“We want to see life”

When  I  was  in Delhi  , I  would  daily  go in the  evening  for  a  walk  in  the nearby  park.  There  I would  find  some  old people  just  sitting on  the  benches  from  4 PM  and  till  it became  dark. The  park  had  young infants  playing  with their  mothers/ maids,  young  and  middle  aged people  doing brisk walking in  order  to  loose  some fatty tissues, young  boys  doting some classmates  and   young  girls   strolling  whispering into mobiles  glued  to  their  ears . Amidst  this  bundle  of activity were  these quiet  , well composed  spectators  who had  no  phones  glued  to  their  ears , who  were  not  doting , who could  not  walk much and  yet  they seemed  to  enjoy  watching these  three  hours  of torment  activity  in  the  park. At the  turn  of  darkness slowly each  one   would wriggle  to their  respective  four  walls  of their homes, to be  there in  the  park  next day same time same  way.

One  day  I happen to  recognise one  old  man  sitting  there as a   colleague of  my father and  I said  “Hello Uncle, I  am son  of  ………. I  think  you  and  my  father  had  served  together somewhere”

“Oh  yes, my son , I  remember him. And  you were  such a  tiny  kid  then” He said  while  indicating  me  to  sit  next  to  him. For  the next  ten  minutes  it was  his  turn  to  remember  the  old  times . He  said  he  is  81  year old  now   and  both  his  children are  settled  in  USA.

When I  got  a  break I  shot  my  question  which  was  bugging  me  for  a  long  time at  him,

“Sir,  why do so many  elder people  just  come  from  their homes and  sit  here  for three  hours  watching  people. Would  they  not  like to  spend  time  seeing TV or read  or  do something else”. I  intoned  my long  awaited  question.

He thought  for  a  moment,  started  to  say something but halted . The  question  seemed  to have  foxed him. It  was an  analytical  question. The  answer had  to  equally  intelligent   too. His 37 years  of  speckless  service in Army behind him his  answer  had  to  befit his  age  and  experience.

“We  come  here  to  see  life. In  every blossoming   flower I  see  so many  colours  of  nature. In  every bud I see  the  emergence  of  new life , a  new  innings. In  every  leaf, I see   the strength  to cling to  its twig. In every   infant playing   here I  see a new  bloom of  life. In  every action of a young child , I  see  innocence of  God, truthfulness. In every  youth, I  see the unfathomed cosmic energy . In every adult  I see the  vagaries  of  life  he  has  gone  through. So , I  come here  every day  to  refresh my  memories   of  what all  stages  of life  I  have  gone  through. If  I  stay  at  home  I  will  only  see  the old  age. And there is nothing to   learn   from   old   age alone.  The   essence   of  learning lies in learning  at every stage  of  life .  For  people  like  us  who didn’t  do it then, now  is  the  time  to introspect. Learn   and   unlearn so many   mistakes  of   our   lives.   What we  did  right  and  what   we  did  wrong  at  every stage  in  our life goes  in  our  mind  like  a  re-winding of a movie.  We try and  re-live  every stage  of  our  lives  seeing ourselves  as  a  the  young child , young adult  and  then a full adult. These are   the learnings  which  I  carry everyday  from  this  park, my  son.” Saying this  he  adjusted  his spectacles   to  wipe  the  moistness  of  his  eyes. I could  make  out the  heavy load of  sweet and  sour memories   every old  person carries  with him.

As  I  got up to leave I bowed  down to  touch  his  feet  but instead  he  pulled  me  up and hugged. Next day onwards ten  minutes  of  my park  time  was  devoted  to  him everyday.


One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Preeti on March 19, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    🙂 As always, very nicely narrated and quite touching too..


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