Blogchatter A2Z 2021, Down Memory Lane, LIFESTYLE, Musings, top post on indiblogger

Retired Life

Top Post on IndiBloggerRetirement brings shivers in a man’s heart and more so in his wife’s. But no one seems to be concerned about her. Everyone is unconcerned about the changes that will bring her world “topsy turvy”. 

If you are a working wife, chances are you are still going to the office, leaving the whole house to the “old man”. 🙂 (What else to say about a retired man?) The only change you will find is entering into a not so clean house, which is a very small price of his retirement as compared to the upheavals in the life of a stay-at-home wife or work from home professionals like me.

I remember a very unusual advice from my mom, when I told her about my decision to marry the man, I was dating. He was 10 years my senior. He didn’t look 10 years older than me. We both looked good together. I remember, whenever we entered any get-together, people always turn their necks to bestow admiring glances on us. 

But mom, my girl Friday warned me about the future. My mom told me, you will find it very difficult to handle his retirement as you will still be working, fully independent,free from household juggleries and a free bird. That would be the time, when children must have left the nest to find their own place in the big world. A prophecy from someone who was dreading her husband’s retirement after  few years. 😋. Papa retired  6 years after my marriage. How true she was, I realized it when it happened. 

I didn’t see it coming the way mom saw hers and also warned me too. I didn’t give it a thought then. It was still few decades away, I thought.  Anyway, when one is in love, the thought of spending lots of time together is nothing but more love. 

The decades gone by in a jiffy and it’s time for his retirement. I am writing from my own experiences of seven years now. 😋

I have opted to work from home from 2007. Market in online education was nascent then and there were many opportunities to choose from. I had my fingers in both the pies of being a professional and stay at home wife. The boys had flown away almost around the same time. 

As a stay at home mom or homemaker, the whole household is yours the moment children and husband go out to their “daily outings” of school/ college and office at least five days in a week. This is the time when one feels  being the real “ queen of the house”. You can do any changes at home without any interference or approval from anyone. Least of all the master of the household for the simple reason that he spends most of his waking hours outside and when he comes back, there is nothing much to be done in the day to day running of the household. I loved this situation as it gives me total independence and control on household affairs. On the first day of his retirement, his waking hours at home gives him all the time to poke his nose into all the affairs and I remembered mom and her prophecy.

The first casualty of his retirement was the freedom, solitude and my “me time” at home. I was working as a freelance professional and strictly followed my office timings. With him at home, “chalo Yaar chai peete Hain” sessions were affecting my time schedule of the day. My evening walks had gone for a toss and were replaced with evening long drives. They were somewhat romantic when we started but after a few rides, they became a fertile ground of starting a fight. The only solace was that it was a new one every day. Repetitiveness bores me to death. 😄  

Wise men or women have rightly said that “too much intimacy brings contempt”. 

The tussel of keeping a clean house started the moment maid rings the bell and he gets up from the ringing of the bell. The daily bone of contention is to stop him from walking on the freshly mopped wet floor. But his belief in “ chodte chalon nishaan” is killing my belief in a clean shining floor. 

It has been ages since I saw a neat and clean bed throughout the day. The moment it’s cleaned, he takes the newspaper and then perch himself there, slipping a little with time and then falling asleep. To counter the wrinkles on my bed sheet, I opted for fitted bedsheets. It has saved me at least to make bed every now and then. 

Another fertile battle ground for us is the selection of plants and placement of pots in our small balcony garden. Our plants now grow on our fights and not on fertilizer. It was decades ago when Dr. Jagdish Chandra Bose proved that soft music helps in keeping plants happy and  healthy. I can prove that a healthy fighting atmosphere around the plants helps them grow healthy. Being a smart operator, I thought of using this unfounding situation to my advantage. After all, everyone needs a routine. So, we have come to some fix some new rules in the household. 

  1. Everyone will make their own bed tea.
  2. We have divided the plants and took full ownership in the assigned area.
  3. Each one will take full responsibility of one meal complete with planning, inventory and guiding the cook.
  4. We started doing a lot of individual stuff.
  5. Developing creative hobbies.
  6. No interference in the household styling because I am too good at it. 

These simple rules have sorted most of the issues of having a retired husband at home.

I have learnt my lessons over the years but now life is good.

