Saturday, October 24, 2009

Gup Shap again

I know it is late but Happy Diwali all the same. I hope you all had a nice and safe Deepavali.I reached home just a day before Deepavali so we made it very, very
simple.

It has been a long time since I posted anything on my blog. I think I am going through one of those lethargic phases when one just does not feel like doing anything. The trip to the south was exhausting and made me pledge never to fit in so much of travel in future trips. Considering the accident prone world we live in I am glad to have returned to my niche in a single piece. In Karnataka it appeared as if the rains followed us giving us just enough time to leave a place before creating havoc there. Unfortunately we were unable to enjoy the natural beauty of the western ghats since we were holed up in a hotel room most of the time.

I had high hopes of meeting Suranga, Usha, Aarthi, Srijith and Riti during this trip. Lack of communication was the only reason for missing out Suranga and Srijith who live within walking distance of the place I was staying in Mumbai and Chennai. As for Srijith I felt lousy staring at an apartment complex near Balaiyya garden bus stop and wondering whether he actually lived there. I must have crossed the place at least twice a day but I did not have his phone number and I was being punished for my laid back attitude. Sorry folks, there will be a next time and that is a promise

Coming back to Jamshedpur feels good. Where else can one leave home at 10:15 AM and reach one’s workplace before 10:30 AM? Where else can one go on long winding walks for an hour and return all set and fresh to take on another day? I can hear my brothers and sister both natural and by marriage call me a ‘pattikkadu’ (villager) unaccustomed to smart city ways. True, we all get used to a particular life style and claim it to be the best. Every time I meet my folk I am under a kind of dilemma as to whether I should continue in Jamshepur after retirement or move out to Chennai, Bangalore or Mumbai. But city life baffles me and finally I decide that our good old Jampot is the best place for an ageing couple to spend the final lap of their life on earth.

Post retirement I need to take up an assignment and absent myself for at least 5 hours each day. Or else my husband is going to drive me nuts and I’ll be churning out sob stories in my blog. I had copied out a piece on ‘Golden Retirement’ 3 years back and like the lady who authored the piece I think I am going to have him velcroed to my hips if I dared to stay home. Can you imagine the areas in which he awaits my response are?

I’d have returned from college and would be relaxing in my bedroom with a magazine in hand.

HIM: I am going for milk.

ME: Okay.

HIM: I am going for milk.

ME: Please do. And take the keys with you. I may doze off to sleep

HIM: What did you say?
I ignore the question. He has almost reached the door and comes back just to ask if I had said something. I could not have asked for a cuter husband but I really wish he could just go and get the milk instead of waiting for my approval in matters that don’t matter at all.

Jokes apart, I don’t blame him. There was a time when we had to worry about so many things. A child’s admission, hostel bills, father in law’s health concerns etc. etc. There now seems to be a sudden void in our lives. That brings home another realization. When a person has nothing to look forward to, one’s life becomes monotonous and boring. That is exactly why his concern touches my heart.

Did you take your medicines?

It is getting cold. Why not wear a half sweater?

I am drawing out my quarterly interest from the post office. Shall I deposit a part of it in your account?

The questions continue and they are important because they sustain us. The phone rings and I pick it up.

He appears at the door.

Who? He gestures.

My friend. I reply.

He goes off nodding his head.

To those of you leading a busy life these things may not matter. May be not yet. But to us it reiterates the fact that we need to remain fit and well if not for ourselves at least for the other person. We have made ourselves so very interdependent that very often he says something that I was just about to say. This brings to my mind another malaise that seems to have inflicted society of late - couples opting to separate in the twilight of their lives. I recently heard of a person known to me with grown up and married children opting out of marriage. They may or may not go for a divorce but they certainly prefer to lead separate lives. Each one says that the other is free to come and stay with him/her but on his/her terms and conditions. When I discuss this with friends they say that people are more honest these days. Why put up with an arrangement that is no longer agreeable? There is some logic in this argument but is this the right solution? Like one says that children earlier put up with their parents since their common property generated the income that was required to support their families. It no longer holds in a society where parents see to it that children reach dizzy heights saying that their children should never go through the hardship they once faced. Parents too have set aside enough to lead an independent life post retirement. There is no question of anyone adjusting with the other person. But isn’t it taking things too far when a wife or husband refuses to be part of the other’s life at a time when there is an acute need for meaningful companionship? I’ve known children supporting the mother and abandoning their father. Perhaps they feel that a mother’s presence in their homes would be more useful to their working wives than their father’s who would do nothing but occupy the front room reading the day’s newspaper.

