Born, educated, employed, married
Had children, educated them,
They got employed, married
Begot children. It is a perennial cycle.
We, the seniors of above sixty,
Neither belong to the previous generation
Nor merge with the present decade
Fighting to live in between the devil and the deep sea.
Memories of our young age
We obeyed parents, teachers and elders
Meticulously followed their advice
Lived a life taking everything in stride.
We lived in our youth in a joint family
With grandparents along with
Brothers and sisters, paternal
Uncles and aunts with their children
A banyan tree of ten to twenty members
The word selfishness didn’t exist.
The eldest man managed the finance
The eldest woman headed the kitchen.
No doubt there were many shortcomings
But everyone sailed along with the current
With quarrels, murmurs, and displeasure
No one dared to break the family bondage.
Modern Vanaprastha as prescribed in the ancient Hindu text of Manusmriti
After toiling for several years to fulfil worldly duties such as running the family, begetting children and grandchildren, one has to hand over the responsibility of running the family to the next generation and go to Vana (forest) to lead a detached and serene life.
The main concern for seniors is to adjust and accommodate according to the expectations of the children. That is where the problem starts and results in a strained relationship. After their hair turns grey and their skin gets wrinkled, to live happily and allow the heirs to live happily, seniors had to go to modern vana.
Majority of us at Serene Pelican belong to the third stage of Ashram namely Vanaprastha. Neither attachment nor detachment with heirs but leading a good life not being a burden to heirs and at the same time living a dignified and independent life with quality care.
Independent villas (kudils), good food at A/C dining hall, well organised housekeeping service, 24×7 medical assistance, A/C auditorium, gymnasium, prayer hall, makes this a great place to stay in. No tension for the seniors, as well as no worry for their children. The seniors are in an enclave where their health is looked after and their children don’t need not worry about them. The inmates are mostly in the age group of 60 and 80 and a few are above 80. In modern vana there are no wild animals to fear. Seniors from various walks of life live happily with an extended warranty of life.
This blog post is by Serene Pelican (Puducherry) resident A. Ramasami.