Now with the “Work from home” mode, I think many households are facing the same situation. I guess, these rules may find some relief in their day to day life. 

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Photos are from Google.

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Down Memory Lane, LIFESTYLE, People

The Republic Day Parade – In memoirs

Top Post on IndiBlogger

This year, we are celebrating 71st Republic Day on 26th January, 2020. It’s the day, when our own constitution was accepted and India took hold of it’s own governance in it’s own hands. For children born in sixties and seventies, Republic Day Parade was a big event to be proud of. I had been brought up in Hisar, a small town of Haryana. In those days, we used to be glued with radio to hear commentary of Republic Day Parade. There was no television transmission in smaller cities. DD made its appearance in Hisar in early eighties. While listening to the live commentary of Republic Day Parade, there was always an inherent wish to be able to be part of the Republic Day Parade in New Delhi. Every city has it’s own Republic Day celebrations which is more or less on the same lines as celebrated in Delhi. My school was part of the district headquarters celebrations panel and we used to go to city police lines for many years, (where such functions were organised by the city administration) and were part of the festivities. Anyway, I never had a chance to attend the parade at Delhi’s India Gate. The commentary in those days was so detailed that I could always feel like a film going before my eyes, it was only in 1984, I could actually watch the parade on television, after my marriage when I had shifted to Delhi. It was mesmerising just as I had imagined as a child. Anyway, I could never watch this magnificent event in person.

Many of my marital family members had been witness to the Republic Day festivities for many years as a participant or as a spectator. So, I have asked all of them to share their experiences. I am sharing their experiences below.

My eldest sister in law had been part of the parade for many years as student of school and college. She had participated in Republic Day Parade from 1959 -62. After that, she has been in the audience for many years as my father in law was a senior officer in Army Head Quarters and can get passes very easily.

Here’s what she has remembered of those celebrations.

” Filled with national pride, I had watched Republic day parade many times- year after year. I was very lucky to have participated in the parade many times from school and college. I was also member of NCC Contigent. The participant children decked in school uniforms were used to feel very proud of being part of such an important occasion. The proud feeling of being part of the parade provided all the warmth in the coldest month of January. Papa used to get passes so brimming with patriotic feelings carrying basket full of Puris or Paraanthaas with curry, pickle and other goodies, our whole family used to watch the parade from the reserved enclosure. Those days 26th January was like a festival. That day from early dawn may be around 4 only, we could hear continuous footsteps of people on the road behind our house at Baird Road on the way to India Gate to occupy front rows to watch the parade at close quarters.In those glorious days, I still remember seeing Dr Rajendra Prasad arriving for the parade in Bughee and at the end of the parade as Bughee carried by majestic horses arrived President of India would recieve Salute from them, hordes of dignatories bidding him good-bye !
When we participated from school we had to reach school around 4.30 am or may be 5am in the cold winter morning on 26th.We would be clad in school uniform and our teeth would be chattering but filled with enthusiasm and national pride, all of us had smiles and waited eagerly for the parade to start. In school hot puris with aaloo curry waited for us. Months before January, the selection for the parade began. Those who were rejected felt heart- broken and dejected. Practice and practice for hours continued, knuckles were bruised red in those early days of practice as being novice our hands brushed against each other’s ! I think 24th used be dress rehearsal, that day the importance of “The Day” dawned upon us ,the hurry-burry and anxiety of the officials was vivid ,everyone intent upon the smooth and successful culmination of the programme. On 26th we reached quite early at the starting point – Parliament House (if i rember correctly). Whole atmosphere charged with patriotism, sky resounding with patriotic songs and slogans of Jai Hind. I still get goose bumps recollecting those emotions and feelings !
Different songs were played for each contigent as we marched smartly on the road ,watched and cheered by thousands of enthusiastic countrymen, bands playing patriotic songs enthused us, our chest swelled with pride, throats choked with emotions,we marched on and on till we reached our destination without any trace of fatigue.
As we marched on family members of the participants from among the audience would call out the names their children loudly and proudly. Girls’ band from Pillani Vidyapeeth was waited for every year. The whole programme used to be magnificent and a feeling of oneness with our fellow countrymen permeated everyone.”

