Living at 70: Some Tips for Gen Next

I happen to watch a serial these days on NDTV Imagine, as Harendra, the personal aid of Yamuna likes to see its heroine, Suman’s story and insists for it. Interestingly, the head of the family is the old grandfather and it is he who takes all decisions. I wonder why he has been doing that. He would have handed over the reign to next generation to get rid of all the worries and agony that go with running of a household.

I remember Jamuna baba (about whom I wrote earlier) got the family divided just to keep his control on his part of the property even when his way of running it became obsolete. It resulted in bigger agony for him and total loss.

The joint family system in which I grew is getting scarce. My youngest uncle lives with his youngest son and his wife. Alok, his son has successfully taken over the total responsibility of the farming and household affairs. My uncle had been running the bigger show when the property of the three brothers was jointly held. Today he does only as much as he likes or is asked for by Alok. Perhaps, that is the best option for a person at around 76 years of age.

I am now 70 plus and live with Yamuna, as the three sons are in US. I am to take all the worries about self and Yamuna as well as whatever little property I have to sustain us well. Sometimes I feel morose and melancholy. I fail to find out what actually I want. What would have made me happier?

We have been living on the rental income. Naturally, I shall have to enjoy the worries that go with the property management. I had undergone heart surgery some 10 years ago. The doctor suggested an angiography again. My eyesight has gone poor because of cataracts. I never like going to doctor and avoid it till it is unbearable such as toothaches. Perhaps I want someone to take care about me, and to carry me to doctor or to call doctor. I hardly listen to Yamuna so far my personal matters are concerned and she keeps on cursing me. I enjoy marketing and bringing routine vegetables, fruits and groceries on day to day basis while returning from my morning walk. But many a times I feel, I would have loved someone else doing that for me.

My expectations have upped only because of my sons: Rakesh did everything when I underwent heart surgery. Rajesh took care of the truant tenant where I would have failed. Anand took some burden during the construction of Ajira, Salt Lake and rather pushed me to Delhi.

Actually I get morose and envy my father who never had to worry about the household worries. When he lived in my paternal village, his uncle and then his younger brothers did everything. And then he came to live with my mother in the village of my maternal grandfather after his death, but my mother took care of all the affairs. Ultimately, he was sick and almost bedridden. He lived with us with no worries of household and nothing to do. Some one or the other took care of all his needs.

With the growth of nucleus family, more couples will have to live the way we are living. Many a times, the couples after retirement find it difficult to pass the time as they don’t prepare for it. The planning must get started well in advance.

1. One must have sufficient money to support without expecting any assistance from any relative or acquaintance. So, save, save, and save after 45.

2. One must also develop interests and hobbies that can keep them busy usefully in the old age. What would have happened if Internet and books would not been my interest?

3. One may plan of remaining self-engaged with some knowledge based services such as consultancy to remain busy. Use your network while at the peak of work to arrange engagement after retirement.

4. One must try to keep oneself fit and lean. None can help you here but yourself.

And it is you who must do all these things. I do suggest my younger friends to prepare for the days and years to keep you engaged when it comes. Don’t grumble if you have failed to do that.

As I was finishing this write-up, I happen to talk with my HM friend AJ Bhattacharya, a graduate from Jadavpur University, and a real smart and handsome person at that time. Bhattacharya was working till a year or two ago when I met him. I was shocked to hear his trembling voice. He lives with his wife and my ‘baudi’ in his Salt Lake house in CF block. He is suffering Parkinson’s decease. Both the sons are away, one in Bangalore and the other in US. I really felt sorry, but couldn’t talk long. He was finding it default to converse.

And on Monday morning I got another shock when Mrs. Lakshman Singh, 70 who lives near Hind Motors informed me about the nightmare that she might have undergone when Lakshman Singh. 80 got a heart attack on Saturday night. They live alone with Rajat and his wife Sushmita in New York. Now Lakshman Singh is out of danger and pretty well, but the inconveniences of Mrs. Lakshman Singh would not have ended. Managing a hospitalized husband with no one from the family is pretty difficult. But the acquaintances and the people in Eastern India are still more helpful and sensitive and provide great moral support in such emergency.

And now I hear that Rajat is coming for 10 days to see his father.

This is the way one is to learn to live the life at the end. So prepare in advance mentally and try to face the life boldly and perhaps by yourself.

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