Quarantine. Vaccine. Initiation.
Our first baby steps into the senior living world. That sounds like an oxymoron, but that is the most apt way to describe our tentativeness as we entered this community for the final phase of our life. Both us have lived almost all our lives outside Tamil Nadu and the difference in our life styles, food habits, language, culture etc. made us wonder whether a change like this would suit us and whether we could blend into this new atmosphere. I now realise that are many more families like us and that we are not unique in that sense.
I feel a bit unqualified to comment on our new world of senior living, but having made the choice to live in such a community, this unchartered territory has revealed a lot in such a short time.
I believed that senior living could either be assisted living or independent living, both options helping seniors live longer, healthier and stress-free lives. Without going into further details and exposing my ignorance, what we found here was a hybrid model, if I may say so. Lots of independence, some care (without seeming to be interfering) and some assisted living.
The Great Equaliser
In the beginning there was God. And then there were Villa Numbers. That is how we were recognised and how we placed names to people. And there was comfort with everyone saying” we all went through this, you will soon enough actually KNOW us. And of course we did. It helped that
many of us have memories like the “Basanti, what is your name?” dialogue from Sholay.
Corporate life, whether in Government or in the private sector is structured and hierarchical. If it is not Hanji, it is Yes Boss. The day after you retire (the day you retire is all glory ,with everyone saying what a great colleague or boss you were), unless you are a “ consultant” you are nothing.
“ Keep your mind active”, say Pundits. What were you doing as a corporate cat all your life uh?
Here is where communities like CovaiCare help you come to terms with a new life. Everyone and their spouse is in the same situation. Factory managers, marketing whizzes, finance wizards, senior Government officers, teachers, scientists, now have a common goal. Live in nature’s womb, cared for by a set of of wonderful people. Team CovaiCare.
Before you take this as a plug for S3, let me make it clear that the angst and anxiety of changing jobs, living in 22 flats in a career that spanned more than double that many years, had us longing for stability and social connect. We found both.
With more life behind than ahead of us and a boarding card in hand for travel to the next world, we are finally part of a fun community with similar issues and similar needs.
One thing that strikes me as unique here is the interdependence between those who live here and those who support our life here. From the musical, Good morning saaar, or Good morning amma, accompanied by a sunshine smile, to the Suvai meeting and eating gatherings, commending or critiquing the food, to the chick doors closing for the afternoon nap to lean dinners to early to bed and early to rise, the day ends even before it began.
You want to observe and celebrate religious festivals, you are welcome. If you prefer the amber liquid as the sun settles into its own shades of red and amber, that is also fine.
A few observations, some my own, some from random conversations:
• We all remember Sholay, where Gabbar says (loosely translated) - when a child cries, the mother says, “go to sleep or Gabbar will come”. No offence meant - our very own tours the colony early morning and late night to help us sleep well!
• Behind the gentle ambling stroll of the lady lies a tough demeanour and an unflinching BP reader and 24 hour matron.
• Multi-tasking lady at the office does three and half tasks with telephone in one hand, mouse in the other and files on the invisible hand.
• Supervisor lady holds regular meetings over tea with household staff on duties and more.
• The security staffs in their cycles deliver stuff and carry on their chores as an integral part of the family.
• And there is this “one-in-a million couple” that sits on the jhoola bench at Namma Park every night after dinner.
• And a lady with a whacky sense of humour and a beautiful singing voice
• And a lady who conducts a WhatsApp Tambola with elan
• And a gent who graciously renovates gardens and gates. Whose heart never wrinkles.
Everyone brings me back to the premise of interdependent communities.
We owe it to them.
Covid 19 and Covaid
Again, our help was in the neighbourhood and a lot lived here to take care of us.
We came here at the end of the first wave of Covid 19 and quarantined out into the first vaccine.
Even now, the frequent “Home Quarantine” notices adorn many homes, reminding us that these are not normal times.
All of us still wear masks and conduct ourselves in an appropriate “Covid “protocol” manner.
Of course there a few who think the mask is a beard! I urge people to bring it to their notice.
My take on “Social Distancing”. I don't like the phrase. We have practised social distancing far too long. Isn't physical distancing or two metre distancing much better? And this NOT a political statement!!
Every day for us is today.
May all of us be happy and healthy.
Malathi Krishnan and V. Krishnan
Villa 13 Santosham Extension
September 21, 2021