Elderly are the current flavour of our community. They have not been that feted and celebrated in living memory. Elderly are really feeling and enjoying every moment of joyous spring in the winter of their lives.
It is our beloved A’ali Qadr Muffaddal Moula’s foresight and karam that he has galvanized the entire community to focus on the condition of the elderly and how best can jamaats, social organization’s and individuals can best contribute to the happiness and well being of the elderly and in return learn from their experience and their fortitude , so that when it is there time to grapple with advancing age they can use the acquired knowledge and for sure there will be others of the community to offer them joy and succour in the winter of their lives.
Having lived most of my life in Calcutta I am true BONG at heart and still love Bengalee songs, sweets and the vibrant culture, although now residing at Pune.
It is very noteworthy that our community does not prefer to keep the elderly in Old Age Homes, the most prevalent practise in the West, which has many benefits but snaps completely family ties and duties and has many drawbacks.
Sharing a translation of one of my favourite Bengalee song which opens a window to the mind of an elderly who has been put in an Old Age Home by his very successful son, who lives in a big flat with his wife, son and an Altetian dog but has no room for his elderly father who they think does not ‘fit in’.
Please do read till end because the song delivers a very awakening and important message.
There is a turn around for every deed one does. In the seventy years of my life I have had seen much, witnessed much and feel blessed to have a family who takes good care in the winter of my life.
I have also learnt to develope a positive mind set – ‘what ever will be will be – the future is not ours to see’ . Living in the present moment and crossing the bridge when it comes. Not overbearing but submitting to the Will of Allah. Have learnt to keep thoughts to myself and be stoic and genuinely enjoy the good moments with family and friends.
In the words of Khalil Gibran :
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you…
Those who may be interested may hear the song on You Tube
Briddhasram. (Old Age Home)
Song by Nachiketa Chakraborty
My boy has become a big officer
ছেলে আমার মস্ত মানুষ মস্ত অফিসার
He stays in a big upper storied flat
মস্ত ফ্লাটে যায়না দেখা এপার ওপার
It is well furnished with expensive things
নানান রকম জিনিস আর আসবাব দামী দামী
I was the only one of low value
সবচে কমদামী ছিলাম একমাত্র আমি
My son holds me in great respect
ছেলের আমার, আমার প্রতি অগাধ সম্ভ্রম
As such my address is old age home
আমার ঠিকানা তাই বৃদ্ধাশ্রম।।
( Here the poet is being sarcastic )
The old cupboard and mirror of mine
আমার ব্যবহারের সেই আলমারি আর আয়না
These find no place in his flat
সেসব নাকি বেশ পুরনো ফ্লাটে রাখা যায় না
One fine day his Father’s picture also goes
ওর বাবার ছবি ঘড়ি ছড়ি বিদেয় হল তাড়াতাড়ি
The old mayna also is released
ছেড়ে দিল কাকে খেল পোষা বুড়ো ময়না,
Now the elderly wishfully recalls the growing up of his son (khoka)
Khoka could not eat rice with his own hands
নিজের হাতে ভাত খেতে পারতো না খোকা
Would tell him what will you do when I am not around
বলতাম আমি না থাকলে কি করবি বোকা
Khokha would cry aloud hearing me
ঠোট ফুলিয়ে কাঁদত খোকা আমার কথা শুনে
In childhood, my baby would cry and cry
ছোট্র বেলায় স্বপ্ন দেখে উঠত খোকা কেঁদে
I would press him to my chest
দুহাত দিয়ে বুকের কাছে রেখে দিতাম বেঁধে
Those two hands still at times remain outstreched to embrace him
দুহাত আজো খোঁজে ভুলে যায়যে একদম
Now comes an interesting wish by the elderly :))
My boy’s son is two years old
খোকারও হয়েছে ছেলে দুবছর হল
O Lord make me live another twenty five years
আরতো মাত্র বছর পচিশ ঠাকুর মুখ তোল
I want to live a hundred years now
একশ বছর বাঁচতে চাই এখন আমার সাধ
Twenty-five years later, khoka’s son will be twenty seven
পচিশ বছর পরে খোকার হবে উনষাট
He goes on to say that my son would be sixty nine and he expects that his son will be meet the same treatment of being shifted to the Old Age Home !!
He wishes that my son will come and live with me in the Old Age Home.
We can live together as there is enough room for both of us in my room.
Thus the song conveys a message which should be heeded to by children who have elders living with them .