29th

29th is a very special day, you have one or two days of broke-ness. I was born on the 29th many summers ago. My birthday treat is always on the 1st of the next month since I am always broke.

February this year is special because it has 29 days. God knows, how many eyes blinked their way to a new life? How many closed theirs forever? How many lost their near and dear ones, how many were given the marching orders?

29th is special for me this year- Dad retired from service. Those brown eyes, wonder how he must have felt to wear his office suit for the last time in his work life. Those firm rugged hands, did they tremble when he wore his socks and moccasins for that day? As much as he woke up to a weird feeling of never having to go to work again from the next morn, I was also feeling horrible to attend the team dinner that evening. I can never understand the feeling of retirement, maybe the work culture prepares you as such to get fired/laid off any moment. One is always on the move, prepared for the worst.

I spoke to him with tremendous regret that I could not be with him to be there to wish him a great day and be there to have dinner together that evening. He was like, chill girl…go ahead, have a safe party and reach home in good time.

All those nice ads on TV about great retirement plans and all, how true are they?? I know a lot of uncles and aunts who lead very shelved lives, economically very thrifty and tending their garden. My dad is not one to pluck weeds from the garden, he left that to my mother. He prefers haggling with the fish monger and the vegetable vendor. He loves talking to students about a forward moving radical India. He is a semi-Gandhian for whom the other is more important than the self. At times, I hate the passive stance and his unshakeable faith in being content and not fighting for an already coveted orange. He loves his meagre reading patience, just about manages to read 2 newspapers in 8 hours on a weekend. I always ask him to write, he says yes, he will. Probably now, after years of cartography and plotting of confidential maps...the gentleman needs to pick up the pen, he will. I told him, that the anniversary of his retirement will come occasionally, once in four years.

He has done some funny things tho’ post retirement. He always refrained from casting his vote during any election, he did it for the 1st time this year. I am happy. He wants to read the TELL ME WHY and TELL ME MORE children/adult series of books, asked me to pick them up when I visit him anytime soon. I will.

He asked me when I am planning to settle down, maybe when I am 29 and on my birthday. I am sure I won't be that broke then.He was not amused.

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