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I was born in 1943. My generation in India saw India become independent of British rule in 1947 and also a republic a few years later. Although I was too young to understand the big events as they took place, I can relate to many things in retrospect.
Thanks to the overwhelming presence of Jawaharlal Nehru, India chose to be a Socialistic Democracy and till the 1990s I saw India as a Socialistic country with all that it implies. Let me just list a few.
Communications. If one had a telephone connection, s/he was next to God in the neighbourhood. One had to book trunk calls and wait endlessly to get connected and usually had to shout to get heard. If one did not have a telephone connection, one went to the nearest post office and booked trunk calls. It was in 1984 that things eased and telephone connections were more easily available as well as many public phone booths came up called STD boots for Subscriber Trunk Dialling booths run by small entrepreneurs. Today, the landline is hardly ever used with cell phones in just about everyone’s hands.
After independence, imports were stopped and India produced two cars, two motorcyles and two scooters. One had to wait in queues for years to purchase one. After 1990 things started to improve and today you can find just about every automobile maker of the world present in India with models adapted for Indian conditions.
Travel meant one used the Indian Airlines or the Indian Railways. Reservation for seats/births were hard to come by and in emergencies, one ran from pillar to post to get a seat. Today there is price competition between half a dozen airlines and the Indian Railways advertises that it has streamlined the reservation system. Long distance bus travel too has improved and there are plenty of alternatives available.
Entertainment meant one screen theaters or government run All India Radio and Doordarshan the government run TV broadcaster. Today, we have multiplexes, malls, 24/7 TV offering a very wide choice of channels, DTH and cable TV as well as FM radio offering 24/7 broadcasting. I can buy any book published anywhere in the world via Amazon or even download electronic versions.
Foreign Exchange when travelling abroad was rationed and I have personally experienced difficulties with inadequate funds when travelling abroad. Today, there are no restrictions for overseas travel and plenty of foreign exchange is available.
Finding difficulty in securing jobs, Indian engineers emigrated out of India but today there is reverse migration with many of them returning or wanting to return to India.
From shortages to plenty, my generation has seen massive changes taking place in the country as a consequence of which, lifestyles have changed and from attitudes of save and spend, we have come to buying / spending on hire purchase, instalment payments etc and value systems have changed as well.
The last 25 years particularly has seen very rapid changes and my generation has found it difficult to keep pace unless it had the benefit of resident geeks like my son and daughter in law who help me with my computer and smartphone. My generation is also seeing the beginning of the impact of climate change and before it becomes too uncomfortable, will fade away leaving the younger generations to handle the mess created by it.
This week’s topic for the weekly LBC post was suggested by Shackman whose take can be seen at his blog. It is also possible that young Pravin may write too as this is a topic that is likely to resonate with him.
Since I started my official working life from when I was just 18 years old, by the time I was 40, I had planned on retiring when I reached 50. I was able to at the age of 52 but after just a short time in retirement, I was pulled out to work for three years on an assignment. Subsequently too, during blissful retirement days, I was pulled out on three different occasions.
Be that as it may, I have now been in full retirement for the past nine years and have thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I am now too old to be pulled out of retirement again.
My retirement timing has coincided with India’s exposure to the internet, mobile telephony, multiplex cinemas, movies on DVDs etc, and online shopping. This enables me to live quite an active life with constant touch with friends and relatives as well as visits to and from them.
Online shopping enables me to buy DVDs, books and kindle downloads which ensures that I have enough to keep me entertained when I am not busy with my reading of newspapers, magazines and solving crossword puzzles.
The internet exposed me to to the blogging world and I have been actively blogging now for nine years. I have slowed down to just one post a week to keep the LBC weekly blog posts going, but I intend correcting that to increase the frequency to at least three blogs per week soon.
Blogging and visiting other blogs has introduced me to some wonderful blogger friends and that is another advantage of living a retired life which enables me to find the time to indulge.
You can see what the other LBC blogger Shackman has to say about retirement in his blog. The topic for this week was suggested by me.
In the circle of my friends and family, I am known as a good cook.
My love affair with cooking started when some male friends working in the Middle East taught me that men too can cook. They had no choice as they were forced to live alone leaving their families behind and perforce had to learn how to cook.
Once I saw them cook and picked up some tips from them, there was no stopping me and at every possible opportunity I would cook. I also collected recipes and bought a number of books of recipes to help me along my then new hobby.
Since I was also in a travelling job and had to stay in hotels and eat restaurant food, I would ask to meet the chefs whenever I was intrigued by some dish and would request the chefs for recipes. I did the same thing whenever I was entertained in some one’s home and would ask the lady of the house or the cook for the recipe.
For me, cooking also turned out to be a great occupation therapy and nothing gives me greater pleasure than someone eating food cooked by me complimenting me for it.
My regular readers will recollect that about a month ago, I had written on another topic suggested by me for the weekly Friday LBC post – “Peace Of Mind“. When we had suggested the topics for the LBC, immediately after Peace Of Mind, my mind jumped to Piece Of Mind and I had suggested the topic. And now that the time has come to write on it, I am stumped! I am sure that the other blogger Shackman will come out trumps on this one and you can see what he has to say at his blog.
When I googled for “piece of mind idiom”, this is what I got. “(idiomatic) To express one’s opinion strongly; to voice one’s disagreement or dissatisfaction, especially with another person; to scold or rebuke someone”.
