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Hide & Seek

Additiya Kar

Without realizing my eyes would always follow and notice this old man sitting in the bus queue eating something all by himself, alone with no convenience of others around him who might be noticing him and might think it strange. The sight was unconscious but it used to catch my eye and it happened every day. I
would go to the local grocery shop near the street where the bus queue was.


One day, I showed the sight of the old man to my mum and told her to look how he is just enjoying his food all by himself in his solitude. My mother said that he must be having his personal space for eating something he likes.


The next day coincidently, while we were on our walk, we had to buy some stuff from the same grocery shop near the street and the old man came from behind suddenly and waited for his turn. I gave him some space to come near the counter to buy his stuff. Suddenly, I realised that it was nearly the time when he
would sit in the queue and enjoy eating his favourite food stuff and he might have come to buy that only. Me and my mum were consciously noticing him by side eye as in what he will buy. He took out a note of 10 rupees and handed it over to the lady of the shop. The lady asked him something like, does he want the usual. I surely got partially surprised and at the same time somehow interested when I saw the lady giving him over a packet of Hide & Seek biscuits. He took the packet, quietly went to sit inside the queue and he started to eat the biscuits. It was worth of an incident to watch and it was that much surprising too. Of course, one would be a bit surprised to see such an old man having Hide & Seek biscuits which is a child's delicacy, but more than surprise it got me curious to know the reason behind it because it was clear that he was eating those hiding from his family.


The lady smiled at us when the old man went away. She told us that he is a regular customer and that he buys that particular biscuit only and that they had to specially order it for him only. It somehow struck me with a hunch that is he might be a diabetic patient and to my surprise, the shop lady told us that he is
having diabetes. It was clear to both me and my mum that he is surely having restrictions to eat sweet and that's why he is eating that biscuit while hiding. It was a humurous incident to get to know such a person. While walking back home, the old man's thought was still in my mind. I wondered that we encounter and come across with so many different kinds of people in our life and if we see it through, those encounters do tell us of many new sides of life. The encounter with the old man was an usual experience but it still made me think that how much he is restricted at home that he have to eat his favourite biscuits outside
hiding from his family members.


Knowing such a small yet surprising fact about the old man made me talk about him and related to it, many things with my mum, like how old citizens nowadays become so pitiful for their own family due to some dangerous diseases. They even have to give up on their favourite things or food items just like that old man.


The old man made me realize that just to protect the person from a disease, we as a family become very distant from their heart and end up with a habit where we are only trying to keep them alive by supressing their willingness to live and a time comes when we treat them like a disease too. We don't let that person
have his or her own will towards experiencing or having its favourite things. We do or have those things in front of them and this not only hurts them to the core but also decreases our sense of morality too. Of course it is necessary to keep them if they are medically restricted from eating some things but maybe we
should not make them feel totally banished from a pleasant life that we live in front of them. Same like the old man, some days ago while buying some vegetables with my mum, we ended up seeing an old couple having bhel- puri in a sweet shop at that too very much away from the city street. Their lit up faces and the moment they both were enjoying together surely made me think about the old man once more, and the fact that they must be eating it hiding from their family members.


The old man who I saw everyday after that on the street and the old couple I saw a few days ago were same to me. They showed the same kind of pitiful situation of neglecting the pleasureful needs of the old elders of every household. The old man was probably enjoying his time with his Hide & Seek biscuits but somewhere he was the playing the game of hide & seek too with his desires and his families' efforts. He might have felt guilty by thinking that where his family members are trying their best to keep him healthy, and here he is deceiving their efforts. These thoughts crossfired in my mind as in who was right and I felt really bad both for the old man and his family.


On the contrary to this incident of Hide & Seek, it only gave me one answer that its really not necessary to treat our old elders so badly that they feel unwanted and their favourism as some silly needs. Their are many ways than to completely stop them from enjoying their personal needs and desires. On some day, due to this bitter distance that we create between our old elders and us, they end up going to some random old- age home and the result that comes out is that all our connection, either through heart or hand, everything vanishes without us realising it and the time when we get to realise their need and
importance in our life, it already too late.


Incidents we encounter in our everyday life surely are just incidents but they make us perceive where we stand and what we are actually doing. Its not necessary to be very negligent towards them who are in need of a kind gesture few careless treats if you're really taking good care of them. That's what they do at old- age homes. We can just borrow those gestures and small careless treats to make them realise that the last days of their life is important for us and they should live it with fulfilling all their guilty pleasures.


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