Rajesh sat back on his cane sofa heaving a sigh as he looked across at his wife Neeta busy sorting out her wardrobe.
It had been a while since the two of them were alone at home. These quiet private moments were rare. Two months ago, they had a similar moment, now was one more such occasion. To both of them these were treasured moments.
Rajesh reflected on the last ten years that had gone by post his retirement. It had changed so dramatically. He had superannuated as a head time office supervisor from a steel plant at Jamshedpur. His elder son, Binoo had moved across to Nagpur and was working in procurement in a construction firm. Binoo had been married for five years to Mamta and had a two year old son, Sachin. Rajesh’s second son Rakesh, a year younger to Binoo was based in Chhindwara working as a clerk in a mill.
It seemed then, that post retirement, it would be the perfect thing to buy a house in Nagpur large enough for the entire family to stay together under one roof. Would that not be ideal, he thought as he broached the idea with Neeta. Many well-wishers had questioned his decision as this would at one go put all of his life’s savings into this one big investment with very little money left in the bank for drawing upon for personal expenses.
Binoo and Rakesh were delighted with the idea. It would save them the expense of rent, and after all they would all be living again under one roof and take care of each other. Mamta was most delighted too. She felt that this might give her an opportunity to get back to a working career once more, a break she had taken since the past two years. After all, they were all one family and expenses for the household would be shared by both Rakesh and Binoo.
That was then, a decade ago. How life had changed since. The joint family magic lasted for just six months, then melted away, like as if the package was taken off, and just the rot remained. Mamta’s plan to get back to work evaporated when she discovered she was pregnant again. Rajesh and Neeta delighted at the prospect of being grandparents again had generously offered to move out of the master bedroom and exchange rooms with Binoo. Not surprisingly, this offer was accepted promptly.
A year later Rakesh got married to Sunitha. He was keen to have a larger room now and both Rajesh and Neeta requested him to take their room, and they would move over to the smallest room, in their three bedroom flat. They did not mind over the years moving from the large master bedroom, first to the second bedroom, and now to the guest room. What was really annoying was the fact that the washing machine was placed in their bathroom, and often they would have the rest of the family trooping in and leaving them with little privacy.
Rajesh and Neeta would enjoy taking an evening walk together and catching up with others in the park. However, as the household work increased, they could find very little time to be together. From cooking, to helping the children they had little time to catch their breath during the day. From a quiet peaceful life they enjoyed at Jamshedpur for several years, this seemed like being in the middle of a ‘egg shells’ each day, with occasional family under currents and misunderstandings that are bound to crop up when so many find themselves living together. As much as Rajesh and Neeta tried to avoid adding to the misunderstanding, their occasional comment or lack of it would create added tension.
Rajesh breathed deeply as he thought pensively. His retirement plan did not exactly work out as he had planned. He wondered if things would improve, but he had a doubt it would.
Readers, what is your retirement plan? Join me and share retirement plans that have had intended and unintended consequences.