Anna (elder brother) and Akka (elder sister) will become mama (uncle) and Mami (aunty) when they cross the thirties. The role that they have played till then changes a lot. They were studying and leading a happy carefree life till then. Suddenly the new mama has to work and work a lot, to earn lots of money. His sisters get married (Mami?) and take up the job of running the house. The job is much more difficult than mama’s job. But the world does not recognize it. Nowadays, she has not only to manage the house but also work like her husband and brothers. Naturally she is surrounded by tension and is edgy. This state of affairs goes on for a long time. Children come in to the house. They become annas and akkas and slowly are groomed to become mamas and mamis. It is at this time that the mama and mamis realize that they have to become thathas(granpas) and Pattis(granmas).
While Pattis who are healthy continue to be a part of the household management , by providing help in cooking and looking after the grand children, The thatha who was till then wedded to his work is left high and dry. Suddenly he finds that he has nothing to do.
The pleasant chit chat with children, the intermissions in the kitchen over planning of menu, discussions about future of their children etc are again not there. Since Thatha had spent most of his life in talking with friends in office, he does not know any of his neighbors. His friends have all become thathas and rarely move out. He finds that his children are earning much more money than him and are not bothered about the small wealth that he has. His grand children who prattle sweet nothings in English do not understand why their Thatha is so morose. The only friend in the house (his wife who is a Patti) is extremely busy looking after the needs of his grand children. Nobody seems to be interested in politics or newspaper. He, not being used to sit in front of the idiot box, finds it very boring. He broods and worries. This makes him imagine all the sickness that he has only heard.
Then comes the next stage. Patti who was needed as a service provider is not able to move out due to arthritis. Her grand children do not like the food prepared by her. .They would prefer north Indian food, pizzas and burgers. The brooding gang becomes richer by one more member. The sick tired people in the house are doubled. Suddenly the mami of the house realizes that, there are two useless people in the house, who have to be looked after. The home that was heaven becomes hell to thatha and Patti. If God gets angry and presents them with serious sickness, they crush themselves into dust. A nurse or a nurseman is appointed to look after them. Some mamas and mamis think that it is too much of a botheration and send them to old age homes.
These old age homes do not help them much. One hundred percent of the occupants of these homes are brooding thathas and Pattis who start cursing the world and the social order from morning to evening. Of course God has been kind enough nowadays. Many of them fall prey to Alzheimer’s disease. This blessing disease makes them forget everything and possibly they are no more brooding. He has also been kind enough to recall them back after some time.
What can we do about this pathetic saga? We can definitely keep ourselves very busy by engaging ourselves in some hobbies or social activities. It would be preferable that as long as the physical dependence does not set in, we live alone in our house .We (Thathas and Pattis) are a very influential lot. We can surely build up Senior citizen homesteads like those existing in
USA. In such societies we can build
up a social culture of our own without disturbing, the youngsters. WE can
organize day care centers with transport facility so that when the Mama and Mamis go to office and
Akkas and Annas have gone to college, we
can be safe and build up a social life in such centers.. We can contribute a
lot with our knowledge. We can surely teach lot of poor children at our home.
If we are of the talking type, we can do fund collection for several good
deeds. We can visit old age homes (if we are not already in one) and bring
cheer to those lonely souls. We can help our friends and their wives, if they
are sick. What I am trying to say is that, we should make others feel that
these Thathas and Pattis are also very useful members of the society.