Just like every day, ma called to wake me up this morning. In no mood to get up, I still answered the phone. “Good morning beta! Uth gae?,” she asked ever-so lovingly like she does day after day. “Hmmm. Hanji,” I answered casually. This was routine. Her calling me at least twice a day to check on me, and me replying nonchalantly.
While how was your day, what did you eat, how are your friends, what did you eat, how’s work, and what did you eat usually make most of her questions, my questions are restricted to how are you. But that one question is enough for her to talk about everything under the sun. She continues to tell me things about annoying relatives and more annoying neighbours which she forgot she already told me a day before, I listen to her – sometimes patiently and sometimes, not so patiently.
I would be lying if I say I never get annoyed at her. Sometimes, I do. And at other times, our conversation puts me into thinking mode. She is clearly forgetting things. She’s forgetting things because she is getting old. She is getting old and it makes me feel terrible.
We all talk about growing up, becoming an adult, feeling ‘old’ when we turn 25, and things we’d want to pursue before turning 40, and the likes, but in this crazy hullabaloo, we forget that some one else is ageing too. As we grow up, our parents are growing up too.
We are too busy counting the money in our banks, that we can’t notice the increasing number of wrinkles on their faces. We end up spending cash on friends, but don’t have the time to look for a present for them. We have all the time in the world to talk to people we are dating, but as soon as we talk to our parents for 5 minutes, our silly errands become more important and we look for an excuse to disconnect the call.
Living in different cities from your parents is tough as it is. You want to do so many things – get that job and hike that you’ve been wanting since forever, spend time with that special someone/finally find that someone, pursue your dreams, take out time for your hobbies, travel a little on weekends, spend some quality time with yourself, while also being able to provide for your parents and give them the luxuries they’ve always deserved.
The constant predicament that keeps knocking my head time and again is if I should work harder so that my parents can live an easy life and I can finally pay them back or should I be closer to them, for you know, even the thought of completing this sentence sends shivers down my spine.
Time is running and I feel helpless. I want to be beside them when they need me the most. I want to be with them when they excitedly create a social media account for the first time, just like they were with me on my first day at school, I want to learn recipes and feed them, just like they fed me with my favourite delicacies when I was younger, I want to get them their favourite things which they did not buy because they had to get my stupid over expensive birthday gift, I want to touch the wrinkles on their face and tell them how much I love them, just like they confessed their love for me day after day, even when I pooped on them. I want to provide for them, just like they provided for me.
Sure, age is just a number, but what about death? It is more than just a word. I want to spend as much time as I can with them before I regret being pulled away by this busy life.
My parents are ageing and I feel helpless.
Pictures used for representational purpose only