My another sister in law, Mrs. Rajni Sinha was also lucky to be part of this national festival. This is what she has to say about her experience –

” Oh ! To think and remember those times of my participation in Republic Day Parade as a school student still gives me goose bumps.
I took part in republic Day parade twice in school.
First when I was in fifth class. The dress ( rather the frock ) I wore had four pockets. And my dearest mummy filled all the pockets with toffees, biscuits and some other finger foods.
That parade was real fun.
I was in class 7th when I was selected second time to take part in parade.
The practice in school was going on full swing when a day before parade my right foot got twisted and it was swollen like hot potato.
But instead of being miserable I took part in the parade proudly like a true patriot. I can never forget how mummy did hot fomentation almost till midnight and I was able to take part in parade. The whole atmosphere on India Gate was so charged up and I donot remember anything about my injured foot. We could see all the dignitaries going past without any heavy securities. Those were the days! “

My husband had also participated in the parade and here’s what he remembers about those times.

“It was in late 1960s. I was in class 9.
Republic day parade was then a much awaited spectacle and had great emotions of prude & patriotism attached. The parade always had one contingent of boy scouts & NCC.
Our school Union Academy had been given the proud previlege of representing the only boys scouts contingent for years. It was mainly due to V.K.Arya Sir, our Physical Training teacher, who was an extra ordinary person having fought in the Azad Hind Fauj of Netaji Subhash Bose. He was also much respected by the Army officials managing the parade

Scouts & marching activities were a regular part of school curriculum but serious preparations for Republic Day Parade used to start 3 months before the event. A large contingent was initially selected and praticising for marchpast was done everyday for two hours. As the republic day aporoached nearer, Arya Sir used to become more demanding with perfection in every step, kadam tal & saluting besides the impecceable uniform. Finally, the best 30 were selected and made to go throygh rigorous training & practice.

On the d-day, our contingent of boy scouts left the school by 6 am for Rajpath from where the parade started. It was still dark & very cold.We were dressed in just shorts & shirts as no woollens were allowed. Winters used to be very severe in those days but the exhileration, pride & excitement for taking part in the parade was such that the nail biting cold didn’t affect us at all.

At Rajpath, we were given steaming hot tea & asked to take our place in the designated slot for the parade, which incidentally was just after the Air Force band. I was in the second row of the contingent. Soon, the parade started & our contingent commanded by the booming voice of Arya sir started moving from Rajpath towards the dais where the President & other dignitaries were seated. The whole path of the march from Rajpath to India Gate was full of people, cheering every contingent. Our boy scouts contingent was loudly cheered as we approached the dais. The excitement and feeling of emotions & pride with the roar of the crowd cheering us is difficult to be expressed in words. We felt like heroes. Our contingent smartly saluted the president & moved on towards India Gate. The cheering of crowd followed us through the march.

Finally, at Baroda House near India Gate, the boy scouts & girl guides contigent were taken off the parade as the rest of the contingents moved on till Red Fort.

Fortunately, there were no hiccups in marching or saluting and our teacher seemed extremely satisfied, relieved & happy at the same time. Such was the respect & love for Arya Sir that a word of satisfaction (incudentally he was a perfectionist & so rarely expressed satisfaction) and appreciation was as big a joy & pride as taking part in the parade itself. Of course we were much tired & exhausted by the time it ended and just spread ourselves on the lawns of Baroda House. It was only now we noticed how cold & numb our limbs & fingers were. After refreshments, we were taken in our school bus back to our school and we headed home by 2 pm or so.”

Now a days, I seldom come across any families who watch the parade. I think, the watching of parade must be made a family affair instead of taking Republic Day only as a holiday. It will inculcate the national pride in young children and an association with the country’s proud. It’s high time we must bring this change.

Wishing every Indian, Happy Republic Day! Let’s commit ourselves to build India and stand with it !!

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Down Memory Lane, Musings

That Old Black Sari.

In mid November , a sudden bout of sneezing was followed by cough and cold. Flu has challenged my immune system and overpowered it.

The Result : I was down with fever, sore throat , cough and cold. 😦

The very next day, I had my kitty party in a local restaurant, in Ahmedabad. Since I was the host and this was the last of the kitty parties of this round, I do not want to postpone it. I swallowed a “Calpol” and went. Being an extrovert, I feel better when I am outside. 😛

Black was the dressing theme of the day. I took out a south silk temple border saree in black and golden colour. It is an old saree of my mom, which I bought for her from my first ever salary as a lecturer. It was my first job after passing my M.Sc in Physics, from Kurukshetra University in mid eighties.

