By Er. Mohammad Ashraf Fazili
We were taught in 7th class English text that grandfather says: “Time waits for none not even for the king.” The passage of time is ever certain and the changes that come with it. We are all growing older every day, whether we like it or not. Although we wish that we could stay young and full of energy, but this we cannot do. Hence, we need to find ways to adjust our minds as nature seeks to adjust our bodies to the changes of time.
Changes continue to occur in our bodies at puberty, between childhood and adolescence, which can be explained by medical experts. Hereditary influences are very strong in determining the length of a person’s life. Many people are looking for some tonic etc. that might help to prolong their years and consult doctors, which often serve a useful purpose, for many older people are found suffering from mild cases of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and other conditions, all of which can be successfully treated when discovered in time.
Despite all this, the passing of time always brings subtle changes that cannot be ignored. A good look in a mirror can serve as an indication right now. There is no need to worry, instead those extra lines often add a richness and character to the features never seen in our younger years.
Luckily, there is no sharp dividing line between one period of life and another. The years of maturity strike us unawares, and most are scarcely conscious of the passing time. But we must face up to the profound changes that lie ahead. We may have to help some of our loved ones during the closing years of their lives, before doing this for ourselves. We should try to prolong their lives, for often they are suffering and would rather be at rest. But it is our responsibility to make their remaining days truly happy and satisfying.
Much depends on the attitude of the mind. A cheerful optimistic outlook is of greatest importance in helping to face the infirmities of age. It is worth appreciating to find some elderly person still managing to live well despite some real infirmity. On the other hand, it is saddening to find another with some minor illness just about to give up and die because of depression and discouragement.
Living successfully usually depends upon choosing a suitable diet, remining vigorous and active, getting sufficient sleep, and maintaining a wholesome attitude towards life in general. It is the responsibility of younger people to always encourage those older in years to “think young.” They need to be helped to be optimistic despite pain and disability. This attitude is the first and perhaps the most important step toward better health.
The Holy Quran states about behaviour towards parents in old age as: “If one of them or both attain old age with thee, say not ‘Fie’ unto them, but speak to them a gracious word.” Again, “And lower unto them the wing of submission through mercy and say: My Lord! Have mercy on them both as they did care for me when I was little.”
Instances are not wanting where in most cases old parents must stay back at their homes, while as their offspring have shifted outside the UT even to foreign countries for job. Many parents in old age appear to have got neglected in old age. There was a proposal of setting up old age homes in the UT but it has yet to take shape. Many years back there were a few reading rooms, one was run by J&K Information Centre near Partap Park and another at Sheri Kashmir Park where almost all newspapers and magazines were available for reading to the public. These would also serve as a meeting place to the elderly retired people. This practice has got discontinued perhaps due to the turmoil. A well-maintained meeting place for elderly people in different localities for their interaction is a need of the hour. It is said that joys shared with others are more enjoyed and so is the case with sorrows that become lighter when shared with others.
Er. Mohammad Ashraf Fazili is a Former Chief Engineer and can be reached at email@example.com