare in order to elaborate upon the pain and plight our elders who are rightly addressed as the “Silver Generation”, come across in their twilight years.
Old age is an integral part of human life. An old man is full of experiences and even though their experiences are of immense help to the younger generation, he is seen as an unwanted burden. An appropriate quote comes to mind, “They were once strong and they are now feeble.” These grumpy old men or women were once full of zeal. They were the ones who picked us up when we were down, but now as they struggle to walk, there is no one to help them out.
Their innumerable presents to us were reasons for joy, but as they grow old we have no time for them. They spared no expense in bringing us up, but now for their petty needs we have no funds. In distressing times they cheered us up, but we are nowhere as they lay in the earth.
The above lines portray old age as a vision of loneliness and gloom before departing from this mortal world. Old age is more difficult and may seem insurmountable because the physical strength and mental capability required to cope up with the adverse situations of life are immensely reduced.
Ageing comes with a lot of challenges namely physical, social, financial and emotional. The sad truth is that the highest perils of brutal and persistent violence lurk against these woebegone men within the intimate spaces of our homes. Little illustrates this than a recent twelve city study by Helpage India. Its stunning finding is that every second elderly person who its researchers spoke to testified to suffering abuse within their families.
The prime cause was that these elders were economically dependent on their children. They reported that even more than their economic dependence, it is their emotional dependence on their children, and most of all love for their grandchildren that binds them to their homes, even if they suffer abuse and neglect. Even the government sequesters billions in their personal greed – which leaves these frail men with petty pensions and funds which they need to keep up with in the later years of their lives.
Our country is home to 100 million elderly people today. Their numbers are likely to increase threefold in the next three decades. People are living much longer and as bodies and minds of ageing people dwindle, they become the victims of alienation and vagaries of estrangement in the hands of those they once proudly introduced as “My family.”
The Helpage India report is an unhappy reminder of how the growing urbanisation and fast moving modern life have contributed to the problem. Furthermore, the erosion of moral values has also aggravated the situation. Earlier, when life was simpler and values counted for more, those who reached a ripe old age commanded great respect, regard, love and attention and were taken as source of inspiration, guidance and experience for the younger generation.
The melancholy stories the report brings to us in the changing landscape of human relations in urban India are not of desperate want but material greed, of economic dependence and disputes over property and income resulting in growing abuse and neglect of aged people within our homes.
Usually, in the metropolitan cities the senior citizens are left alone with servants to take care of them. After some time, the servants become familiar with everything in the household, they rob them of all their belongings, often become cruel enough to kill them and then flee. Yet another grave incidence is that of elderly people preferring to stay in an old age home despite having spent decades in their home as their worthy offspring have made it no less than a prison for them. The news of such incidents are frequent in national dailies.
The picture is really grim in the golden years of the life which ought to have been the best years of a person’s life, when man is free from every kind of responsibility.
The renowned poet Dilip Chitre denounces this urban rootlessness in his beautiful poem “Father Returning Home”. A line worth mentioning is ‘like a word dropped from a long sentence.’ The sentence is highly unique and it provides an evocative image of an old man who gets down from the train as if he is no longer relevant to it. This showcases the monotonousroutine of an old man, who sustains the harsh isolation from the world and is visibly upset with his predicament.
Foreign influences, however, are chipping us away from our roots. Our society is also becoming increasingly youth-centric, with ageing regarded as something akin to a disease. Children live for the moment and no longer feel responsible for the care of older family members. The problem is most acute among the poor, where abuse and neglect has becomes a part and parcel of their lives.
Hence I would like to dedicate my writing to the elderly, who in the family are the loving parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles. Today as I reflect upon the current problematic conditions of the older people, let us all awaken to make our societies a well organized one to make room for our senior citizens – with respect and practical consideration for their frailty and their dignity as they are a wealth that should not be ignored.
To conclude we must ponder over the fact that we would be comparable to these elders: in the near or far future and if we don’t learn how to treat our elders better, that is how we will be treated by our younger generations.
by Adithi Shankar
I’m not going to lie; I thought it was a mere phase in the initial stages, something that I could snap out of if I just willed myself more ardently. I liked being alone, or rather, preferred being alone. Talking to people was a gargantuan task, some kind of effort I felt I did not want to make, and if I was being served with the option of choosing to avoid interaction, then I might as well hold on tight to that. Everyone thought nothing changed, that I was just off color; that I was just, what everyone refers to flippantly these days, ‘PMS-ing’.
Maybe I wanted to believe that as well. It was most definitely more comfortable a cushion to fall onto than to admit to the brutal reality of things. But in my heart of hearts I knew, I knew that I was speeding past the checkpoints, I was plunging headfirst into unchartered waters with absolutely no control over anything, I was on the highway to nowhere, absent mindedly moving my limbs, a soul disconnected from all yokes that bound her to a material existence.
by Adithi Shankar
Dear best friend,
I vividly remember our first encounter,
I liked your shoes, you liked my bag,
Pretty shallow, both of us were during the origins,
But it didn’t amount to much, at least then.
by Aniket Naik
There once was a boy, with a soul untarnished
Whose spirit, with every tiny miracle, was ravished.
His big, large eyes sought every wonder
He knew naught that his innocence would be torn asunder.
by Sanket Mohanty
Nadal and Federer are two champions who epitomize art in sport.
In March 2004, an unheralded 17 year old by the name of Rafael Nadal Parera surprised many by defeating the then world number one, Roger Federer, in straight sets at the third round of Miami Masters. Few would have suspected on that windy day in Miami, that these two gentlemen would get embroiled in a storied rivalry that would captivate millions of people around the world.
By Sumedha Sircar
“If people sat outside and looked at the stars each night, I’ll bet they’d live a lot differently.”
In the summer of ’10, I made a fantastic discovery.
The sweltering heat that summer burst tires, melted admittedly shoddily built roads, and generally belied all notions one had of Bangalore’s normally placid weather. The rebellion of the weather mirrored my own. For I was a new teenager – one with with two whole months of free time. And I was trying to discover myself. Find out who I was. What it all meant – and how I figured in it all.