‘We have been for­tu­nate’

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Ibought a 3BHK flat (re­sale) in Ashi­ana Ut­sav six years ago dur­ing Navara­tra be­cause we be­lieve that buy­ing prop­erty brings us luck in these aus­pi­cious nine days. This is con­sid­ered to be a pe­riod of pu­rifi­ca­tion and thus good for buy­ing prop­er­ties and start­ing new ven­tures.

Six years ago, I took this de­ci­sion to shift from Kalkaji in Delhi to Bhi­wadi in Ra­jasthan be­cause my work re­quired me to travel a lot and my wife, who had not been well, would be cared for in a project for se­nior res­i­dents.

My pro­fes­sional life be­gan in 1966, when I joined the In­dian Army. For the next 25 years, I served in places like Jammu and Kash­mir and var­i­ous parts of north and north-east In­dia till I was fi­nally posted in Delhi in 1990. How­ever, around this time, my wife fell ill and my son was about to start his ca­reer. I wanted to take care of my fam­ily so sought vol­un­tary re­tire­ment.

I also wanted to spend my sil­ver in­nings in peace away from the hus­tle and bus­tle of the city. One of our friends, who had moved into a re­tire­ment re­sort, had a se­ri­ous dis­cus­sion with me about re­tire­ment. I felt the need of liv­ing dif­fer­ently af­ter hang­ing my boots up as I re­alised the chang­ing so­cio-eco­nomic sce­nario in In­dian so­ci­ety would soon have a great im­pact in se­niors’ life.

I feel Delhi is not safe for el­derly peo­ple. First of all, the re­sale value of real es­tate has gone up so much that most homes are be­yond the reach of mid­dle-class peo­ple like us. Sec­ond, even af­ter spend­ing so much money, where is the guar­an­tee that you are safe? Ev­ery day we read about cases of crimes against the el­derly; we read about un­to­ward in­ci­dents in news­pa­pers. So, I de­cided to shift to Bhi­wadi. Buy­ing a house dur­ing Navra­tras has worked for me, I feel I have been for­tu­nate ever since.

—As told to Jee­van Prakash Sharma

Ashok Gon­gopad­hyay with his son and grand­son

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