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Can we transplant an old banyan tree?

Its again one of those life’s dilemmas where I find myself helpless….., a whom to turn to situation! It’s a dilemma many people have faced and will face. We fly out of our parents’ nest happy and proud with a new career and dreams of an independent life. Parents too feel happy for us. Both, parents as well as the grown-up children try hard to hide the sadness of parting behind the veil of happiness and dreams of a successful life. No parent would hinder their offspring’s promising career. The bird always knows, its offspring will fly far away from her. Still she takes all the pains to teach them to fly. That is the rule of nature!

All’s well till the left-alone parents are working and they are physically and mentally strong. But age inevitably takes its toll even on rocks! Loneliness gradually creeps into the psyche of our aged parents. How long can they go on cherishing the fond memories of our childhood? The constant yearning to see the grandchildren, the disappointment of missing their growing up moments, slowly kills their desire to live. Those staying abroad often can only make it once a year to visit their parental home. The rest of the year, phone calls and e-mails are the only thin threads to hold on to. Hoping against hope that their dear ones will come back to them. How long is this possible?

They finally break! Then begins the real dilemma. Leaving their house and city where they have spent 40-50 years of their life and shifting to their son’s/daughter’s place! It’s like transplanting a big old banyan tree!

Till now I had seen a few such cases closely and felt the pain too. I remember sensing the tears and pain in an 80 year old aunty’s heart when she was selling her house in Indore to live with her son in Canada. I remember my brother saying that time –“Didi, when we grow up we will buy a readymade house. We’ll never construct one ourselves. It’s very painful to sell it off!”

We never know where we will settle finally. Today I am in Gurgaon and my brother is in the US with our respective families. Our parents are staying alone in Indore for the last nine years. Every time I meet them, I feel they are gradually loosing the battle. I don’t want them to be alone. And just as I cannot imagine my son in a creche, I don’t want my parents in an Old-age home ( which too is fast catching up in our country). I want them to stay with me. Finally they too are realizing the same! I am relieved and happy. I was always coaxing them to come and live with me……. But Lord, now I am afraid! I know how difficult it is for a transplanted old tree!  Will it survive all the change?

The house they built with all the hard earned money, the sacrifices they silently made to pay back the loans, the love with which they decorated the house and the garden, the circle of old friends, all the sweet and sour memories! Wrapping up everything and going to a new place at a ripe age – I find it difficult to imagine, now that I have my own beautiful house and a close friend circle.

And what about me? The fond memories of my childhood? The year long waiting for my son’s summer vacation, when I can go to Indore, my birthplace,… sleep in my room, lovingly kept as it was, for me,… meet my friends, my teachers, and freely go shopping to my long known shops! My roots too will get snapped.

Given a chance I would go back to my dear dear Indore and my parental house. But, I am married and well settled in Gurgaon. Its destiny’s choice and I don’t regret it. Life is made of varied experiences. Death too is a fact, a certainty of life and I don’t want my parents to go on the final journey all alone. I want them to stay with me and give them all the care they showered on me as a child and even now.

But…., the big question! Can they handle all the loss of leaving everything which they cherished for 45 years? The house, the social circle, all the neighbours and friends who grew with them, who shaped their lives, everything and everyone that had become part of life?

Certain difficult situations in life are such which are not always avoidable. In such circumstances, His Divine Presence in our heart and mind provides solace and strength to sail through life. I keep praying, Lord whatever you do, make it happy for my parents. Not just my parents, but all parents living away from their loved ones!

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2 Responses

  1. Its a totally personal situation and very difficult. In fact even as I wrote this article, tears were rolling down my eyes. Anyway, we have to take life as it comes and look for the best! My prayers and best are are for you and your parents. Hope for the best!

  2. Well done.
    Thanks for a great article. I am also in such a situation where I feel helpless and don’t know where to turn to.
    Great stuff.