Retirement -Time For Everything

by Sue
(Ohio, USA)

After five years of retirement, I'm still lovin' it. Although I must say I'm getting slightly bored now that my family are out and about.

I don't do much traveling, sort of a stay at home gal who's 72.... that's a good reason to have a pen pal I say.

Wendy: Sue - I agree! Travel the world with pen pals... from the comfort of your home!

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MERI DADI ... (My grandmother)
by: (Mr.)Durgesh Kumar Srivastava New Delhi, India

Esteemed e-pal Miss Sue,

I fully agree with Wendy's suggestion to you "Travel the world with your pen pals !" Here is the story of my grandma.

Dadi seemed to be always there. She was about 70 when I was about 10. I lived with her as she lived in the 8th and 9th decades of her life. And what a life it was!

Lean, dark and slightly bent at the waist, she was a pensioner Her monthly pension of five rupees came by postal money order from some social organization as a reward for some patriotic deed of her late husband who had died young.

Dadi would rise before anyone else. Her first morning job was to pour the water stored overnight in her earthen pot into the ten or so potted plants that we maintained in the house and fill it with fresh water. Then she would pick her basket up and, while it was still dark, leave for a dip in the holy waters of river Ganga which flowed near our house.

On the way back home Dadi would buy cheap vegetables that grew on the sandy river bank. She was an expert haggler and bought things dirt cheap.In mango season she would buy small mangoes paying just a quarter rupee for a dozen but her dozen count would not stop until she had taken 20 mangoes.

Coming home she would handover the vegetables to my mother.She would herself prepare chutney (an Indian sauce) with the raw mangoes, mint and coriander. The taste of her chutney was known among all our relatives.

Then she would sit in the morning sun, and while humming ancient folk songs, begin peeling the dried seeds of water melons and musk melons that she had saved from the fruits that we had eaten throughout the summer. It was a slow process, peeling each individual seed, but by the time of the Hindu religious festival of Janamashtami in August, Dadi would have in her metal tin about 2 kilograms of peeled seeds. These would be used to prepare ?Prasad? a tasty offering to the Gods. No Hindu festival is complete without ?Prasad?.

School used to be at 9 am. Dadi used to walk me and my sisters to school protecting us from stray dogs, cows and sundry dangers that dotted the road in that obscure town in early 1950s.
Back home Dadi would sit down for another day-time job. She would bring balls of multi-coloured tangled threads and wool from a nearby factory, untangle and colour-sort them and make neat balls of same colour. She would get one rupee for 8 balls a fairly good addition to family income.

She would again be at the gate of our school to escort us home in the afternoon.

She reserved the evenings for entertaining children with stories from religious texts or ghost stories. When listening to ghost stories, we will cuddle close to her in her quilt.

Often Dadi would mischievously ask me ?Should I select a bride for you??. I would always answer - Dadi, I would marry you and no one else!?
Durgesh Kumar Srivastava, New Delhi, 24 Sept,2010

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