Retirement brings in a mini fortune in the form of terminal benefits. Besides there is pension which one can enjoy without tension. However, it also brings along ample free time at one’s disposal, especially if there are no post-retirement stints or engagements. Every day is a Sunday. How to kill time becomes a prime concern. What adds to the agony is that even family members are not ready to see you idling away the entire day. In fact, they are not used to your daylong presence in the house, day after day. Verbal spats can spark out of nothing.
I learnt this the hard way when I retired. My wife, a homemaker, who used to see my back by 8 am on weekdays, was not amused to see me at home all day. Her displeasure stemmed from her perception of my getting into her hair for apparently no reason. There was a visible change in her after my retirement. She appeared to have become impatient with me soon after the novelty of my retirement wore off. I tried to discern the reason, but could not, despite a lot of brooding. Perhaps my permanent presence in the house was in itself an eyesore for her. Maybe she did not want me encroaching upon her turf, which she had zealously guarded for three decades, though I had no such intention.
To my delight, I found that television serials were her way of unwinding herself, both from house-work stress and mood swings. I did not know that mindless serials could keep a woman glued to the screen for hours. Despite seemingly having known her inside out for years, it was a revelation for me. Not only serials, there appeared to be another — talking with relatives and friends on the mobile. I did not know that any topic under the sun, from cooking items of lunch/dinner to gossip, could be worthy of discussions.
I have detested serials and mobile phones all my life. While I find the former a sheer waste of time and electricity, I view mobiles as a nuisance — anyone can disturb you at any time of the day or night. I was dismayed to find both flourishing in my house.
I am free to enjoy my own pastimes like reading, writing and gardening. I shudder to imagine my plight of always being in the cross hairs of my wife, if instead of remaining engrossed in her ventures, she focused all her attention on my perceived innumerable warts that she has persisted with all our married life, but failed to iron out. I never knew that both my anathema — serials and mobiles — would be so crucial for my peaceful retirement life. Thank God for small mercies.
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