The senior citizens, inarguably, are one of the most influential people in society and significantly important in forming the moral backbone of the country. However, I do believe that with the exception of a few distinguished personalities and in times that they need to be looked after, their contribution to society looks to have been underplayed.
I think of them as the foundation of a skyscraper, where, instead of applauding the groundwork that helps it stand tall, people’s eyes only admire the height of building. Nevertheless, they are the saving grace, the strength behind a brave front in times of difficulty and catastrophe, as in the case of this coronavirus.
While many of us have begun to appreciate this way of life that seems ‘new’ to us, the elderly are experiencing something special; a feeling of nostalgia. We find ourselves talking more to our siblings, sharing more than we thought we ever would with our parents, and switching our allegiance from screens to our old friends, the board games.
This lifestyle, which is out of the ordinary for us, is, or at least, was, the ordinary way of life for our grandparents.
The differences between our generation and that of the elderly are stark. Observing the new changes, we exclaim, “Oh my god! Did you see the picture of the empty streets and the pollution statistics? It is at an all-time low.”
Our grandparents, on the other hand, joyfully say to themselves, “Ah! The good ol' days! It’s like travelling back to my childhood.”
We now spend our time listening to tales narrated by our grandparents and how all this gives them a sense of deja vù.
The corona crisis has inspired a new energetic spirit in the elderly. In contrast to the earlier times when they dreaded to take a walk outside, refusing to leave their havens of beds and sofas, they now look forward to the daily exercise of walking in their verandas, or inside the house. It is a rare but pleasant sight for their eyes to see all their children under the same roof at the same time. The coronavirus has given them more time to pray to God and thank Him for this blessing.
The elders are also using this time to debunk the myth that they are amateurs in the digital world. From live satsangs and bhajan-kirtan to tea parties on Zoom, they are slowly shattering the stereotypes. Their teases of “I’m as ‘savvy’ as you now!” lead to a competiton between them and the teenagers, which ends in the obvious victory of the latter.
However, carrying on with this competitive spirit, evenings are spent teaching our Dadas and Dadis the marvels of technology and occasionally explaining to them the meaning of contemporary teenage slangs.
For us, it is a blessing in disguise to be able to bond with our grandparents, whom we often sidelined while living our fast-paced lives. We’re beginning to understand the true essence of togetherness and appreciate the gift of family, which is often taken for granted. For once, we’re not complaining about the sermons and words of wisdom that we get from our grandparents. Seeing them safe and healthy in front of us, is a true blessing. We have begun to admire their comparatively slower-paced life.
It allows us to treasure what we have and enjoy each second. The elders have finally revealed their secret to a healthy and happy life: to live in the moment.