Better options

The stories of Hercule Poirot and Sherlock Holmes unraveling crime with their analytical brains are obsessions with me and my second son, the fixation bordering on OCD at times. But surprisingly in a recent episode of Hercule Poirot aired on TV, foibles in human emotions were touched upon, in particular what struck me was the protagonist exclaiming that regret in life is hopeless. That set me thinking. To err is but human, and ergo regret follows soon after in most cases. But can regret be avoided by consciously attempting not to blunder? Surely this may be possible, at best in human relationships if not in all situations. 

I am reminded of an incident which occurred some time ago when I had visited my friend’s frail septuagenarian mother who had just recovered from a serious illness. She was overwhelmed with my simple gesture of a fruit laden bag and started looking for some opportunity to reciprocate it. Finally, it took the shape of a lemon sapling from a juicy lemon tree of her small garden. I punctiliously planted it in my own, soon after return. Even as I was planning a second visit, I received the news of her demise. I chided myself now for having put off asking her for some signature tips for nurturing the sapling, which, although alive, was failing to add even a millimetre in girth or stature. My friend too had one remorse, that he had been unable to capture her recent picture for posterity. I consoled him saying that the images of parents are stored in the random access memory of our mind and can be retrieved anytime.

Penitence is brutal and futile in most matters, and assumes special poignancy with one’s relationship with parents. Recently, another buddy repented for the unspent hours with his now deceased father. Regret seen again! Parents are precious, bespoke and irreplaceable. It is wisely said that one realises a parent’s worth when one sees his or her empty chair. Yet there are sons I know who ill treat their aged parents and daughters who see such misery heaped on them but do nothing beyond simply pining and praying for them. I know a friend in similar predicament, who cites the reason of tradition which dictates that parents are to be looked after by sons, and that daughters can only visit them occasionally. I wonder at this ‘tradition’ which makes a daughter powerless to shelter her parents. Thankfully, the mindset is changing amongst the ‘gen Y’ who are seen taking equal responsibility of vulnerable parents. 

Life moves in a full circle coming back to the starting point sometime. Parents may turn into helpless children as they age and children become parents themselves one fine day. Regrets make life agonising and surely life is meant for more than atonement. It makes sense to grasp this dictum now and act accordingly as we undertake this odyssey called life. I have attempted to spread the awareness now instead of having this regret later.

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