Relation Ships Sinking...

Big miracles are not always necessary to change perspectives. Trivial events are powerful enough to derail your outlook towards life. I remember one such moment that still holds my tongue every time I crib about life or broken dreams. Like raindrops and roses and whiskers of kittens the thought keeps my complaints at bay when the bee stings or the dog bites.

We had this reunion of schoolmates, after about 13 long years since we passed out from high school. It was great to go back to school and that too in the company of old friends. Everything went well and the enthusiasm was strong enough to inspire even the teachers who were present there. We had a nice experience sharing session, followed by a sumptuous lunch. Just like any gathering, we had some dropouts at the last minute which resulted in lot of left-over food. We decided to donate the food to somebody rather than wasting it and paid a visit to this Old Age home nearby. But I never thought the place will have such an effect on me when I started off for this place with a friend of mine.

This home was for the aged and the mentally challenged. When we drove into the premises, even before getting out of the vehicle I could see lot of weary faces through the meshed windows. Towards one end of the long building was the section for the mentally challenged and I could hear loud voices - expressing their anger at being kept inside. As I looked on, there came a beautiful girl from somewhere...she pressed her face onto the wire mesh and stared right at me. She had this helpless feeling written all over her face..very vivid. Her eyes were mesmerising.. piercing right through me. If I say she was beautiful, it would be a terrible under-statement... trust me. But it was not about the beauty.. it was all about the way she affected me, my mind.

There was something about her that made me stare back at her..but only for a few seconds. I couldn't take those probing eyes and the helplessness they were trying to convey. My eyes wandered here and there for few minutes and came back to her.. and there she was, her eyes fixed straight at me. I do not know what was so disturbing about her, but there was some feeling that she was conveying through her posture and looks, that was so disturbing and unsettling. I thought for a moment how such a beautiful lady would have ended up in a place like this, at the mercy of the public, rejected by her own family.

This institution survives by the donations from the public. For everything from food to medicine they are at the mercy of the society. There is no regular funding or income source for them. These are a bunch of people, most of them probably from well to do families, dumped into one dark corner of the world by their own peole. I later found out that the lady who stared at me had some kind of mental illness for a while, but her family is not ready to accept her back even after she is cured. She had no options but to be a part of this place when the hospital authorities finally declared her all right. She is one among the many there, who have lost faith in life and have said adieu to their dreams.

I am sure that all the women out there were mothers, sisters or wifes at some point of time... all of them had sons, daughters, husbands, brothers and sisters... all of them part of loving families. Some were brought here in their old age so that the family need not take care of them. Some of them were disgrace to their families as they were ill.

How can you severe relations at moments of crisis? The strength of any relation is tested during tough times and not when all is fine and well. It is easy to keep someone around when he or she expects nothing from you. Its during times of despair that you really prove your worth as a dear friend, a close relative or a caring partner. But the 'relations' business seems to work by a different set of rules. How can somebody who was your parent or husband or sibling all your life, suddenly become a burden? How can you cut off your hand or leg just because it had a fracture or a bruise...? I don't understand.

When I get older, loosing my hair, many years from now, will you still be sending me the Valentine, Birthday greetings, bottle of wine ?

If I stay out till quarter to three, Would you lock the door
Will you still need me, will you still feed me, When I'm sixty-four ?

- "When I'm 64" , The Beatles

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