Many a times, I heard of incidences where the children are embarrassed to accompany their parents or relatives who hail from the countryside. Upon questioned by someone, they are on the pretext of saying that the very person next to him/her is someone from his/her village.
The most important and the person who deserves all our attention and gratitude turn out to be someone unknown. The hard toiled times where they spent their time paving the path for their children is being rewarded with them being deserted and abandoned when they needed their support the most. There is no point in disguising our family background; instead it is always better to work for elevating it to greater height.
If narrate an incident in this context; I accompanied my mother to the Imtrat hospital in an attempt to have some light thrown over her health issue of occasional stomach pain and mouth ulcer.
There, I spotted an old man seemingly in his sixties; with red-tinted lips owing to incessant chewing of betel nut; hard, weather-bitten face with a few array of wrinkles adorning it; a faded pant inside his knee-length gho cascading down until his ankle; crack-laden feet crammed into his distorted slipper that might have suffered quite a tremendous pressure for a considerable period of time.
I instantly followed him sensing that he might be someone in need of help. My guess wasn’t wrong. Neither was my instinct. There was no one to accompany him. So I offered my service to first understand his medical condition and then translate it to the doctor. For that, I had his medical condition dug; a trailing remnant and a nagging issue that dates back to more than a decade.
He went on remorsefully recounting the several attempts and treatments undergone to recover from the acute itching that his entire body was subjected to over a course of 13 years. The extent to which he suffered was evident from the bruises his brutal yet satiable scratching has led to and the ensuing scars.
I played the role of a mediator; in swaying the medical condition of the old man to the doctor and his suggestions and recommendations in return. I accompanied him to the Injection room, the washroom, the medicine counter and walked with him till Changzamtog.
On the way, he shared his grievances that it is very difficult for illiterate and old people like him to reel with the pace of the modern world. He planned to go on pilgrimage to Nepal in 2 days but he didn’t get his money exchanged for Rupees. After running to the bank for several times which demanded so many documents, they simply said there is no Rupee when everything was done and ready.
Today, I met this man at the Memorial Chorten. I was glad to learn that he felt relieved after taking the injection and the medicines and could sleep peacefully. He time and again reiterated his gratitude to me; not for relieving his pain but for rather facilitating him. He uttered his prayers and good wishes for me. I was happy myself for being able to make a slight difference in someone else’s life. The very thought enlivens me.
The very fact that he has children in Thimphu but their absence from attending him is a mystery that needs to be illuminated. It is heart-wrenching to witness our senior citizens be in the seclusion of loneliness and hopelessness while the younger generation loiter and hover about in boredom.