OPINION

Home alone

The article “Home alone” (Open Page, March 14) gives a poignant account of the anguish and ordeal experienced by parents whose sons and daughters live abroad. In many cases, it is neighbours and friends who lend a helping hand during their illness or any other emergency. Old-age homes give them relief from their loneliness and fear. Their needs are fulfilled for a price. Parents bear with all this for the pride they wear on their sleeve — children living overseas.

S. Sridhar,

Chennai

When, in the evening of their lives, parents long and crave for attention and affection, is it not the duty of the youngsters to take care of them? No old-age home can substitute personal warmth and bonding. As rightly pointed out by the author, many parents are ambitious and end up in isolation. This is indeed pathetic.

R. Ramanathan,

Coimbatore

Grandparents of today have inculcated ambition, instead of values, in their children's minds. The craving for material comforts has won over values like contentment, and simple lifestyles have been sacrificed.

Children should be taught the importance of compassion, kindness and the like. Nuclear families should be replaced by joint families.

Rajagopal Tiruvayapati,

Tirupati

When we sent our children abroad we were young — perhaps 50. We were proud that they landed good jobs in well-known organisations. We even boasted to our friends how our daughters-in-law followed all the rituals and celebrated all the festivals. We never thought of what lay ahead for us, say, after 20 years.

The day you send your children off at the airport, start planning for what to do after 20 years. There are only two alternatives — go and stay with your children in a foreign city or plan to live alone. Look for some decent retirement homes with or without assisted living so that you can move in at the appropriate time.

R. Venkataraman,

Chennai

It has become a fad among parents to send their wards abroad for education and jobs. Initially, they are proud of their “foreign returned” sons and daughters. It is only after they settle down in foreign countries do the parents realise how lonely they have become and start living in a virtual world. They meet and talk to their grandchildren through the webcam and the Internet.

B. Thiagarajan,

Coimbatore

When we were young, our parents used to send us during the holidays to the homes of our aunts and uncles to strengthen our family bonding. These days, parents send their children to tuition classes, summer camps and so on, keeping them away from relatives. As a result, children hardly spend time with their families. They stay at home only to eat and watch television. With the youth making giant strides in all spheres, we will see more and more old age homes in the future.

N. Chandrasekar,

Chennai

I agree that the plight of parents who face the empty nest syndrome is sad. However, it is not only money and comfortable living that lure youngsters away to foreign shores. It is also because hard work, capability and honesty are appreciated and rewarded there. If we can create similar conditions in India, the flight of talent can be stemmed. It would be beneficial to not only our country but also society and aged parents.

Sharmila Kumar,

Thiruvananthapuram

Not all parents willingly sent their children abroad. They did so to avoid guilt at a later date — of standing in the way of their sons/daughters' bright future. The U.S. the U.K., and Canada offered jobs on merit with fabulous salaries. Youngsters had to choose between their future and their parents. Obviously, career was the priority. Why complain about loneliness? With the advance in communication technology and travel, the pangs of loneliness are minimised.

V. Rajagopal,

Tirupati

The article offers a skewed view of CAPA — Children Abroad Parents Alone. The CAPA community enjoys a better quality of life, has greater confidence of meeting medical challenges and is connected with the folks almost 24x7, thanks to modern gadgets. The bogey of loneliness is created by possessive parents who build their lives around their children, curtailing their growth. The CAPA community can build new social networks. A well-groomed son or daughter rarely abandons the parents. Undue lamenting by parents will only make their children's lives miserable.

C. Andrew M. Packiaraj,

Chennai