Humans ‘Communicate, Need Social Interaction’
To communicate is human. To only warn of predators and convey where to find food is what animals do. And humans THINK they are superior, simply because they developed complex languages. They alone kill for pleasure or due to hatred; animals kill only for food or out of fear to their own lives. The minute we see a snake we kill it as we do not know most snakes are not poisonous. Some call Man the most dangerous beast.
An old man who died is said to have left a note that he did not die of the disease he was told by doctors he suffered from.
The death, the note said, was due to loneliness.
Most rich kids give the parents, (or the one who survived among the two) a room on the first floor and leave them alone to die. So when I planned a book for the young to make them ready for their golden years, I first named it ‘The Outhouse On The First Floor‘ – Coming of (Old)Age in India. This was because the first floor room is nothing more than an outhouse or servant quarters or even the cattle shed where some old people are kept. With the foolish idea that a book’s catchy title attracts readers, my blurb was based on Dr. Margaret Mead’s famous anthropology book ‘Coming of Age in Samoa‘. I was wrong on all counts. A catchy name does not ensure success. My ‘A Town Called Penury’ on the changing culture of Indian journalism failed as most people thought penury was not extreme poverty but the name of a town.Few heard of Dr Mead or Samoa islands or the tribal rituals of ‘coming of age’. So I changed the name to ‘The Golden Years’ and decided to write not on the plight of the aged but on the psychological and mental, legal, medical and economic aspects of old age. And still it is unpublished. So name does not matter.
To research for the book I went to old-age homes. Then came the biggest surprise. The aged, who lived there in the company of people of their age, build their own cocoons and live inside them, thinking of their families, problems and the sun setting soon. The management too did not accept holding interaction sessions. The women there, who have a bhajan group, outlive the men.
A nutritionist offered them a life without medicines, doctors and disease, if they only changed their lifestyles.
The aged rejected the offer — though guaranteed .They refuse to change. They prefer the pills, isolation, loneliness – and death.
As in politics, the known devil is better than an unknown angel! Habits set for decades cannot be changed. As A.G.Gardner said, man is a bundle of habits — neatly tied up in a shirt and trousers.