Retired but untired

Published - June 22, 2015 11:40 pm IST

“Now that you are completely retired, how do you kill your time?” is a question I face when I meet friends. I tell them I don’t have any time to kill, as I have all the time in the world to spend on my hobbies, such as reading, writing and cooking.

My day starts at 4 a.m. After a cup of coffee or tea, I am at my desk going through my e-mails. And then I start writing: at least four articles will be stored in my desktop at any given point in time. At 6.30 a.m. I go for a walk.

I return by 7.30 a.m. and go to the kitchen. I prepare my own breakfast, and cook one or two items for lunch — an activity I share with my daughter-in-law who operates a separate kitchen on the first floor of the house. I wanted both my son and I to have our respective spaces.

Once I get into the kitchen it becomes hectic. I spend a lot of time cleaning utensils, keeping things in the right place, wiping the granite top — all of which takes more time than the time taken to cook. It takes less than 45 minutes to cook a decent South Indian meal — excluding the time taken to cut vegetables. I also find time to pluck the flowers from the potted plants around our home, which my late wife had lovingly tended. Then I have a quick bath and perform puja. By now it is 11 a.m. and I am physically tired. I have been on my feet for nearly five hours. It is time to take a break. I relax on my chair, a simple but functional duplicate of the unwieldy Lazy Boy sofas you find in NRI homes in the U.S. I use this time to read newspapers and catch up on books.

Lunch time is 1 p.m., after which I go back to my comptuer and look at Facebook, Twitter and so on, in order to avoid going to sleep soon after lunch. Then, 2.30 p.m. to 3.30 p.m. is time to rest.

By 3.30 p.m. my part-time driver, who works between 3.30 p.m. and 8.30 p.m. arrives. Driving has become difficult for me due to poor reflexes. Driving at night particularly has become a nightmare. So I plan my outings — shopping, visiting friends and relatives, attending meetings of voluntary bodies, social clubs and so on after 4 p.m. This is the time I consciously try to make someone happy through words, gestures, or little acts.

I have my snack dinner (‘tiffin’) at home by 7.30 p.m., when my son and daughter-in-law join me so we can have a chat around the dining table. Post-dinner, I try watching TV for an hour, mostly the news channels which at that point have the silly debates on irrelevant topics conducted by loud, overbearing and obnoxious TV anchors. I don’t know why I watch them, but I do.

If the TV programmes are impossible to watch I go back to a book. I hit the sleep button latest by 10 p.m. Before I realise it, it is morning again. I wake up, ready to face another day.

So where is the time to kill? The secret of a happy life for senior citizens who have retired from their active working lives is to re-tool themselves to an active retired life as I have done and I am sure many others are doing.


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