Oh, so lonely…

Being lonely is not a very pleasant emotion to feel. I have had my share of, ” oh,I’m so lonely” times. When I would travel alone in Europe or Asia for tournaments or when I would be lying on my bed with a big bandage on some part of my body. It’s extremely scary to be alone.  Being lonely is not just about being alone. You sometimes feel lonely even when there are 100 people around you. Its sometimes even difficult to give reasons of your loneliness to your best friends. I personally do believe that being lonely can drown you or make you a much stronger person.

Sheela kaku lives two floors below my flat. She is now 60 years old and lives with her son,daughter-in-law and her grandson. She lost her husband some 15 years back. She wears this really huge black coloured spectacles. When you look at her, her eyes look all magnified. She has jet white hair, which she doesn’t try to colour black. Both her son and daughter-in-law work in software companies and work late hours. She makes the food for all the family.  The grandson grew up under her care. Both the parents were too busy making money, so she took care of him.

I look at Sheela kaku and I try to understand what loneliness can really be like. The son has no time for her, neither does the daughter in law. I have hardly seen her going out with them in any of their outings.  The three of them go for a week’s holiday  leaving her alone in the house. She doesn’t have friends, and where do relatives have time to visit her in their busy lives. I hear her grandson yelling at her all the time.  It is so loud that the whole building can hear it. She is always trying  desperately to cajole him. Once  I heard  him saying, ” wait, till mother comes, I will tell her about this.”

What did all the love she gave her grand son amount to? Doesn’t she miss her husband? When was the last time she was hugged? If she is sad or happy, whom does she go to talk about it? What is it like living without a dream? What is it like living life, without a purpose? What is it like to cook food for the family and do it for years together and then to be left in a two bed room flat all alone when they holiday in Kashmir?

Once the rest of the family is gone, Sheela kaku opens the door of the flat and sits in the hall on the floor cutting vegetables or reading a newspaper with her magnified eyes. I guess she leaves the door open all the time hoping some body would come along and have a cup of tea with her, and may be she wouldn’t be that alone. Nobody comes in. Not even me.

We are all in such a hurry chasing dreams, making money, staying online that we forget the presence of an entire generation sitting in their houses just wanting to be talked to.  There are so many times I wish I could stop running. Where I could just take 5 mins off my day to go and sit with Sheela kaku and ask her how she’s doing? I still haven’t done it.

I have been lonely for a few days in 25 years of life. Sheela kaku has been lonely for the last 15 years. I look at her everyday and try to understand what she goes through, but I don’t think I’m capable of knowing. All I can do is take that 5 mins off my day and get myself inside that already open door.

3 thoughts on “Oh, so lonely…

  1. The value of women's upliftment and empowerment has an even deeper meaning when one reads such stories and the loss of values despite 'education' in some of the present day generation hits you hard And to think that there are many more Sheelas and many more of such obtuse second gen should open the eyes of young parents who have kids and have parents Another masterpiece from Aditi the girl with the golden heart


  2. I am all for giving some time to the lonely old people.In fact the young parents must realize that Sheelakaku is useful to them for looking after their child/housework etc. If Sheelakaku was not there, they would have to hire help who may not tolerate the child's tantrums & they will be constantly on the lookout for new help, besides spending a lot more & also risk the child being abused/pick-up bad habits. So, the secret lies in making them realize that Sheelatai is indispensible & must get the attention she needs to keep her away from such tragic circumstances. However, they are confidant that Sheelakau will not even think of the bold decision to go & stay in a 'old peoples home' (where she will have lot of company) & is,in fact, afraid of the idea that they will keep her in such a 'home'..Actually, the only thing that she will miss in such a home is the mostly indifferent parents/spoilt child. If only such old people remove the fear/stigma of being in a 'home', from their mind, the situation can change. The few, who may actually spare time for old people like Sheelakaku, can visit such 'homes' instead..Alternatively,Sheelakaku can continue to be with her loved ones & not get totally neglected, if she makes it clear that she
    is willing & will shift to a 'home',if she is totally unhappy staying wih them.


  3. Life is not easy! There are no quick-fix solutions to anything. I feel very sorry for the plight of Sheelakaku. Old age can be a curse and a burden to many. One has to learn to prepare oneself for any contingencies that may come up and coping is a part of very stage of life that we cannot avoid!!


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