Has a certain generation of Bangladeshi children simply abandoned their parents?
Earlier this year, the whole nation was talking about a popular actor’s father-in-law committing suicide while broadcasting it live on Facebook.
Among the other things he said was the fact that his only son was abroad while he lived alone in an apartment in Dhaka.
It was evident from his last words that he was depressed and had no one around to comfort him.
This incident not only saddened the entire nation but reminded us of the tragic consequence parents might face while their children are away.
As many of us run after the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow in the name of a better life, we knowingly or unknowingly leave behind our biggest treasure our parents.
Parents are our ultimate safe haven. Our parents are the ones who shelter us from the evils of this world.
They give us all the happiness while giving up their own.
They are forever busy making us smile without us having the slightest hint about the struggle they go through doing so.
Even when the whole world turns their back at us, we have the comfort to know that our parents will always be there.
But in the sunset years of their lives, when they need us the most, our presence isn’t anywhere near their vicinity.
We are either living separately, sending them to old-age homes, or permanently settling abroad with our individual nuclear families.
Thousands of us emigrate from Bangladesh every year, for education, higher paid jobs, and overall, a better lifestyle.
It is estimated that about 2.4 million Bangladeshis live abroad permanently as citizens of different countries.
Most non-residential Bangladeshis share a common beginning, being raised by their parents and to pursue a dream of studying abroad.
The dream turns into reality, their parents become proud.
Then these children often stay back after their studies are over.
They do not wait for any permissions they have matured. They make their own decisions.
The parents on the other hand do not want to come in between their children and their happiness.
They hide their pain behind their tears of joy.
Society stereotypes them to be lucky ones who won’t have any financial problems as their sons or daughters send them money.
But once the excitement has settled, the realization of not having their children around makes them upset.
Apart from the ones who are lucky to be physically fit, many of our parents face the toughest challenges on the days they were supposed to retire and rest.
But they prefer leaving their stories untold, fearing to lose the affection of their children.
The other side of the picture
With children being thousands of miles away, even the smallest chores become a huge ordeal.
Starting from operating their phones to paying bills, they have to depend on outsiders, such as neighbours, or if they are lucky enough to afford so, a caretaker.
Although “just a phone call away” can be reassuring, the realization of being apart in times of emergencies sets in just as few days pass by.
The ones who ensured our safety while growing up now become helpless and insecure about their own.
In the time we are living in, there is danger to everything.
Caretakers or house helps are not always trustworthy, but we believe paying them well would make them nicer to our ailing parents.
On a recent viral Facebook video, an old woman was seen to be stripped off of her clothes and beaten with her walking stick by her own caretaker.
It was taken from a CCTV footage that was installed on the corner of the room.
Surprisingly, all of this was done while the old woman’s unsuspecting son was in the other room.
While thinking about the security of children in foreign lands, we fail to realize that the parents need just as much security as them, especially when they are at their old age.
If they are unwell or bed-ridden, all that is offered are medications and money a token of our “immense care” for them.