I expect to have a busy year 2012. I may or may not have time to come up with my regular blog posts. Yes, we have 4 seminars coming up and I will be involved in 2 of them in a big way and 1 in a lesser role. Then we have a minor research project for which I am a Co Investigator. So finally at the fag end of my career and that too when my retirement age has been extended by 2 years (I ought to have retired in Jan. 2011) I have my hands full.
Last week we had an unexpected visitor. An ex student paid us a surprise visit along with her husband and 4 year old daughter. She spoke of her student life in our college. When she spoke of me she remembered how angry she would be when her practical work and record would be criticized but added that whatever I had insisted upon has served its purpose. Every stroke, every line and every point made by me is etched in her memory and helped her during her masters and B. Ed courses.
“Not a day goes by when I do not tell my students about you all Ma’am. Even if you would scold us it was as if we were your children. There was something very warm and affectionate about all of you that touched a cord in our hearts. It was never the same in B. Ed or PG”. She added.
True. Ours is a college with a difference. I do not know what my career would have been had I joined some other place. We are one big family in our college and I am going to miss it when I retire in 2013.
When I talk of retirement I cannot help bring up my husband’s retirement and how it has affected my life. Most of what has been written in this post of mine applies to me too. This very afternoon I remembered that I had to talk to my tailor because he was not present when I left a friend’s blouse piece at his shop. He could not hear me properly and I had to repeat sentences.
“Who are you talking to?” Asked my husband from the bedroom.
I could not stop mid sentence so I continued talking to the tailor.
“Who were you talking to?” He asked when I was done.
“The tailor” I said. “Is it any problem of yours? And why do you have to be told things in the middle of a telephonic conversation, eh? Can’t you wait till I am done?”
The problem is that he feels left out. And this is just one example. I have a friend called Prema who begins her conversation with-
“Isn’t Padma at home?” Or “Please call Padma”.
My better half gets upset and says “As if I am no one in the house”. I have dropped hints but Prema does not understand and my husband continues to get upset.
“Why don’t you enquire after her?” I ask. If this was a solution my husband would find other means to show that I was primarily his property. Others could have my time but with his permission. It is flattering and frustrating to be so much in demand.
Now about retirement activities. The author in the aforementioned article says that her husband would read the news paper aloud and get riled over Fox News. Mine is no better. He too finds reasons to get riled. Let me elaborate.
There is a Sai Baba statue in a hospital near our house. We prostrate before the deity and proceed for our morning walk. People offer flowers/incense sticks/ camphor/ sugar candy etc to the deity. Sometimes they bring a lot of fresh flowers, place a handful at the deity’s feet and leave the rest to be used by other devotees. According to my husband there is a man whom he calls ‘Topiwallah’ who takes away flowers and stuff. He gets upset if I ask him to keep to himself. He is determined not to let the man have his way. He now takes along with him a polythene carry bag, picks up flowers and other stuff and puts them into it, hides it behind the statue and replaces them after we return from our morning walk after making sure that the ‘Topiwallah’ has gone. The devotees who bring flowers do not seem to worry but my husband does and I get to hear of his ‘outsmarting’ activities on a daily basis. It seems Topiwallah for his part has changed his timings not having the courage to steal flowers in my husband’s presence. As if he is a CID officer, uh!
One day my husband spotted him on our way back and muttered something under his breath.
“What do you have against this man?” I asked. The truth was that our topiwallah had changed his cap and I did not recognize him. Now it was my husband’s turn to get upset with me.
“You see him everyday and yet don’t recognize him.”
“He wears a white cap doesn’t he?”
A man may change his cap but not his face but I recognize caps and sweaters never faces. My husband almost disowned me. I wish he had. At least temporarily. That morning I was subjected to a looooooooong lecture on remembering/forgetting faces and could not work on my Sudoku and crossword.
Another of his pastime is to keep cash in the oddest of places. Like under the sofa cushion. When I check the locker and do not find cash there I assume that there is no money in the house. He feels empowered when I ask him and takes it out from unimaginable corners of the house. And that too with a mischievous grin. The problem is that at times he keeps it in one place and looks for it elsewhere.
“Why do you do it?” I demand.
“To make sure that we do not run short of money”. He says.
Now I call that silly. If at the age of sixty and sixty eight we haven’t learnt to plan our expenses I don’t know what we have learnt in all these years. I think that this is his way of killing time.
I sometimes wonder if I too will drive him up the wall once I retire. I hope not but I cannot promise.