Friday, February 12, 2010

Friendly are we?

I was waiting to find the trash bin amidst the claustrophobia, people buzzing in a manmade beehive, overwhelming smells of indianised sandwiches, samosas and COFFEE!

My flight had been delayed and a complimentary coffee in the coffee shop is always welcome, especially when getting bored at the airport.

I had just finished mine and was about to give up my search for the bin, when there was a sudden disturbance. An elderly gentleman, must be nearing 80's, had spilled his coffee while trying to pick up sugar and napkins, from  a frail, table of a structure , in an almost invisible corner. Such was his bewilderment that anyone would have been moved to help. However, it didn't happen, how could people move out of their serpentine queue? It was obviously unquestionable! Downright FOOLISH!

So they chose to stand and watch, some were shaking their heads (why ain't  his children here with him?), some were visibely touched (OH Poor man! look at him), and some chose to ignore....

When I approached him, I realized that this wasn't just what it appeared to be, this was not just a normal spilling of a coffee, like we very callously ignore in our metropolitan lives. He was absolutely devastated and shocked beyond condolence. He was shivering, stammering and staring at the coffee in disbelief, it was not a minor accident for him, it had hurt his self esteem and confidence much like a tragedy.

Without thinking I hugged him and said "Its alright uncle, Should I get you another coffee?"
He stared at me with a vague look in eyes brimming with tears, and said "I dropped my coffee, it just fell, all of it, see, my coffee.."

No matter what I said, did not help him, and I realized I was only further making a spectacle out of him. We moved out of the sickening stares and closing space. He did not have the courage or will to get another coffee, stuttering and stammering he went away....The shop's staff never bothered ......leaving me horrified and wondering......................................................................Is our world really elderly friendly?
A lot can happen over beverages right!......yes dreams, courage and will powers can also get shattered over spilled coffees....

Are we designing environments and systems,  keeping in mind human empathy and emotions?....Do the elderly not have a right to places that can be more friendly, easier and loving?

If  my parents go for a holiday on their own, can I sleep in peace dreaming that they must be enjoying, or should I be left biting my nails, wondering whether they are safe and happy?

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