Be it as it may I still subscribe to the view that old age is meant to be spent together whatever be one’s differences in day to day life. As for me I cannot imagine life without the domineering presence of my old man so what if he bugs me with irrelevant questions all the time.

16 comments:

Ugich Konitari said...

HHG, What a pity we couldnt meet. This place is so small (by Mumbai suburb standards, that we must have passed each other a couple of times,in the vegetable-shops area...

Anyway, if you ever saw a lady in a salwar kurta, at the Main gate signal, lugging bags of fruit, and arguing with a cop to stop some errant bikers, that was me .

Srijith Unni said...

Hi G'ma,

Belated Deepavali..! I'm sorry it's my fault i should have passed on my contact information, but still feel sad that you came so close and we failed to meet..!Let's surely see to it that this doesn't happen next time. Come home in your red car and i'll be blessed.!

With Best Regards,
Srijith.

dipali said...

Lovely to have you back,HHG.

Ardra said...

I understand that you seem to have had enough of travel for now...still when are you coming to Trichy next? I'm yet to get over the disappointment that we did not get to meet when you came here last...
love
ardra

preetischronicle said...

That was a very cute post...sometimes I am so amazed by the love our elders had for each other..and...until I read the 2nd last para...what makes you think children wouldn't want their parents around because they are of no use...or are of use only to the working wives. Sometimes, there are adjustment issues. I wouldn't go on and elaborate, but love to hear your viewpoint.

Hip Grandma said...

Suranga:Yeah there is going to be a next time and we are going to make it memorable and fun filled!

Srijith:Don't blame yourself.I too could have tried to contact you earlier.BTW my car isn't red in colour.I claim to have paited the town red in my Maruti Alto.

dipali:I too feel good.

Ardra:With me one can never tell.I may just land up in Trichy in December.I'll give you adequate notice though.

preeti'schronicle:I am not being pessimistic.I've just mentioned something I've noticed.A girl known to me wanted her mother to come and help her with the baby but added that her husband did not want her ailing father to accompany her. She wanted her unmarried sister working in Delhi to take care of the father.The unmarried girl flatly refused to keep the father unless the mother acompanied him.Luckily the man died and the mother takes turns to stay with the two daughters both of whom are now married. I found the whole situation sickening more so because I had known the girls from their pre school days. In another case a mother walked out on the husband and keeps the house for the unmarried son while the husband is left to fend for himself.The reason is - the husband is foul mouthed and she has had enough. The sad part of the story is that the father did not become foul mouthed at the age of sixty but is being abandoned only after the children have settled down in life.

Hip Grandma said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sumana said...

HHG,
For a moment, I felt my dad was in the picture. I think it is the same everywhere. I tell my mom that Dad cares for you when she gets wild for something irritating.
On the other side, yes, it is feels wonderful to be back to your abode after a long trip. Hope you both enjoyed it. I still have to read your post on Golden Retirement. Wonderful post and keep writing.

Poornima said...

Welcome back HHG! Ridiculous, really, this long break of yours! hmmphh! Simp simply ooru sutting panni thaan avanamana, please get yourself a laytesht laptop(unlike husband, can be disconnected when it shows signs of unnecessary kirkiri. Therefore doesn't need to be divorced) & blog from wherever you are!

You are one of the 3 & 1/2 people who I look forward to reading, (1&1/2 of them being a certain JD-sipping-malayali-gentleman with assorted mental problems) & I missed you! :-)

Okay, next post please!

shoba said...

Your post reminds me so much of my parents. My dad checks with my mom and lets her know every time he goes out to get milk or groceries. LOL. Very very sweet. As you said, such things become important in retired life.
But, I may not agree with you on couples sticking to each other till the end. Many women who are ill-treated stay with their spouses just because of the kids. Once all the responsibilities are fulfilled, shouldn't they be given a freedom of choice. Just my two cents.
Glad to see you blogging.