I had my first ever job offer letter even before my results were out. That was the power of an M.Sc -Physics in those days. Physics was one of the most sought after subject. It was a lecturer’s job in one of the well established PG colleges of Hisar. An adhoc appointment, as it used to save some bucks to the employer.The Adhoc appointees were not paid for summer vacations. This was a super example of exploitation of highly educated professionals and we promote that education helps in fighting exploitation. I was staying with my parents, so for me it was not a big issue. But for people, who had to run their families, it must have been very tough.

As soon as , my first salary was credited into my bank account, I went to the market to buy gifts for my parents and sister. Those were not the days of insta money where cheque payments come into account in a day or two. We were paid through cheques and it used to take at least 5-8 days for the money to be credited if the cheque is local. For an outstation cheque the waiting period could be a fortnight.

Till early eighties, Hisar was a small town, albeit a fast growing one, people used to know each other. Since my father also studied in Hisar veterinary college, he had many friends from other colleges, who have later set in businesses in the town. One of papa’s friend had a saree shop. On my routine visits to market with papa, papa often took me to his shop for some gupshup and catching up with his friends. Since, I have no knowledge about sarees in those days and I needed a reliable seller, I went to Jain uncle’s shop in the upcoming garment market of the city, “Rajguru market”. In those days, it never occured to me that this market is christened after the Indian revolutionary from Maharashtra, Shivram Hari Rajguru, who was hanged with Bhagat Singh. Thankfully, there was no known regionalism. Freedom fighters belong to the country, not to states.

Jain uncle’s shop was in a the bylanes of the market. I wanted to buy South Indian silk sarees for mummy. I bought two sarees for her. One is black and golden temple border saree and another pista green saree in self coloured jacquard design with thin silver zari border. I now wonder, when transporting was not easy for goods and people, how a small town like Hisar can have such beautiful and evergreen sarees. Mom wore the same pista green saree for my wedding. The importance she gave to my gift shows that she must have felt very happy to have these gifts from me. A woman of few words, I could see the pride and happiness in her eyes.

I bought a pant-shirt from Raymonds for papa. The same Raymond group, whose owner has thrown away his own father out of his house. Irony of fate 😦 . The Raymonds must have been part of such happy memories for so many people while at its own helm, there is a sad story of callousness and unhappiness.

After my mom’s demise, I got both the sarees back. It was summer vacations of 1994-95. Mom left us in November 1993 at an age of 55. Papa was alone in our majestic and beautiful home in Hisar. That year, we sisters planned to be with papa for whole of vacations. On a hot morning ( what else can one expect in Hisar in the month of May and June :)), papa summoned me and my sister and divided mom’s jewelry. He asked us to divide his sarees and other personal belongings. It was very painful. At that moment, I realised, it’s easier to handle the physical absence of a loved one but very difficult to handle memories and shared moments . Anyway, though difficult but its a task, which we both had to do and we did.

The sarees remained with mummy for almost 14 years. It still has mom’s scent. Whenever I wear it, I had a feel of mummy’s embrace over myself. I can feel her touch, her breath and her presence whenever I wear this black sari or any of her sarees for that matter.

I have converted the other sari in a beautiful salwar suit, though I regret it now. But in those days, children were small, it was easier to manage salwar suits than a saree. The grace of a saree should never be underestimated.

The beauty of Indian handloom sarees is that they surpass the expected time and easily become part of family heirloom. I do not have a daughter but I hope my daughter in law(s) will keep these family heirlooms with love and pride.

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Down Memory Lane, Musings, People

My Moma!

माँ , एक सपना सी हो गयी हो तुम तो!
तुम हो आंसू की बूँद, जो अंखियों मे ही बस के रह गयी,
अब तो एक अरसा हो गया, कुछ अपनी कहे कुछ तुम्हारी सुने,
पर आज भी माँ , तेरी व्ह खिलखिलाती हंसी आँखों मैं है मेरे बसी,
बस दिखती ही नहीं हो, यूँ तो दिल में हर समय रहती हो ,
माँ, तेरी गोद में सिर रख के , आँख मूँदने को दिल चाहता है,
तेरी हथेलियों मैं अपने चेहरा छुपाने को जी चाहता है ,
पर माँ , एक सपना सी हो गयी हो तुम तो!

