1st October was International Day of Older Persons.
I didn’t know it when I took my baby girl to chat with an old lady who was sitting alone on a bench in a crowded mall. I saw the lady, in her plain white blouse and simple saree, looking in the direction of where her family members had probably gone. I took my daughter’s stroller next to the lady and we parked ourselves on the bench. Just as expected, the lady’s face lit up and she and my daughter began their conversations in the form of tongue-wagging and baby language. They sat thus, entertaining each other, till the lady’s family arrived and handed her an ice-cream. She looked at it and said she wished she could share it with my little girl. Always ready to eat anything everyone else is eating, my daughter leaned forward, but I had to stop the glorious act right there with an apology. It would have been perfect and all that but kiddo some rules are rules. After much cheek fondling and adoration all around, we said goodbye.
And it got me thinking.
Old age homes (there aren’t many) and orphanages should collaborate for the general merriment of it all. I don’t know how logistically sound this thought is, but it looks good at the outset. I may be naïve in thinking that this would help anything, or anyone. But at a very basic level it seems doable. A hundred thousand pages have been written on how old people and kids are alike in a lot of ways. And those who have been abandoned by their blood relatives have a lot more in common than others. So putting them together in a room is likely to do a whole lot of good.
After a certain age, kids want to disappear whenever an adult calls out to them and they begin to apply the Garbage-in-Garbage-Out concept to everything that is said. But interacting with golden oldies who aren’t sermonizing might be fun.
Of course I am neither a child in an orphanage nor a person living by myself in an old age home. But this is a free country (for the most part) and the thought seemed worth sharing.
P.S.: This is a copyrighted concept so if you’ve got the resources to make this work, I want in on it. Not because I need your money darling, but because I don’t want you to muck it up.