This was narrated by an IAF pilot at a Seminar recently on Human Relations:
Venkatesh Balasubramaniam (who works for IIT) describes how his gesture of booking an air ticket for his father, his maiden flight, brought forth a rush of emotions and made him (Venkatesh) realize that how much we all take for granted when it comes to our parents.
My parents left for our native place on Thursday and we went to the airport to see them off. In fact, my father had never traveled by air before, so I just took this opportunity to make him experience the same. In spite of being asked to book tickets by train, I got them tickets on Jet Airways. The moment I handed over the tickets to him, he was surprised to see that I had booked them by air. The excitement was very apparent on his face, waiting for the time of travel. Just like a school boy, he was preparing himself on that day and we all went to the airport, right from using the trolley for his luggage, the baggage check-in and asking for a window seat and waiting restlessly for the security check-in to happen. He was thoroughly enjoying himself and I, too, was overcome with joy watching him experience all these things.
As they were about to go in for the security check-in, he walked up to me with tears in his eyes and thanked me. He became very emotional and it was not as if I had done something great but the fact that this meant a great deal to him. When he said thanks, I told him there was no need to thank me. But later, thinking about the entire incident, I looked back at my life. As a child, how many dreams our parents have made come true. Without understanding the financial situation, we ask for cricket bats, dresses, toys, outings, etc. Irrespective of their affordability, they have catered to all our needs. Did we ever think about the sacrifices they had to make to accommodate many of our wishes? Did we ever say thanks for all that they have done for us? Same way, today when it comes to our children, we always think that we should put them in a good school. Regardless of the amount of donation, we will ensure that we will have to give the child the best, theme parks, toys, etc. But we tend to forget that our parents have sacrificed a lot for our sake to see us happy, so it is our responsibility to ensure that their dreams are realized and what they failed to see when they were young. It is our responsibility to ensure that they experience all those and their life is complete.
Many times, when my parents had asked me some questions, I have actually answered back without patience. When my daughter asks me something, I have been very polite in answering. Now I realize how they would have felt at those moments. Let us realize that old age is a second childhood and just as we take care of our children, the same attention and same care needs to be given to our parents and elders. Rather than my dad saying thank you to me, I would want to say sorry for making him wait so long for this small dream. I do realize how much he has sacrificed for my sake and I will do my best to give the best possible attention to all their wishes.
Just because they are old does not mean that they will have to give up everything and keep sacrificing for their grandchildren also. They have wishes, too.