The Only Difference is a Heart That doesn’t Beat

Look at this photograph! It conveys lots of messages! Lots of news! Lots of shades and colours! This is the photograph of the inmates of an Old Age Home in Bangalore.

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Look at this photograph! It conveys lots of messages! Lots of news! Lots of shades and colours! This is the photograph of the inmates of an Old Age Home in Bangalore.
What does it convey?

ONE: Death is imminent. It may come at any time, even in sleep. Nobody can conquer death. No force on earth could delay it. Nobody can escape from it.

TWO: It also blatantly exposes the darker side of the society. Who is that old lady? Definitely she is not without sons, daughters, son-in-laws and daughter-in-laws. But, look how her end came? At Old Age Home! This trend of sending the parents to Old Aged Homes is alarming. The mushrooming of such homes and their increasing numbers is distressing. This trend has shattered the long cherished ethos of the society.

THREE: The deceased should have passed away in sleep. As the stiffened legs and folded hands of her indicate the state at which all came to an end.

FOUR: The heartrending part of this end is that it was not noticed by anybody. The warden or supervisor and other inmates of the Home might have thought she is still asleep. The stiffened legs indicate that nobody noticed the end when it came.

FIVE: If somebody was there at the moment of death, he or she would have straightened the hands, legs and closed the eye-lids. It is possible to straighten them, immediately after the death. But once the dead body gets stiffened it is impossible to straighten them.

SIX: The off-springs of the deceased should have declined to take the body and perform the last rites. They should have asked the Old Aged Home to take care of it. Or they might have given the wrong address and contact numbers. Or they might have been in some far away land, unable to return. Hence the caretakers of the Old Aged Home themselves should have wrapped the dead body.

SEVEN: After wrapping up, they might be waiting for the mortuary van or vehicle to carry it to the cemetery.

EIGHT: The whole Old Aged Home would have been engulfed with pity, grief and sorrow. Look at the lady in the adjacent bird. She has faced death! Could she sleep?

NINE : Each and every inmate of the Home might have recalled each and every actions, words of the deceased.

TEN: The walls are unclean; the floor is unwashed; the beds are without bedspreads. It must be an Old Aged Home catering to the needs of the middle class people.

ELEVEN: It is up to your imagination.

An interesting point to be noted is that the trend of sending parents to the Old Aged Home is not found in Muslim societies. When we at Samarasam Tamil Fortnightly visited such a Home and conversed with the activist involved, he shared his pleasant surprise. “There are so many Old Age Homes in the city; but we could not find a single Muslim in any of the homes.”

This is not surprising. Islam stresses every Muslim male and female to take care of their parents.
The Qur’an says:

Be good to your parents: and should both or any one of them attain old age with you, do not say to them even “fie” neither chide them, but speak to them with respect, and be humble and tender to them and say, “Lord, show mercy to them as they nurtured me when I was small.” Your Lord is best aware of what is in your hearts, If you are righteous, He will indeed forgive those who relent and revert (to serving Allah).