30 July 2013

Chance meeting

Here I am sitting in the Business Lounge in the new beautiful Kolkata airport. Flight leaves at 4:10 AM (ugh πŸ™ ) and the Lounge is pretty deserted. In fact two more passengers other than me.
One of them is an old gentleman (I figured a little younger than my dad) sitting not too far from me. He suddenly walked up to me and asked me “I know you are very busy but can I ask you for a help? Can you keep an eye on my luggage – I need to go to the toilet”. I, of course did not tell him that I am not really busy – just blogging.
When he came back, just so that I remain confident that I have not lost the art of irritating my wife and kids by making friends with complete strangers, I decided to take some interest in his story. Boy, am I glad I did.
He asked me if I have come on business – I told him about my parents and their health and why I travel to India for personal reasons not business. He seemed concerned and asked me about my dad’s age. I said 75. He asked me if I could guess his age. I figured a little less than my dad – he is traveling internationally by himself – so I pegged it around 65-68. He said 87 !!! I was like WHAT? a 87 year old Indian, by definition should be in a wheelchair in any airport. Or that is the impression I have gathered watching elderly Indians traveling at various airports.
Evidently, he has four daughters – in SFO, Houston, Philly and London. He visits them one by one once a year. So, I asked him what does he do when he is not visiting his daughters. He fished out his business card and said “I practice”. From the business card, looks like he is a tax lawyer. I was just floored by this.
So, I asked him – “Help me understand this. You do not need money. You are 87. Why are you working???”. He said his wife left him many moons back. And when his daughters left the country, he just was too lost to know what to do. So, he went back to the one thing he knew – practicing law!!
Fascinating!!
I wonder if forty years from now, even if I wanted to, can I possibly work in my domain? Also, will I be strong enough to travel internationally all by myself?
There is something to be learnt from Mr. Mahapatra from Bankura – you are only as old as you think you are!!!



Posted July 30, 2013 by Rajib Roy in category "Vacations

50 COMMENTS :

  1. By Kruti Mehta on

    The two uncles I have– one a practicing physician and one working exec– both 80– are the most fun-loving, energetic and young at heart people I know.. Last year when no one would go zip lining with me, they went with me!!

    Reply
  2. By Kruti Mehta (Post author) on

    The two uncles I have– one a practicing physician and one working exec– both 80– are the most fun-loving, energetic and young at heart people I know.. Last year when no one would go zip lining with me, they went with me!!

    Reply
  3. By Shishir Gupta on

    That indeed is an Inspiration to all of us with the hope that we can always be someone worthwhile as we move along with our lives.. I guess there is no choice either..

    Reply
  4. By Shishir Gupta (Post author) on

    That indeed is an Inspiration to all of us with the hope that we can always be someone worthwhile as we move along with our lives.. I guess there is no choice either..

    Reply
  5. By Raghu Ram (Post author) on

    Renu’s dad is 84 and still practices full time as a physician with a busy practice.

    Reply
  6. By Probal DasGupta on

    A relatively rare breed, but there are others like him. They are an inspiration to the rest of us. Thanks for sharing the anecdote. I suspect you might be yet another club member in 40 years. πŸ™‚

    Reply
  7. By Probal DasGupta (Post author) on

    A relatively rare breed, but there are others like him. They are an inspiration to the rest of us. Thanks for sharing the anecdote. I suspect you might be yet another club member in 40 years. πŸ™‚

    Reply
  8. By Vineet Seth on

    I see you in a second career of story telling at that age, Rajib. Great story. Indians implicitly trust other Indians in lounges – had that experience all over the world. Same situation outside an airport my guess is that it will not exhibit the same level of trust.

    Reply
  9. By Vineet Seth (Post author) on

    I see you in a second career of story telling at that age, Rajib. Great story. Indians implicitly trust other Indians in lounges – had that experience all over the world. Same situation outside an airport my guess is that it will not exhibit the same level of trust.

    Reply
  10. By Rajib Roy on

    Shridhar, I am the one always in awe of your extensive backpacking, incredible travels, LAtin dancing, meditation. I have been itching to sit with for hours some day…. A lot I want to learn from you…

    Reply
  11. By Rajib Roy (Post author) on

    Shridhar, I am the one always in awe of your extensive backpacking, incredible travels, LAtin dancing, meditation. I have been itching to sit with for hours some day…. A lot I want to learn from you…

    Reply
  12. By Rajib Roy on

    You know Kushal, there is a whole lot of truth to that. Thinking back, your dad was everything I always want to be – he always took the exception path with exceptional results. His physical fitness, mental ability to scale (he could talk to us as effortlessly on topics that excited us at that age on one end and on the other he could hold down a great conversation with my dad who had completely different interests). The best was how he too VR early on. That was unheard of – leaving a DSP job and then taking another job after that. In DSP – at least on those days – everybody worked to retire. He certainly is something I want to emulate. I will absolutely meet him next time I am in Durgapur. No questions…

    Reply
  13. By Rajib Roy (Post author) on

    You know Kushal, there is a whole lot of truth to that. Thinking back, your dad was everything I always want to be – he always took the exception path with exceptional results. His physical fitness, mental ability to scale (he could talk to us as effortlessly on topics that excited us at that age on one end and on the other he could hold down a great conversation with my dad who had completely different interests). The best was how he too VR early on. That was unheard of – leaving a DSP job and then taking another job after that. In DSP – at least on those days – everybody worked to retire. He certainly is something I want to emulate. I will absolutely meet him next time I am in Durgapur. No questions…

    Reply
  14. By Kushal Mazumdar on

    Thanks Rajib; I will let him know. He will be glad to hear that. I am very unlike him; but yes he has been very inspiring for me always.

    Reply
  15. By Kushal Mazumdar (Post author) on

    Thanks Rajib; I will let him know. He will be glad to hear that. I am very unlike him; but yes he has been very inspiring for me always.

    Reply
  16. By Preetha Mahadevan on

    Just for the contrast -http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/the-working-elderly-winners-finalists/article4969492.ece?homepage=true&ref=slideshow#im-image-0

    Reply
  17. By Preetha Mahadevan (Post author) on

    Just for the contrast -http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/the-working-elderly-winners-finalists/article4969492.ece?homepage=true&ref=slideshow#im-image-0

    Reply

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