Thursday, February 19, 2009
Mr. Manjunath (name changed) and his wife had decided long ago (back in 1970s) to settle in a peaceful city after his retirement from the government job that he was into. They had chosen Bangalore over the other choices as it had a good weather and all facilities that people in their older days may want. Close to 40 years later they regret their decision even as they continue to live in Bangalore and have come to terms with the life in this IT capital of India.
The tale of Mr. Manjunath is not unique. Like many others his age he had saved (the concept of saving for the future is something unique to India, recession may teach the west some Indian values) a little money for his post retirement life, taken a small 'home' in Bangalore and had thought of living out the rest of his days in the garden city.
The IT and silicon took over Bangalore and the little savings evaporated in no time. Mr. Manjunath was forced to find other ways to keep the income flowing into his household and he now owns a small shop selling groceries and condiments which is taken care of by his wife, himself and their domestic help (a small kid, some 11 years old).
Mr. Manjunath is still a happy man as he is proud that he's still independent and doesn't have to ask for monetary support from his relatives. However, the change in his facial expressions is evident when one talks to him about his past plans and how the city's development has robbed his post retirement peace plans.
Bangalore has also created new avenues for a number of people (not everyone is complaining). Mrs. Neelam is an independent woman who carries 3 cellphones with her (and they keep ringing all the time). Married into a marwari family at an early age, she was not able to graduate from a secondary school. Her husband, a government employee working in Bangalore, is today proud of his wife who earns much more than him. She started giving PG (paying guest) accommodations to young girls and boys who were flooding the Bangalore's already crowded streets a few years ago and the rest is history. At present she owns 3 buildings and has taken 6 more on lease where she runs her hostels and PG accommodations. She still finds it difficult to speak fluently in English but manages well in the five stars hotels and resorts of Goa where she goes every year to celebrate the new year's eve with her 'kitty' friends!