Today is the retirement day that I had anticipated whilst in school. School days. There was no job markets. People you knew either worked in government offices or with multinationals. Dream was to retire at age 55 with a salary of twenty thousand rupees a month! And we would be happy if we could land a job with a start salary of five hundred rupees a month! Never thought of buying a house, because it was simply out of reach. Never thought about how we are going to manage our future in the single room chawl that we grew up in. Never even thought about buying a car. In those days you had a fiat or a an ambassador. A two wheeler was perhaps the dream, with a Bajaj Chetak being available early if you had a NRI friend. Otherwise, you had to settle for something less, with a wait period of over a year! Of course, it cost you a fancy five thousand rupees! Other than that, I do not think our entire group worried about anything. Life was uncomplicated. One could commute cheaply and easily in the local trains. Auto rickshaws were unknown. You easily walked five to six miles everyday without even thinking about it. Of course, eating out was a luxury. The ultimate was to have a thali at Purohit which cost upwards of three rupees and five rupees if you opted for a silver thali!.
Movie going was fun and cheap. A single rupee was sufficient to catch a movie and a couple of hot samosas.
Once we got out of school, the highest academic ambition used to be IIT. No one knew about MBA. No guide. Sit down at an Irani hotel and decide the future. Could have joined any stream or college after SSC. Commerce and closest to home was the final choice, because of a five minute brain storming at a railway station. That was enough to set one off on a career!
Time for thanksgiving. Got far more than I yearned for or imagined possible. Retirement is a continuous thing. Change is a better option. At some point no one wants you, then you are truly retired. Hope that there is enough to do once the stage is reached.
Grateful to friends who made this long journey easy.Too many to thank individually.
Lucky that I am still part of a group that grew up together from school and still meet (not on the net, but on the streets)
Family has been a pillar of support, though I cannot be accused of reciprocating always.
Thanks to my friends and family for letting me get far more than what I deserved.