content top

THE NR EYE: Helping left behind parents to help themselves

The article titled “THE NR EYE: Helping left behind parents to help themselves” is displayed here with the courtesy of its publisher – The Peninsula.

Read the original article as published on Monday, 19 may 2008.

You may read the article dugg by nripaadmin.

The information of NRIPA, vadodara is highlighted in blue coloured text.

THE NR EYE: Helping left behind parents to help themselves    Monday, 19 May 2008 03:16
“How they used to fight. When the TV was on, my daughter would want to watch the dance or a film, and that’s precisely the time when my son wanted to watch a tennis match or a car race. The stereo system was always on. Full blast. “How they used to fight. When the TV was on, my daughter would want to watch the dance or a film, and that’s precisely the time when my son wanted to watch a tennis match or a car race. The stereo system was always on. Full blast.
Today there are 66 channels on my TV and I got the TV all to myself. I spend time switching from one channel to the other. The music sits there dumb and gathering dust, eagerly waiting to be played. The rooms are sparklingly clean. Things are in their place. Tables are all empty.
But I miss the clutter. I miss the chaos and the fights. There was a time when I would complain that in this big house I had no room for myself and for my activities. Today there are so many rooms for me to use, but I do not have the heart to use them. The rooms and I keep waiting for our children to come back to use them.”
Those words, I found in a blog, come straight out of the aching heart of a mother who is one of thousands suffering from what they call the ‘empty nest syndrome.’
It is one of the cruelest realities of modern day India. Men and women who toiled and sweated, sacrificed all pleasures and eagerly awaited the day when they could rest on the strong young arms of their children, suddenly find that the biggest sacrifice of all was yet to come.
For the sake of the careers and ambitions of their children, they have to give up the very reason they were living for.
It hurts all the more because, perhaps, this generation of parents was traditionally and culturally more emotional. Their children take pride in being ‘practical.’ When, subsequently, the children of these children take off one day they might not feel the hurt so much. But the ones in their 50s, 60s and 70s now, do.
Having branded the migrant generation as ‘practical’ I shall be quick to add that they too are victims of circumstances – circumstances that demand you forget the past for the sake of the future.
They do have some emotions and attachment towards their parents which often manifests in guilt behaviour like sending home expensive gifts and hiring more-than-needed domestic help.
You can’t be with them, but there are certain things you could do to make their life a little easier and hence save yourself from a guilt trip.
To begin with there are some excellent self-help groups to which NRIs can introduce their parents. I’m surprised to find from my talks with the many Indian friends I have in the Gulf region that most of them are unaware of these groups.
To the best of my knowledge, the first such major group – the Non-Resident Indian Parents’ Organisation (NRIPO) was set up in 1994 mainly with members whose children were in the US. It is now a registered charitable trust.
Arms of the organization have now spread out not just in all the metros but also in several bigger tier-2 cities of India. The groups take care of most of the psychological and physical needs of their members.
The Trust in Pune, for example, has tied up with 11 top hospitals which admit members of the trust without deposits. It has grouped parents according to geographical locations. They meet once every month to discuss issues and find solace in each other’s experiences.
The trust organises programmes by inviting banks and other financial institutions to educate members about various investment schemes available in the market.It insists on members preparing their wills. A copy of each is deposited with the trust, which is opened after the death of the member.NRIPO has another scheme called “one-by-two” under which two families act as minders to single parents and help them in times of need.
These families regularly call the single parent, meet him/her at regular intervals and help in times of sickness or other emergencies. The volunteers also take care of daily shopping and bill payments.
The Baroda-based NRIPA published a newsletter to promote contacts among parents and children, arranges lectures, seminars, workshops to give information with regard to visas, passports, medical insurance, foreign exchange regulation and other related topics, and contacts government agencies, foreign missions and other related agencies to sort out the problems of NRI parents. It has even set up a small library of books, magazines and journals and documents related to NRI affairs and helpful to them.
The NRIPA, Bangalore, has an SOS cell which offers non-medical backup to members in case of emergencies. It publishes a membership directory and also a quarterly newsletter, and is planning to open its branches in other Indian cities.
Then there is APIRO – Association of Parents of Indians Resident Overseas, India. It has been formed to bring all associations and organizations of NRI parents together under a single umbrella.
It aims to coordinate the working of all the organizations which would result in unified and powerful support for desirable facilities, special provisions, rules and regulations, etc. for Indians resident overseas (NRIs) as well as their parents.
It is hoped that the Apex Body, with the backing of organizations all over India, will be able to take up, powerful leverage, matters of common interest with the governments – Indian and Foreign, embassies and consulates, financial institutions, judiciary, airlines, hotel chains, travel agents, insurance companies, hospital and doctors in India and abroad, local administration, police and other concerned agencies.
It is indeed quite wonderful to see how these parents, robbed of the company and support of their beloved children, have not just coped with the loss but have gone ahead to make a better life for themselves.
Indeed, if you’re concerned about your parents back home, get them introduced to one such group and see the difference. It that happens you could also be gracious enough to offer some support to these groups.

Comments are closed.