CHENNAI : Age is just a number
For Xavier Navamani, retirement was a long-anticipated emancipation from work and choosing a religious path was a self-made decision. Xavier started preaching as a part time job in 1983 while he was in a government service. Eventually, people in the church felt that Xavier’s experience would be of help to the younger generation. That was this starting point of counselling in his life. “I did not like my bank job, but had to stick to it for various reasons.
Counselling gave me an opportunity to meet the younger generation. As a preacher, I had to speak a lot. Counseling allowed me to listen to other people’s stories,” says the 64-year-old. Xavier recently completed his masters in Psychology , 40 years after his earlier graduation. “People in our society will always object but that should only motivate us and not discourage us. I have achieved a balanced chart in my life. As much as I love spending time with my family and grandchildren, I also love to help other people with my experience,” he shares.
THE Happiness factor
People take different paths of self-discovery and no one size fits all. When you talk to Geeta Mahadevan, you are bound to lose track of time listening to her motivational stories and positive approach towards life. Being a single mother, she fought every odd that came in her way and raised three children. Six months ago, she started a terrace garden. “I have a terrace garden where I grow all varieties of greens. I cook using the vegetables that I grow.
I have a 50-year-old kodi malli plant. I use its flowers for pooja. Gardening is my priority. It feels refreshing, heals my problems and keeps my mind occupied,” says 64-year-old Geeta who believes that women need to take up a hobby to nurture themselves in the later stages of life. Geeta, who retired from a government job, is a freelance writer for many Tamil magazines. She writes extensively about cooking, parenting, and self-help columns. “When will you live for yourself if you keep thinking about family always? I’ve accomplished all my duties and this is the time to pamper myself,” she smiles.
A kick for life
A Kalathyeswaran is a busy man. His day is packed with myriad activities. He is a karate instructor for children, conducts self-defense classes for women, plays chess, and writes poetry. At the age of 66, he has a spring in his step. After he retired as a superintendent from a government training institute, he continued to work as a program associate. “If I’ve been able to balance so many activities in my life, I solely attribute it to my wife Panmozhi.
Given a chance, I would like to take up more hobbies. Work is like meditation and it will keep your mind healthy in old age,” he says. Kalathyeswaran has also published a poetry book on the Tamil poet Bharathiar, titled Kathiravanil Kavipanthal. He learned karate at the age of 50. He aspires to achieve the Grand Master title in chess. “For most people, retirement is a phase that makes them feel vulnerable. The earnings come down and they tend to feel less important among family members. The activeness and control over life take a step down. But that’s not the only option,” he explains.
Finding a purpose
After his college graduation, Bairavan Babu had no option other than joining the Indian Air Force. He took up voluntary retirement when he was 33. “I worked in a very protective environment where bread and butter was not a problem at all. But my ambition was different. Rather than working in a place where your contribution is insignificant, I chose to serve people where my direct involvement could be felt and recognised.
If you have a burning passion, the Universe will find a way to make it happen even without money or support,” says the now 59-year-old, who has been running an academy for language proficiency since 2004. Bairavan loves sports and physical activities. During his leisure time, he plays badminton although basketball was his first love in school. An active Rotarian, he participates in community programmes and travels to different places to extend his service. “I work even on Sundays because I love my job. People in my academy also work for their passion by giving back to the community. Now I see a regular, steady and transformative progress in myself,” says Bairavan who is working on a project called Make India Great.