Super market chains, convenient in many ways, allowing the customer to buy some chocolates and a tot on the way home can play a significant role in “trend setting”. At least is in the West most of the established supermarkets have garden centers incorporated in the complex so that gardening is encouraged especially, the indoor variety. Unlike here, every year the gardener has to redo quite regimental in practice, what he did the year before if he or she wants to keep the garden good looking in spring and summer. The gardening is an expensive hobby there and most of them turn to indoor plants as an alternative to expensive outdoor gardening. So on there way home in addition to a tot most of them buy a sturdy indoor (tropical) plant (with a leaflet on how to care the plant).
This is an important hobby of majority of the healthy elderly pensioners who had made their contribution to their country when they were young and hearty. The secret of their health is when they were young and healthy they did their jobs to best of their abilities however menial the jobs would have been (dignity of labour) with dedication (which is lacking in this parts of the world) and in retirement (because of their good work habits when young) keep on doing worth while pastimes which include gardening.
Them taking a tot I do not find disruptive (part of their secret for not getting heart attacks) and the added calories they consumed were easily dissipated in their daily healthy activities (this is not true of the new breed of yuppies). Outdoor gardening apart the indoor gardening adds a new dimension to their life in winter. The outdoor activities are curtailed because of the inclement winter weather and looking after the indoor plant is also not easy due to dry conditions. Equally keeping indoors warm is difficult and expensive. If the indoor plants look unhealthy it is a sure sign something amiss in the household. Some help is needed either financially or otherwise. So plant watching is a health indicator in that setup and the pensioner who looks after their plants well looks after his or her health too. Unfortunately this is rapidly changing for the middle class in the West and only the rich can enjoy their retirement.
Unlike here there are no meditation practices and watching the indoor plant for five minutes is a close substitute (approximates its health contribution in many ways) to a well trained-mind of meditation practice, especially if it is done without any attachment to the plant for its own well being.
In other words it is the practice of equanimity.
Watching for signs of ill health in the leaves and watering and adding a bit of mineral support as and when necessary and making this a daily routine is very satisfying. Instead sitting in front of the idiot box this is what most of the elderly did in the yesteryear.
So plant watching is bit of meditation practice for the elderly in the west.
So what about our pensioners in general?
The pittance they get as their pensions would drive most of them to either madness or depression if not for the extended family support. This was true of my father and my father in law.
Why most of them do not commit suicide is something worth pondering?
Probably most of them lived an austerity life all their life and living on pension was no different with their inborn tolerance.
Probably the other reason is Buddhist attitude to life.
Any government, industry and business community that ignore senior citizens having utilized their human labour when young is not worth considering as equal opportunity partners or clients. Global economy is casting a dark shadow on senior citizens and they are treated as economic waste and outcasts. Unfortunately countries like us trapped in their aid packages are advising the opposite of the responsibility and concern in good governance.
Meditation and plant watching are not the exercises that I recommend.
Human rights, equal opportunity and dignity are important issues to elderly.
Resigning them to elderly homes is not the solution if they are healthy both physically and mentally. If they are medically incapacitated some form of medical insurance is mandatory. Most of the paid insurances have hidden clauses and not worth considering.
Examples are hearing and vision impairment.
A set of denture is not within their finances.
They are fading away like a plant without water. That is a bit of meditation one should do when watering plants.
In a country where legislators are given a pension after five-year stint and ex-presidents are given such important packages, this is an anomaly, an aberration and an example par excellence of double-dealing. Please give some respect and dignity to the elderly. Just talk a bit and spend some time with them whenever an opportunity comes one’s way.
That probably is the best Christmas gift one can give without any expense.
What made me to write this was watching a few pensioners (either separated from their family or living alone) doing their shopping for a “chummery”. They were chopping many other items in their shopping list for their favorite drink
Chocolates not included.