Saturday, November 24, 2007

Worth the sacrifice?

Last month when we visited Dubai during children's vacation, we got into a conversation with the cab driver who drove us from the airport when he came to know that we were from India. He told us that he hailed from a small village in Chennai. We got to know from him that he had been in Dubai for the past 20 years!

Well, 20 years is a long time, isn't it? He further told us that his family was back in his village and he gets to be with them once a year for a month. He said that it was very tough living without a family though at the same time he cannot afford having his family in Dubai as it is very expensive. His health is also not so good and he shares a small room with 6 others. He has been able to send his son to an engineering college. His wish is that once his son finishes college and finds a job, the very next moment he will just pack his bags and stay with his family finally.

This story sounds so familiar, doesn't it? But when you see a person in real narrating his life story it really hurts. I was wondering if his son would ask his father to come back so that he can make up for all those years that his father had missed seeing him grow up? Will this person get the reward of all the hard work and sacrifice that he has made at the prime of his life? Will he be able to find happiness at last during the latter part of his life when he needs a family to look after him? Or will it be the other way round? Will his son look after him? Will he think he cannot afford looking after his parents? I really prayed for his sake that he live a happily ever after life like in fairy tales.

That was also the time when I heard another story of an old man who had gone through a similar experience. He is a Doctor who got a posting in Saudi and lived there. The difference being as he was a Doctor, he had a good, comfortable accomodation. But other than that in all other aspects it was similar to the driver's life. He had to work hard, no family, visiting his family once a year,and providing them with all the luxury. I was shocked when he said that after working for a few years and they were in a comfortable position here in India he told his family that he had had enough of this life of living alone and he would like to come back and practice back in India. But his children and his wife refused saying that they cannot let him come back until they all settle down . What life partner and children I thought!!

His story did not end there. Once all the children were so called "Finally Settled" he came back, could spend only a couple of years with his wife before she passed away. Two of his sons settled abroad and the last son who was with him for sometime also finally left him to go and settle abroad and finally the old man is all alone without anyone beside him in his twilight years. What life?

These two incidents set me thinking ; is it worth all this sacrifice that as a parent one tends to make? Is this all that life holds in store? To what extent can parents sacrifice their happiness for the sake of their children? Should we expect help at all from chidren, atleast if not when we are healthy but when we are not well and need them not so much for financial support but for emotional support atleast?

Every other day we hear shocking stories of old people being dumped literally in the dustbin as you all must have read in the news papers.

There are also children looking after their parents well but of late one gets to hear only bizarre things.

So could you comment on this blog and share your opinion and try and answer the doubts that have arisen in my mind?


Anonymous said...

I agree. Sometimes, it leaves you wondering whether all the trouble is worth taking. Well said!

Anonymous said...


Shobhana, nice to see another facet of your life....It was really touching to read thru both the stories....

Am sure many of the younger generation do not uphold the values in their lives, have heard of instances when parents have given up on their kids since they dont listen to them anymore.

There were days when I used to say "this shows how the parents have brought up their kids", but now a days, have stopped that since I have seen young brats - both genders - being on their own, seeking more "FREEDOM, INDEPENDENCE", from what is the question.....

to answer your question on whether its worth the sacrifice, I guess the oft quoted "DO YOUR PART OF IT AND LEAVE REST TO GOD" holds good here too, though its easier said than done.

The very fact that the numbers in all old age homes are growing despite their children being in the same city/country, is a reflection of the degeneration of values and respect for the elderly.

Unfortunately, these children are turning a blind eye to the fact that its just a few years from now, that they also meet the same natural effects, and GOD HELP THEM, in real sense.

I pray that these children should not go through what their parents are put through by them, since the times ahead are going to be more problematic.

Ganesh Shenoy

Anonymous said...

Hi shobhana

The stories you have shared are really very touching.But it is a fact of is better not to expect any happiness from the kids.Though it is easy said than done.

There is a craze of westernisation in our people.In this process the present generation is forgeting the basic values of life.They also forget who are responsible for their existence in this world.
I feel we should do our best to train them to be a good human being,beyond that we should leave it to the almighty to decide.
As regards the sacrifices, we dont do it out of expectation.We just perform our duties to bring them up.
HOPE & PRAY that at least 25% of the present generation will be able to realise the sacrifices done by their parents.

Lulu said...


I have read all your blogs, and they are very interesting. This one being the most touching.

I have been living with my parents alone for a long time with my siblings settled happily abroad.
These thoughts do cross my parents mind too and would be so with everyone. Maybe with me too, when i have my family.

I often tell my parents to enjoy their life and not to worry about us. As they have given us everything, good grooming, good education and good values. But i know one day ill move on too... and i guess thats how life is.

I would always want my parents to enjoy being with each other and do whatever they want, without worring about us. I feel its us (U & ME) who can make a difference in this modern mechanical world. We must teach our children good values and at the same time live and enjoy our own life. Our kids will grow & take care of themselves... If they have good upbringing they will take care of us, and if not we must learn to take care of ourselves.

I guess, parents will always be parents (so unconditional) and their sacrifices can never go waste. One day kids would realise...(hope that day wont be late)

Lulu Hashim

Anonymous said...

I'm with Lulu on this one. the values you instilled in them is what will decide in your favour when it's their turn to give.

Anonymous said...

Hi Shobhana,

It was really nice to see you express your thoughts about sacrifices made by parents only to get a shock of their lifetime, when their children desert them when they need them the most.

It also makes me feel happy about the fact that my parent's sacrifice did not go waste as they are being taken care by my brother's family in such a way that it should be an eye opener for all those who shy away from looking after their aged parents.