Does my grandmother also think the way the narrator thinks? (Response to “On Aging”)

“On Aging” is an immensely provocative poem written by Maya Anglou. She has expressed the feelings of an elderly woman who does not want others to show her pity and sympathy because of her old age. The poem is in the second person point of view. Therefore, everytime I read the poem, the very words in the poem echo in my ears as if an elderly person is commanding me not to do this and that. To be more specific, I get obsessed by the memory of my grandmother. I remember how I talked, joked, laughed, and played with my grandmother. At the same time, in one corner of my mind, I think, ”Are the things mentioned in the poem applicable to my grandmother also?”, “Does she not like the way I help, talk, and give company to her?” On the contrary, my heart retorts, “NO!” Then I again begin to think that she appreciates my each and every activity, how can she recon like that?

For the confirmation of the answers to my queries, I reminisce the moments I spent with my grandmother. Before all, I remember the moments I massaged her hands and legs softly every evening. She does not tell me to massage her legs and hands, but I do so because I want her to have a relaxed and sound sleep. I still remember her grinning face. She looks so pleased and relaxed and so do I when I see a subtle smile in her face while I am massaging. Furthermore, I remember me fetching water up to the kitchen. I feel really very glad when I can help my grandmother in her works. When I help her, I encounter an immense optimism in her face – maybe she thinks there is somebody who cares me much, and I feel ecstatic thinking that somebody is me.

However, again I also remember that she never makes me work by herself; she does her work on her own. It is me who go to help her myself though she has not sought for help. These thoughts again make me skeptical if my grandmother also thinks the way the narrator talks about in the poem, but again her smiling and vivid face comes in front of my eyes, thereby deleting all my dubiousness. Thus, I got a conclusion that my grandmother does not think the way the narrator thinks.

About kalpana23
I am a student.

One Response to Does my grandmother also think the way the narrator thinks? (Response to “On Aging”)

  1. Masooma says:

    Dear Kalpana,
    In my opinion, it is good that after reading the poem you asked yourself if your mother felt the same as the author. However, you should consider that the way people expect others to behave toward them usually varies from culture to culture. For instance, in the West, people are considered useful till the time they can work and are productive. As they get old, they lose their value like an old car. In contrast, in the East, usually old people are highly respected in most families, even if they can’t work or walk at the same speed as young people do. I have noticed that in eastern culture old people expect their children, grandchildren and relatives to help them whenever they need one. In my country, the fact that you feel sympathy for old people is not important. The thing the matters is that if you respect and help them or not. For example, my grandmother feels very happy and proud of me when I hold her hands to get up or bring her a pillow when she wants to sleep. She feels happy that I care about her, and I know it because I see it in her respectful eyes. Moreover, she wishes me success and happiness every time I help her. I guess your grandmother is proud of you, too.
    Personally, I don’t know when I get old if I would like somebody helps me walk up the stairs or talk to me when I am silent. However, I am sure about one thing. I hate it if young people think I am stupid because I am old. I would prefer they would look at me as a person with a lot of valuable life experiences who might be wiser than them. It is the way I look at old people. Sometimes, I really enjoy accompany of elderly people more than being with people of my age.

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