Hip Grandma said...

Sumana:yes, this is a scene that is common in every household.My parents in law would have such cute quarrels that I'd burst out laughing without realizing that I was the DIL and was expected to check my emotions.

Poornima:yes, I know I've taken long to write. a tiring trip was only an excuse. The truth is that i seem to run out of matter to blog about and my posts are getting repetitive.I have a contraversial issue in mind and I may soon blog about it.preparing myself for some really sharp comments from you folk.BTW your JD sipping malayalee gentleman's site is acting funny and i cannot read his posts nor comment. please pass on the information and find out if he has blocked me out.if he has then i am taking the next flight to confront him in person!!

shoba:This is one way of showing that one cares.i may crib but i too love the importance accorded to me.

As for couple opting to separate once children are settled, you have a point there and if you read my post carefully you will understand that i am not suggesting that one should stay on in an abusive relationship.I just wonder if separation is a solution.An elderly couple had their differences. They stayed with two different children saying that they would be useful to both by this arrangement.But their bitterness was not such that they would not ever want to spend time under the same roof.They attended functions together and cared a lot for each other in their own way.The cases i speak of are those in which the father lives alone while the mother lives with a son in the same town. An occasional phone call or visit just to check on him may open the way for reconciliation at a later stage when he falls sick or gets depressed. In this case even the other children don't bother to call on him when they visit the mother.agreed, he is foul mouthed again i wonder if there could be some other solution.

Tys on Ice said...

whatcha mean you cant read my posts?!

I thought u were upset with me or something ...

u know something, u and ur husband to a large extent reminds me of me and mads...i know eventually thats how we will end up...which is a great thing..theres comfort in familiarity...in companionship...in friendship...noone ever said that relationships are easy and off late theres this level of intolerence in people...i think its the speed of life and the various oppurtunities available...one life...people sees the limited time available...who knows?....why put up?...who knows?

Manasi said...

the lovely companionship you share with your husband reminds me of my parents, my husband's parents as well as myself & my husband. most married people will say that couples who have found this peaceful co-existence are very lucky but i disagree because i don't believe luck works in matrimony. sure, luck may have a role to play in stock-markets or other such windfalls but marriage? no. developing companionship needs efforts and is the REAL investment one makes each passing day… not those FDs, PPFs etc.

I think patterns, both good and bad, develop with time over the years due to mutual indifferences and preferences. when married couples sleep over their differences in their young age, they end up repenting over the many chances they lost in developing that companionship which is now lost forever. in the end there is not much left to salvage.

i have seen that young children (now settled) and spouses of foul-mouthed retirees will exercise the option of separation only if the foul-mouthed spouse refuses to change because there is no expected benefit visible in kicking a lifelong habit… at both stages, youth and old-age, effective Communication becomes KEY… and we realize it only after its too late!

-Manasi

Shachi said...

HHG, lovely post! Happy Diwali to you and your family. Glad that you are back to blogging!

My parents are retired and in India, while both their children (me and my sister) are here in US....they face the same issues that you describe, but my dad is uber-cute in caring for my mom....and vice-versa....they are definitely sticking it out.

I am not sure if I could be as tolerant as them....reading such things surely helps me!!!!

Awaiting your next post!

kurrodu said...

bellaaated diwali..wonderful post..
I learn a lot about life by reading your posts.. Keep going..
BTW, your post on anjalidi's work is truly inspirational.. if possible pls convey my heartfelt thanks and appreciation for her work...

Hip Grandma said...

Tys on ice: I've addressed the problem and so you are spared. I wonder why this kind of intolerance in the current bunch of kids. Is it because they struggle less and take life for granted?

Manasi: you are right. One has to work hard towards making a relationship work.I know I've put in my bit of effort and I suppose my husband did so too.

Shachi:when you and your spouse grow old together the equation will change and you will become more tolerant. a happy Diwali to you too.

kurrodu:Busy or what?No comments coming in? Thanks for your Deepavali greetings and I shall definitely pass on your message to Anjalidi. She needs all the appreciation one can give.