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Senior citizens in India: Neglected and lost
WHEN WAS the last time you witnessed profound joy in the eyes of a man or lady with wrinkles, grey hair and spectacles staggering with sedate shaky steps? When did you last see our elders fully enjoying the special status that is granted to them?
WHEN WAS the last time you witnessed profound joy in the eyes of a man or lady with wrinkles, grey hair and spectacles staggering with sedate shaky steps? When did you last see our elders fully enjoying the special status that is granted to them?
 
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The senior citizens in India are conferred with some of the best rights but starkly to its contrast very few of them get implemented simply because there is little thought that goes into it. As I was standing in a Calcutta bus that presumably belonged to the fresh batch of buses, I was pleased to infer from the sign painted ‘S. Citizen’ that the first four seats were reserved for the elderly.
 
My pleasure was cut short by the sight of an old man surely falling under the Senior Citizen category, who after stepping in, stood on wobbly legs with the seats reserved for the aged being brazenly occupied by some adults. I resisted the urge to teach them a lesson since I was way younger than those men who looked to be in their late thirties.
 
I browsed through sanguinely hoping that someone would protest this barefaced act of disgrace. The belief that there is little or no time in the schedule of a person that could be devoted to the elderly was only restored as I haplessly glanced through the reluctant faces from one end of the bus to the other.
 
As the ride continued for a further ten minutes, another senior citizen, counter to the typical slipshod attire, in a crisp shirt with trousers and walking boots stepped in and intended straight where he was supposed to, looked at the signpost carefully, took a quick look at the men who occupied those seats, took another moment and finally asked the younger of them to vacate the seat by saying, ‘Seat ta chere dao baba’(Please give up the seat), and gesticulated to show him the banner, ‘S. Citizen’.
 
The man, with negligible embarrassment on his face, silently retreated. Thwarting the possibility of any reaction or facial expression on the man’s part, he sternly seated himself maintaining a fusion of two expressions: a grin reflecting forgiveness and a triumphant bearing that revealed a rare feeling which could only appear when the generally uncared for exerts his/her right.
 
The other old man who did not take this initiative was not present then as he exited prior to this incident, but his presence would have given me the opportunity to look at another victorious façade. Taking a cue from this and setting this as a tiny example, our esteemed senior citizens should demand every right and claim every facility that is endowed to them.
 
This small incident though, does take one into the introspective mood forcing to realize how fathers and mothers of men and women amongst us struggle and strive to maintain the dignity that they are, in every respect, worthy of.
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