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I despair of children who prey on parents in their old age.  Parasites, no less. 

The old lady working for me is seventy-two or so she told me on the second day of starting work for me. Honestly, I did not know she was past seventy when I employed her. When I did come to know I was horrified. But I let her stay on as it meant she could lead a life of self-sufficiency with some dignity. [Read an earlier post about her, here] At present, she works in two houses in our locality and manages to make ends meet. Just about. That is when her children are not trying to take away her hard earned money on one pretext or another. 

Last week when she got her salary, out of the goodness of her heart, she gave five hundred rupees from it to the son with whom she is staying. Do you know what his response was? A surly “What can one do with a mere five hundred?!” I wanted right then itself walk to his place and clobber him for saying that to his old mother. This is the same son of hers who took all her money, as temporary loan, promising to return it in monthly installments and then decided conveniently to forget. Now he has the nerve to talk about five hundred being a measly sum, and that when he owed her.

Her four other children are no better. The other day, her eldest daughter called her up. Naturally it was no coincidence that it was soon after the mother got her salary. She, the daughter started crying, saying her husband’s pension was delayed and they were starving, surviving on rice gruel. For all I know, it could be true. But why badger her old mother when she has her own husband and two grown up children (married) to turn to? Especially when she can’t be bothered to help the mother in return?

Sometimes I want to tick her off and tell her to be firm with her children, not let them use her. But I know for a fact that though she grumbles about them ‘sponging off on their old mother’, she would end up buying whatever ration or gifts they request. Sigh. Years of playing the submissive, generous and loving mother cannot be wiped off. Moreover, I am pretty sure she is secretly enjoying (like many of her ilk) the role of a sacrificing mother that society has dinned into their heads is how mothers should be. Double sigh. On second thoughts make that a triple.

©Shail Mohan 2016