A random study of the civilisations across the globe reveals that mankind as a single unit has certainly recognised the fact that it is inevitable that man grows older and experiences a deterioration of his faculties and general health over a period of time.
In spite of this physical weakening, he grows stronger in spirit and emerges as a wise person which he derives from the various experiences of life.
Perhaps an African proverb which goes, “A library dies when a old man dies” speaks volumes about how the elderly were looked upon in the past.
As each day rolls by we grow older, little realising that old age will be taking toll of us very soon. Yet most young people have a firm belief that they will never age and hence become insensitive to the older people around them.
The ever-growing number of old-age homes in a traditional country like India is an alarming development that needs to be checked as early as possible.
At this point it will be of essence to remember an old fable where a man served his aged father gruel on a cracked plate day after day as he felt that he had no more benefits to reap from the old man.
One day, when the old man left home with disgust and melancholy because of the treatment meted out to him, the young grandson picked up the cracked plate, cleaned it and wrapped it up neatly in a brown paper. When the surprised father asked him to explain his action, the little boy said that he was keeping the plate safely so that he could serve gruel on the plate when his own father became old and infirm.
This answer struck the father like a lightning and he immediately set off to find his own father filled with remorse and guilt.
Even as the world is progressing, old-age homes mushrooming around the world are taking the role of a reliable support system.
Each of us will do well to remember that we must not let the golden chance of showing our gratitude to the elders who shaped our lives slip by. After all did they not spend the best part of their lives caring for us?