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Down Memory Lane, Musings

Alone or with Children

Should one keep the children with oneself to keep company in the old age?

I have always been of the opinion that children should be allowed to soar and explore and as parent, I will help them to find their own place in the big bad/ good world. Both of my children left  homes after they passed class 12th. Elder one left to join an institute in south Indian state Tamilnadu, almost 1700km away. Younger one left still farther to New Zealand and then to USA.

The boys used to come once or twice an year. They try to coordinate and come together so that we have real fun together as family. The time when they are here keeps me and my husband real busy. We stay awake long hours in night, the mid night snacks and late night discussions were just fun. I loved all of this and much more.

The time of going back comes faster than expected. The moment of leaving  was really painful. It needs lots of control over mind and heart. So much of effort is needed to control tears. But the moment, boys reach their respective destinations, we both come back to our routine life.

Yeah, just as the boys have a routine away from the family, so do we . Now, we have enough time to laze around. No need to get up late at night to cook midnight snacks, or serve one meal a number of times. Now, we have enough time to exercise or read a novel without worrying about serving evening snacks to the hungry and tired souls coming from work out from gym. Going together on long drives, photography and sitting silently with a book has its own romance.

I may sound abnormal, but after letting go the children leaves life much more interesting and full of fun!  Being independent and having a routine which is less taxing and just right for growing years leave with just enough energy to enjoy the twilight years . It’s much better for the children too as the experiences they have in managing their affairs teaches them a lot.

The time flies faster than we ever imagine and this arrangement is great when they are married. I am not at all a believer of keeping boys with myself after their marriages. It’s better to live independently and be there for each other when the need be. While living alone , one can persue their own interests at their own pace and become responsible towards their health. I do not want the fast paced life for ever.

Live and let live !

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Down Memory Lane, LIFESTYLE, Musings

20 march, 2012: Freedom!

After such a long time I am back! I was lost in work. I was working on projects, I was not convinced and finally I had taken a call and threw all of them away. How much relaxed I am.

Working from home has its own advantages and disadvantages. I understand, I had enjoyed all the advantages and am overflowing with the enjoyment of WFH. Time has come to move on…. ! But move where is the big question.

The moment I have decided to call it a day, I felt so light!

Tomorrow, I am going to meet my old university days friend after 30 long years. Its a great feeling.

The late afternoon is filled with aaha..ahha of toothache. It is still continuing. :(. Though its past midnight, I am dreading lying down. As I lie down, the toothache aggravates. I found out that lying down increases the blood pressure in the tooth, hence I am dreading lying down to sleep. Tonight, I will be with my friend- lappy. I guess, I must watch a movie here. Some interesting movie on YouTube. Or i can even listen some interesting folk songs… chalo bye friends!

Good Morning!

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Down Memory Lane, Musings

A day spent with Kusum.

Hi, Good morning! The bright sunny day, is colder than yesterday. There was power in the morning till 9.25 am but now I am reverted to inverter  for my power requirements. To those, who have never faced power crisis, inverter is a small power house, available in different capacities, run on batteries. Earlier the car batteries were used and now special inverter batteries are available.  The inverter now supplies sine wave electricity, which does not harm the electrical appliances.

Yesterday, I did two major and boring tasks: a bank job and the routine household shopping from a neighbour-hood HUDA market. Kusum came in the late afternoon and we had tea together, with lots of chatpati gupshup and some healthy and non healthy snacks. I and Kusum went to the local market (not the one I went earlier. There are two local small market places nearby). I had to drop the phone bill cheque in the drop down box and buy some medicines for my dad.

On way back, I bought the daily milk requirements. I came back walking to satisfy my guilt of not doing my routine exercise because of the biting cold in the mornings. I met an elderly neighbour, who had an accident and was recently operated. Meeting an old and lonely person is always very frightening to me. It is like looking into my own future.

I am little confused about old age dilemmas. In general  , does one become introvert and cuts himself/ herself from the people or people in general cuts them off. I have seen seniors less appreciative about the new generations, changing the norms specified by them. I guess, this brings in the gap. You may call it generation gap or a relationship gap or a communication gap. I am a people’s person. I do not know, how will I handle such situations. But as of now, I am appreciative of all the new things around and very well connected with new and young generation around me.

Let us see, how things take turns!

CYA then,

Neerja

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