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Age: just a number

“Thank God you have retired! You know Parth, I was waiting for this day.” Padmini told her husband excitedly, when the elderly couple sat down to take a breathing break in the wake of walking for forty minutes around the jogger's park. Parth crossed his arms over his chest, took a deep sigh and glanced in the periphery surrounding them. He was admiring the energetic youth that was exercising more vigorously than he could do in his current age and time. He chuckled. “Why? Do you plan on going on a world tour now?” He jested and laughed some more. Between the two of them, his wife was the more enthusiastic one. Even at fifty plus, she was pursuing passions, which were very close to her heart; like writing short stories and playing the sitar. She was excellent at both.

Padmini slapped his arm playfully and chimed animatedly, “No silly! Parth, you’re already aware that its been so long since I've been craving to start our own food joint, isn’t it? Now is the right time. You have retired and are as free as a bird, so come on, let’s do it!”
Parth was taken aback. After working as an employee in a company for nearly forty years, only a month into his leisure hours, and this retirement was already looking quite boring. But beginning a fresh venture?? He was completely dubious about it and voiced his fears to his wife. “Padmini, a new business? At this age? I am 60. You can’t be serious.”

She rested her hand on his arm and remarked, “Parth Purushottam saheb! Age is just a number. You will be as old as you feel.”
Parth shook his head and counter-argued, “Padmini, these philosophical things sound good in books and quotes, not in real life. Moreover, what is the need to start a new business? Our sons are earning so well.”
Nevertheless, his better half was not to be deterred. She spoke again, more fervently this time. “Parth, haven't you heard of Colonel Harland Sanders? He retired from the army and began KFC at the age of 65! Needless to say, we all know that KFC today is a global chain of franchises. I feel life must be ambition driven till the end. Why do we have to depend on our children?”

Parth kept gazing at his wife for the longest time, it amazed him to see her all geared up even at this age. She was just not willing to slow down. Gratefully, God had blessed them with good health as well and she was hell bent on making the most of it. Her zeal was definitely contagious, but it did nothing to alleviate his conflicting thoughts. “What exactly do you have in mind?”

Her hubby’s question accelerated Padmini’s hopes and she rambled away like an eager beaver. “Let’s rent a food truck. We'll launch with serving mouthwatering snacks. Something like fast food. And because it’s a food truck we can take municipal permission and park it outside schools or colleges which will attract the young crowd.”

“Hmm!!” Parth exhaled a deep mind clearing sigh and thought for a while. Her idea was undeniably interesting, his only concern was, will they be able to do the running around? When Padmini heard his worries, she pacified him by saying, “Of course we’ll appoint people to do the cumbersome tasks, but the execution, the recipes and the entire process of managing the business will be ours.”

Parth smiled and Padmini was further encouraged. She stood up and waltzed in front of him. Keeping her hands on his shoulders, she said lovingly, “Parth, retirement and second innings of life can be both a delight and a despair. Howbeit, if we have a purpose in place, then time is not a boundary and age is just a number. Most importantly, we are there to support each other. Let’s make the best use of the physical and mental stamina that we have.”

Friends and family saluted the eagerness of the elderly couple and assisted them in all that was required to be done. Six months later, they inaugurated their bright and colourful catering wagon. The Purushottams proudly named it, ‘FUN FOOD’!

Shamim Merchant, Mumbai

Author's note:

My dear readers,
When life is bubbling with enthusiasm, when spirits are high and ambitions are in place, then age is actually just a number. No boundaries can stop you from reaching newer heights. Age is just an excuse. If you really wish to achieve something substantial, go for it. Sky is the limit!

Shades Of Simplicity

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