Through most of our adult lives when we’re working hard and trying to keep up with the rat race, many of us dream of having time off to fill our days vacationing, traveling, relaxing and spending more time with loved ones. But once we professionally retire, for many of us, it doesn’t turn out to be all we thought it would. After the initial month-long euphoria, a lull sets in – there’s boredom, bringing along loneliness or even depression – and we realise we miss working. In some cases, the retirement income doesn’t prove enough either. There’s any number of reasons to continue working post retirement – it helps you stay mentally and physically active and keeps your sense of self-worth strong, it keeps boredom at bay and it provides an additional source of income.
A Second Innings in your Career is always a great idea. Of course, in keeping with your preferences, it needs to be better thought out so as to accommodate greater flexibility, fewer hours and less stress. Instead of fitting your life around your work demanding your full-time presence, you can choose to fit your work around a job that allows you to pursue your interests. This is usually every retiree’s dream come true! Our Community is blessed with a good number of senior citizens and many have successfully embarked on their second career innings. Parsi Times Asst. Editor, Delaveen Tarapre, catches up with three such dynamic personalities and shares their inspirational stories with you…
One of the most-adored seniors of our Community, the ‘Rani to Pappa Ni’ (Superhit Film: Munnabhai MBBS) fame, the dashing Bomi Dotivala’s account is quite motivating! Besides carving an unparalleled niche in Parsi and Gujarati theatre as well as Bollywood, Bomi worked as a ‘Credit Investigator’ with a bank throughout his illustrious career, having had almost four postings in his 42 years of service to the organisation. However, Bomi and his late wife, Dolly were driven by the passion for theatre. It all began with Late Dorab Mehta, Homi Tavadia and Hilla and Nadir Nariman’s dramas – their association with Adi Marzban commenced with his variety revue, ‘Dhong Song’ at Birla Theatre in 1961, where the duo performed as singers… there was no looking back since!
Talking about his journey post retirement, Bomi says, “Today, I have retired from my job but not from theatre. Plays have got a certain life-span and now I spend most of my time in social service, working with 15 different NGOs that aid the handicapped, lepers, elderly and the underprivileged. I see this as a tiny contribution on my part to lessen the Almighty’s burden. As seniors, we need to feel a sense of purpose in life and continue to fulfil it. Along with theatre and social service, my daily routine also includes swimming, house-hold chores, paperwork and going through articles on spirituality, especially Meher Baba’s discourses.”
Sharing a piece of advice to his peers, Bomi adds, “At our age it is very essential to keep ourselves busy, because an idle mind is a devil’s workshop. If you are not doing anything, the idle mind is open to various negative thoughts and desires that leads to stress and physical ill-health. When we are occupied, our mind is at peace and ease. So always keep smiling and indulge in activities that make you and others happy too.”
Being an exemplary ‘better half’ to her late husband, Jal, our Community’s leading Community and Social Service enthusiast, Arnavaz Mistry played a major role in supporting his transport business, and being a hands-on mother for her two girls to ensure they grow into independent and responsible citizens. Having completed her BA through correspondence post marriage, Arnavaz soon realised her passion to serve mankind and decided to participate actively in social service and community causes, having justified her role as a fab mother.
Holding a Master’s degree in Social Service, Arnavaz caters to an array of NGOs and causes. Arnavaz says, “On most days, you would either find me at the leprosy home, blind school, Parsi Ward at JJ Hospital or at the Parekh Dharamshala. I also associate myself with street children and children with special needs. These daily associations not only keep my hands full but I also consider myself truly privileged to be able to care for the needy.”
Finding a need to back her passion with an academic credential, Arnavaz completed a course in Gerontology from TISS. Currently, the President of the Parsi philanthropic group, ‘Young Rathaeshtars’, Arnavaz annually visits various interior villages of Gujarat and distributes essential items worth Rs.6,000 to over seventy needy Parsi families.
Conveying the message of keeping one’s self busy through social work and philanthropy, Arnavaz adds, “We seniors can do so much for the less privilege, with the spare time in hand. If financial constraints restrict you from indulging in charitable work, then your talents can be the best gift that you can offer to the younger generation. Besides spending a few hours in prayer, I strongly advocate that silvers do something to keep their mind occupied. If you sit idle, you tend to drain yourself mentally and physically. Do not allow that – instead pursue your hobbies and hone your talents!”
Dara Khodaiji was one of the fortunate people who was able to make a career of what he was most passionate about. He qualified for English language, Literature and the French language, and went on to teach in a boarding school out of Mumbai. Soon he began teaching at a coaching class in the city and imparted English speaking skills to those who wished to study or establish a business abroad but had no fluency in the English and French language.
Speaking to Parsi Times, Dara says, “I enjoyed every moment of my working days and I continue to do so post retirement. Since I have more time now, I indulge in writing, reading on Zoroastrianism, travelling, photography and collecting curios. My greatest fear is being overtaken by popular technology and being left out. I believe one can age without growing old and hence I spend some time cultivating my knowledge about recent technologies.”
When asked about some ‘pearls of wisdom’ for silvers alike, Dara stated, “We mustn’t forget to laugh and be merry, to eat and drink, albeit in moderation, and definitely thank God for this lovely life. Old age and retirement does not mean spending time in old rocking chair and dreaming of days to go by. Get up and try to live up to the dreams you had dreamt of but did not have time to do so. A bit of social work can be very
satisfying. Learning a new language or a new craft can keep old age at bay. Love in the heart and freedom from worry and hatred, keeps the mind stress-free. Live long and live happy!”