Sons versus Aged Parents It is a celebration time amongst the old folks when their children are blessed with a son. The radiance on their faces and spring in their feet declare loudly that this is what they were waiting for. In spit of all the claims that there is no difference whether it is a girl or boy it is evident that son really makes a difference. It is amazing to see that not only grandparents but new moms too react to the news strongly. After discussing it with many grandparents what I gathered was that son is supposed to bear the responsibility of his old parents and the last rites performed by the son assures of heaven after their death! I saw many young women who were expecting and claiming that they want a healthy child, son or daughter doesn’t matter but in reality when they see their son or daughter their reaction is quite contradictory! One of my acquaintances who had a daughter was expecting again. I saw her health deteriorating day by day. When I asked her about the reason she burst into tears. She feared that she would again give birth to a daughter, and if it happens she will kill herself! That was the most pathetic reaction I ever saw. Interesting was the fact that there was no pressure of her mother in law, husband or any other family member. She went for many ultra sounds in her pregnancy and when she was hundred percent sure she went ahead. One of my friend’s sis is staying abroad and has two most beautiful daughters but I was literally shocked to know that she is trying for a boy since many years and finally delivered a son after few abortions. Isn’t it height of inhumanity? Now the question is are sons really that important? And what I saw in this life so far I strongly can say that irrespective of their sex, a child is important indeed but a daughter is no less important in any case but at times she can be better than the boys. There was a death in the family few days back. The couple has three sons. But when this uncle’s wife died few years back she was waiting in ICU for days, muttering their names, holding my hands and asking whether they called? Were they coming? Do they know their mother is serious? Every time I lied to her that there was some strike due to that they are unable to reach but they are calling every day. The fact was despite repeated calls and gravity of situation they only reached when she died in misery. What I gathered from the family is that she was the best mother a child could have! Whole of her life she sacrificed on them, not maintaining relations with others in family, just looking after them and she died a lonely death in my husbands arms, eyes on the door. This uncle too died in the same situation. He was on ventilator when they reached and could not even realize that they were there. What is the use of thirteen day mourning after their departure? It looked like a drama, would that get erased what ever pain they felt on the death bed? Would their souls bless them ever? I am not sure. I remember when I was in Agra and in college there lived an old couple. They had a married son in America, doing very well. My parents used to visit them often, because of their ill health. Dad was President of the community that time, so it was a duty as they were staying nearby. They were living in a rented barsati set. As far as I remember this old man was very weak and suffering from Diabetes. Off n on mom used to take him to hospital. Once doctor told them it is futile to get him and exert as he is in his last days. So my father called his son who did not even listen about his condition. Then the relatives were contacted and they assured that the son is reaching within a week. One fine morning a child came and told that the old woman passed away. When my parents reached there they were shocked to see that it was indeed the old woman who was in better health and shape who had passed away. Dad started calling everyone and informed his son about his father’s death. He said “Don’t wait for me and please arrange the cremation. I will send the check whatever is needed.’’ Dad was really angry but decided to go ahead. The husband was looking bewildered; my mother sat near him and asked whether he needed something? He said –water, so my mom made him drink with spoon and he closed his eyes. Two tears fell on the pillow. My mother tried to give him support but he died in her arms the same moment! They were cremated together and my father who was not even remotely related to them performed the last rites. The son whom they sent to America with all their bank balance did not have time for them. Isn’t it annoying? Inhuman! Why children change and become unkind and insensitive towards their parents? I know sometimes they may react badly or say something to hurt their children but isn’t it cruel to isolate them in their old age? Isn’t it cruel to insult them and behave indifferently even when they are staying in the same house? Despite their whims are they be subjected to ill behavior? Can’t we be little sympathetic and caring and teach our children moral values through actions rather than words? Aren’t they entitled of respect and love from the same children who were looked after by them? I guess they should be given the benefit of their old age and treated respectfully. What say?