Sometime back a friend had shared this article, by a Mamta Joshi, on her Facebook timeline. It was swamped with ‘ likes’ by so many of us who could instantly relate to the sentiments expressed. Tonight, with the festive-week over and the kids having left, i share those words that speak for so many of our generation…
When the ‘Empty Nest’ is full
“A time comes in our lives when we all have to face the inevitable. The law of nature prevails. The little ones have to leave the nest and the parents have to face the ‘empty nest syndrome’.
The kids leave home, for higher goals, not only to fulfill their dreams but parental aspirations as well. As parents we have to choke back sobs, gulp our ‘filmy emotions’, put on our best smiles and wave goodbyes bravely. How long can we hold them back! The fledglings have to fly. It is strange to have the remote in our hands, watch tv news without protest and wear clothes without critical comments. Their favourite cold drinks lose fizz inside the fridge and the house remains a junk-free zone, without chips and crunchy snacks. Cooking in the kitchen is no longer challenging or exciting. They are more visible during college but once they become professionals and start working, we get used to their absence. One is happy to see them earning their own ’bread’, proud that they are not as helpless as one thought they would be; yet overflowing emotions keep us pushing back in time when they were dependent and needed us more than they do now.
And then life becomes topsy- turvy when these migratory birds return to the nest…
After years of inertia, a twister seems to have hit our household. Our children are back for a short break, for a family get-together, over a long week end.
The unceasing banter is on, gifts are unloaded and love is overflowing in the air. The debris of wrapping paper all over the house, there is a lifetime supply of toiletries, perfumes , bags and cosmetics despite a firm admonition to bring nothing. It suddenly feels good be a receiver than to be a giver. The roles have been reversed.
While it’s time to bathe in the warmth of their nearness, the daily routine has gone awry. The biological clock of the new generation acts strangely. Afternoon is the new dawn. The beds remain unmade late in the morning. Breakfast is around lunchtime and energy levels of these nocturnal creatures builds up after twilight, just when it is time for us to hit the sack. The computer is on post-midnight and to my husband’s dismay, the T.V. remote is not in his control anymore, any time.
Every available plug point at home is replete with cell chargers. The fridge is overburdened with leftovers yet food is ordered or carried from Take-away’s for the kids want to maximize their quality time and savour the taste of the familiar and the unfamiliar. Old joints have to be visited and new joints have to be explored.
The cameras keep clicking and its time to take out our fineries, kept away for occasional wear and pose for posterity, digtally. Endless rounds of maniacal shopping makes us dizzy and we become familiar with the changing cityscape, having remained house bound for long.
When these young ones had flown away from the nest , they had left us shattered. For days we were disoriented but somehow we survived and gradually fell into our regulated, bland routine. Green tea, yoga, meditation and of course long silent walks are temporarily suspended and all the control over sugar, salt, oil and cholesterol levels has taken a back seat.
First their absence and now their presence churns within us strange emotions. How is it that they survive in such a chaotic world, full of deadlines, with such ease? How can they handle multiple tasks, juggling their personal and professional lives by leading wired lives? In this puzzling maze of hyper-text, how do we keep up a dialogue with them, which makes them bond with us?
Suddenly it dawned on me that there is a method in this madness. The more critical we are of their times, the more we are a part of the nostalgia brigade, the more difficult it will become for the twain to meet. We have to move with times keeping our overpowering past at bay.
If we have to connect with them, we have to be a part of this digitized world otherwise they will disconnect.“ Child is the father of man”, Wordsworth had cogently said long ago. There is time now for us to learn from them virtually!
Let us undo a bit of ourselves, rewire our static selves and just revel in the present…”