Using that definition as a guideline, I can vouch for one difficult to understand fact. I have not been able to give a piece of my mind to anyone in decades! Retirement has made it impossible. It is not as though opportunities do not present themselves but discretion plays its part and I refrain from letting go.
Pre retirement days as a Manager, there were many occasions when I had to give a piece of my mind to somebody or the other and in retrospect even those now seem to have been tempered with factual letting go, rather than diatribes. Perhaps I am just made that way.
I expect that my spiritual pursuits have something to do with this ability to let go and resort to giving pieces of my mind to anyone as I find myself quite placid and equanimous in most stressful situations. Here too, perhaps I am just made that way.
How about you dear reader? Do you often let go and give a piece of your mind to others?
It was like going back to my school days and seeing Johnny Weissmuller. After seventy years, I saw Tarzan and Jane in a movie yesterday.
Let me start at the beginning. My friend Ramesh and I had gone to see a Hindi film but were late reaching the theater. By the time we reached there, the management had decided to cancel the show as there were no viewers. We were too late! We were told that had we been just ten minutes early, we could have seen the film despite being only two viewers.
Having gone that far, we enquired about what other films were running in the multiplex and found that The Legend Of Tarzan was about to start in a few minutes and decided to see it despite not originally wanting to see it at all. And guess what? Including the two of us, there were only four viewers for the movie. I suspect that the weather, it is raining cats and dogs here, should be blamed for this phenomenon!
The experience was mixed. To start with, the film was in 3D and I am always uncomfortable wearing the extra pair of glasses to see the film. Other than that, the special effects were rather exaggerated but it was compensated for by the storyline and action. Any way, for me, it was like being a young lad again and I came away from the theater with a lot of nostalgia for those Black and White films with Tarzan.
If you would like that kind of an experience, I would recommend your seeing it if you can.
This week’s topic has been suggested by Shackman for the weekly Friday LBC blog posts.
Millennials are persons reaching young adulthood around the year 2000. Which means that they will be in their mid thirties now.
In India, this is the time when they are already married and have become parents unless that they have decided not to become for a number of reasons.
In the latter case, it is mostly due to pressure of careers of both husband and wife and / or fear of the future for the children. Fear arising out of the prohibitively high cost of education, pollution, commuting to school / college etc and also the uncertainties of a satisfying career at the end. It is also possible that they may decide not to have children so that they can be carefree and focus on enjoying life without the added responsibilities.
In the former case, that is for those who are already parents, the future is full of the same problems that caused the latter from having children. On the other hand, they are already in careers and hopefully well settled in their lives unless they are in transferable jobs like I was.
In India, society is going through very rapid changes and aspiration levels across the spectrum of income levels are very high. This is particularly so for the millennials who are neither in the beginning of their careers nor at the peak. One keeps hearing about job hopping, serial entrepreneurship etc which would indicate a churning. Quite how this would translate into creation of wealth and improved lifestyles is not very clear. Because of such aspiration, debt levels for millennials due to home loans, automobile loans, consumer durables bought on hire purchase etc generates stress and related illnesses.
The laid back lifestyles that my generation enjoyed is no longer possible and the future for the millennials till their retirement would seem to be full of stress again affecting health.
I would conclude that the future for them till their retirement will not be the same as it was for my generation.
THIS is Beethoven’s symphony No.6 played by The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Zubin Mehta.
This is a post for the weekly Friday LBC where a few bloggers write on the same subject. You may like to visit Lin and Shackman to see what they have to contribute to this effort. Today’s topic has been suggested by Lin.
One never stops learning and this is a perfect example of that statement. I had heard about and even used “leading up the garden path” but this is the first time that I have come across “down the garden path”. On investigation I found that apparently both can be used to mean the same. What a language!
I can honestly say that I have never knowingly led anyone down the garden path but I am no saint and unknowingly, I may well have done so. If I come to know of such instances through any of my readers, I am perfectly willing to make amends and at the least, apologise.
I can however attest to quite a few instances when I was led down the garden path. This topic, in fact has nudged my memory to a few that I had even forgotten all about. let me share just one such story.
Last year, I suddenly developed a severe pain in my shoulder and since a friend recommended an orthopedist conveniently located, I consulted him. He first tried to ease my pain by recommending some pain killers as well as sending me to a physiotherapist to learn some exercises. This same treatment continued for a month with three visits and seeing no change, he suggested that I take an ultrasound image. On getting the result, the orthopedist suggested that I had a torn ligament and needed to get it surgically corrected.
Once it was suggested that I need surgery, I decided to consult the surgeon who had revised my replaced hip joints on three occasions as to what should be done. He promptly guided me to a shoulder specialist who after studying just an X-ray of the shoulder, recommended that I simply continue the exercise regime and use painkillers at need and lo and behold, in three months, the shoulder pain simply disappeared by itself!
Had I stayed with the first orthopedist, I would have been taken down the garden path and would have punctured a big hole in my bank balance!
There is a Taoist story of an old farmer who had worked his crops for many years.
One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit. “Such bad luck,” they said sympathetically. “Maybe,” the farmer replied.
The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. “How wonderful,” the neighbors exclaimed. “Maybe,” replied the old man.
The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune. “Maybe,” answered the farmer.
The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son’s leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out. “Maybe,” said the farmer.