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Monday, July 8, 2013

Old is gold — yesterday, today and ; tomorrow - The Hindu

Old is gold, it is always said. When I was a five-year old, some 55 years ago, my elders said their olden days were gold. Today, my son, who is around 30, says, “old is gold.” 

I always wonder why everyone's olden days are better than their present. Old music and songs were good. Old films were outstanding. Old clothings were of better quality. Old craftsmanship was worthier. Old silk sarees were good. In the olden days, food was of high standards. Old vessels and wares were of high quality.
Old teachers were excellent. Old schools were better centres of learning. Old furniture pieces were more appealing. Old houses were user-friendly, airy and well ventilated. Old games with minimum but crude gadgets were more enchanting. The old All India Radio entertained us all with high quality programmes. Old friendships were more reliable. Old wine was tasty. Why this old kolaveri di and da? Is it something to do with one's psyche? No. It cannot be brushed off or wished away simply like that. Old is, and was, really gold. But why? 

Times are changing fast. Values are eroding. Goodness is replaced and it is now measured by smartness to get on with life. We have become excessively vigilant, touchy and more suspicious for no real reason. Today, we frisk everyone, inwardly at least. We take things with a pinch of salt. Though today's material comforts — that could not even be dreamt of a decade ago — are aplenty, still something is amiss about life. What is it? Peace? Happiness?

Peace prevailed earlier, despite wars. There was trust. There was hope. People relaxed better. There was no clamour for things that one did not possess. The absence of those, that were not deemed essential to own, never made any difference to a happy life. 

There was contentment. Competition was less cut-throat. There was concern, affection and true bonding. There was togetherness. More important, people were patient. No doubt, there were poverty and scarcity, paucity and difficulty. But there was beauty in life and comity among all. Disputes were quickly and amicably sorted out. Courts had fairly less business. 

When China invaded us in the early 1960s, there was acute rationing of essentials. Sugar disappeared. But people were happy with jaggery. Wheat replaced rice in many south Indian families as a one-time staple food. Fasting and starving were daily affairs. People helped each other. There was a total blackout and people went without power for days on end. There was camaraderie. 

Places of worship were serene and tranquil. There was no terror harboured, either in the mind or for real. All communities co-existed amicably and people waited for better times. They tolerated deficiencies in others and accommodated idiocies, shortcomings and pitfalls of others. They took oddities in their stride without murmur. Rank consumerism was non-existent.

Read More :
Old is gold — yesterday, today & tomorrow - The Hindu

Indian psyche and Senior citizens - The Hindu

Pension blues and post-retirement life are two scary areas which any middle-class employee would find perplexing .

Had Mark Twain lived in India and experienced the travails of senior citizens, he would have rephrased his words on a positive frame of mind. His quote, “Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter,” would have been revised as “Age does matter over mind, if you don’t mind you are in trouble” in India. 

In fact, there is a sense of pity and anxiety the moment people retire from active service and are dismissed as old fossil in a maddening race for money, fame and name. They allow the near and dear to grab as much wealth as possible. They also realise that in this unpredictable lifestyle they may not even live to see the brighter morrow to throw money as they like, yet they chase that cushy bank balance which could see them through their unexplored post-retirement life. 

Truly, none should grudge this thinking and people should also spare a thought for their elderly parents in the autumn of their lives. Sadly, it’s a vicious circle where the earning member and his wife struggle to provide a decent education to their kids and yet try to balance their lives with the well-being of elders.
An NGO study in a national daily gives a disturbing picture of the lives of senior citizens. One out of every two senior citizens in urban India is unhappy with his/her living conditions and 80% are looking for a better lifestyle that includes more shopping, socialising and holidays. Perhaps, this may not be actually true since a majority of them prefer to visit temples/shrines and listen to discourses. 

The nationwide survey of 1,900 senior citizens was conducted across 12 cities including Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore by a market research firm over three months last year. It studied four parameters — socio-economic issues, security issues, healthcare and lifestyle needs. More than 80% of seniors seek to sustain their lifestyle with age or improve it, as they do not wish to ‘retire’ from a normal, active life, the study found. More senior citizens want to stay young at heart, with 75% respondents saying they wanted to socialise, engage in sports, go on a leisure outing and shop for luxury goods. 

This may be true in cases where their savings can ensure that lifestyle but a majority of the pensioners make it doubly sure before spending their pension on any such luxurious getaways.

A regular morning walker with me, a D-G of a Government of India establishment, found himself lost in society the day he retired. He stopped appearing for the morning walk as preparatory to his retirement for the past 15 days and just two days after his retirement he looked totally haggard, lost and shaken. 

I could read his emotions and forlorn state, as if he was cut off from society. He was a terror in his power-packed post and many of his colleagues disliked his behaviour. The day he retired, many were found celebrating, while the formal retirement function was on in another wing of the office! Can we blame him for discharging his duties dispassionately and curtly? As my former boss used to say, “I am not paid to please all” ... true, but does he have to be a demon to be an upright and disciplined boss?

Indian psyche & senior citizens - The Hindu

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Retirement homes in vogue as Indians live longer and prosper

By Aditi Shah

(Reuters) - The Athashri retirement community offers the over-55 crowd Western-style amenities such as a clubhouse, gym, library and pool but with a distinctly Indian twist: a temple on site where residents worship Ganesh, the elephant-headed god followed by many Hindus in Maharashtra state.
The 180-unit development in the city of Pune, which enjoys better weather and less bustle than nearby Mumbai, overlooks open fields and hills and is set in lush gardens - an appealing escape from the crowds and grime of India's mega-cities.

Retirement communities like this one are just beginning to gain traction in India, where the multi-generational "joint family" structure endures despite rampant modernisation. The concept of housing for the elderly still carries a social stigma in the country, which accounts for less than 1 percent of the $25 billion senior housing industry worldwide.

But rising incomes, longer life expectancy and the rise of nuclear families as more people relocate for jobs are driving demand for retirement homes in Asia's third-largest economy, and attracting developers and investors.
Paranjape Schemes Ltd, which manages Athashri, is among a handful of companies tapping the burgeoning senior living sector including Max India Ltd, backed by Goldman Sachs Group Inc, LIC Housing Finance Ltd, The Covai Group and Ashiana Housing Ltd.

Tata Housing Development Co Ltd, part of India's biggest conglomerate, launched its first senior housing project in May in the southern city of Bangalore, and plans at least four more, catering to independent retirees looking for better security and services than what is available in ordinary housing.

"A significant section of seniors today are independent, financially stable, well-travelled and socially connected, and as a result have a fairly good idea of how they want to spend time after retirement," said Brotin Banerjee, CEO, Tata Housing, which expects revenues of 950 million rupees ($16 million) from its 700 million rupee project investment over three years.

While India is much younger than Japan, China or the United States, the number of people over age 60 is expected to more than double to 173 million by 2025.

Real estate consultant Jones Lang LaSalle estimates current annual demand for senior homes across 135 Indian cities at 312,000, far outstripping supply of 10,000 to 15,000 new homes now in the pipeline.

 Read More :
RPT-Retirement homes in vogue as Indians live longer and prosper
| Reuters

Lets give them Dignity , Security , Love , Care & Smile.

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