I fondly recall those days of growing up in a house, which always resembled an overcrowded railway station. There were no taps flowing with piped water, sophisticated toilets, with trendy bathroom fittings or a modular kitchen to boast of. But there was plenty of human warmth, laughter, light banter, some times serious fights, ending up with concerned people walking away from the house and then returning back in a jiffy. No hard feelings, no apologies. No need for watching those tear jerkers of yesteryears actors Shivaji Ganeshan, Savitri etc, since we were assured of a daily quota of emotional dramas free of charge, in ample amounts. Coming to the present times, the growth of nuclear families provide immense scope to develop individuality of every family member, offers a lot of privacy, and individual space, things which we couldn’t even dream about, given the tiny living spaces teeming with ten members. Along with the prolific growth of nuclear families, there also came the crèches for children, quite convenient for the working couple, homes with advanced security systems , where the children could be monitored 24 hours, and old age homes for senior citizens, terms unheard of six decades back. Does the existence of such homes, speak well of a society living in complete Harmony or are they in total isolation without the warmth of close blood relations? Very soon I realized the ugly reality behind the infinite growth of nuclear families, and old age homes, when I went in search of a rented apartment. Most of the owners within the city insisted on a family of just 3 or 4 members, including the kids, the sky high rentals not matching the apartment size. When I brought out the topic of my bedridden mom, I could see the glowing positive responses and warm smiles from the house owners face till then, vanishing instantly, bereft of emotions, their face resembling a silent Death Valley, and the result was - you know, it was a - straight No. It’s not only the prospective DILs who did not want a baggage of In laws prowling behind them, Even the house owners were strictly against the size of family not exceeding 4. No guests and if at all you had guests, no staying for more than 4 days. No dogs, no non vegetarians, no late night parties, no, no no——— It was almost six months that our hunt for a decent accommodation continued, yielding no results. It was then that a eureka moment stuck me, when I shouted Retirement homes or old age homes - for all the three of us. Old age homes there were many we walked through, but none were ready to accept a bed ridden patient. Those who were ready to accept, had the worst sanitary conditions. Those vacant looks on the faces of the inmates wherever we went, gave me sleepless nights. Most of the inmates were not allowed to talk to outsiders, but when everyone repeated that they were taken care well of, there was a streak of suspicion creeping in my mind. Most of them in their nighties and their hair chopped off due to medical reasons, presented a pitiable sight. When I went through a series of online videos in search of a decent accommodation, I stumbled upon scores of talk shows, regarding old age homes, in which, the heart breaking narration of their joining the old age homes brought tears in my eyes. Many of them were tortured both physically and mentally, by their grown up kids, which prodded the elderly couple to leave their homes without a word. Many of them still not in contact with their children -the sons or daughters, who never for a moment thought about searching for their lost parents, those selfless human beings, who had given their entire life for them. Most of the old people had mortgaged their house for their sons education, sold off their jewellery for their daughters marriage, saving not a single pie for those rainy days. In their twilight years when they should be sharing happy times with their grand and great grand children, they were spending their last days or years in those old age homes, which gave them everything except the human warmth which only their children could give. The retirement homes was a complete contrast to these old age homes, where some of them had a long waiting list of clients who would like to have a place in their homes. Many of them had beauty parlors, a trendy Gym, library, Doctors on visit, Ambulance, concierge services, laundry, attenders, perfect luxury and great ambiance which only money could buy. Yes, the prices were so high that only the rich or parents of NRIs could afford. Some problems which human beings cannot solve, silent prayers to the Almighty get solved by itself. My dear Mom passed away and we had no hassles in shifting from a 1500 sq ft flat to a small 500 sq feet house located in the heart of the city. If Me and my DH had been young, we would have enjoyed the cuddly proximity the small place offered, but with old age we took all precautions to see we did not have a heads on collision . The fear of loosing our precious, pricey dentures and broken ribs always put us into the habit of respectfully giving way to each other, one virtuous habit which was missing all these years between us. The only noises that emanate within the four walls of our tiny space are loud farts and belching, while we look at each other with suspicion even as foul smells of methane and sulfur dioxide fill up the air. Hi folks, please dont be jealous of the perfect ‘chemistry’ of understanding between us. Guests - yes we have lots of them - loud crows cawing, flying around restlessly, squirrels chasing each other with their loud mating calls, humming birds, invisible Koels with their full throated solitary cooing, screeching sounds of happy parakeets flying around and a tall green Mango tree which graciously accommodates all these living creatures free of charge. As Life goes on peacefully in our Old Age Home, I fondly recall those precious moments when the small house where I grew up, eternally resonating with human laughter and friendly chatter! welcome one and all to our Old Age Home!