This article has been sponsored by HDFC life.
-the act of leaving your job and ceasing to work, usually because you are old.
There are many who throw the dictionary out of the window and make their own definitions. For them, retirement is not the point where work ceases, instead, their active life starts. A new beginning of doing what you have always wanted to do.
Be it defying age constraints, transforming lives or even changing the world, these individuals go all out. Their stories are magnificent sagas of unbridled courage, endless reserves of will power and selfless intentions for positive change.
Meet some of those inspiring people:
1.Dilip and Pooja Chauhan
This Indore couple never fancied the quiet life post-retirement. So they traded the conventional for a pan-India road trip on a Royal Enfield bike.
Pooja (57) and her husband Dilip (61) Chauhan have been touring the country since September 28, 2017. Their plan was to cover 5,500 kilometres in 150 days from Leh to Agra.
“We lost no time after my retirement early last year. We were so keen to head out and see the world around us. Our primary motto behind this journey is to tell young people that life continues after retirement,” Dilip said to a daily publication.
Determined to fulfil a lifelong dream, the duo underwent proper training and embarked on an extraordinary journey. They’ve braved it all—roads with hairpin bends, roads slippery with snow, sub-zero temperatures and even a four-month pause due to a serious injury.
“Age may affect the body, but not the mind. And it is the mind that challenges the body to keep moving on. What keeps the mind going? The realisation that you live only once, being unafraid of uncertainties, and a desire to explore the diversity of the universe,” the couple told the publication.
2. Maria D’Souza
Threats from local goons, residents and even corporators—nothing stopped the 68-year-old D’Souza from doing what’s right.
Owing to her admirable sense of purpose and courage, this retired teacher has successfully implemented 100 per cent waste segregation in 44 housing societies across Mumbai.
“When people start opposing or criticising your work, that is when you realise that you are on the right path,” shares D’Souza, who is now working towards converting Bandra, Khar and Santacruz into waste-free zones. She has already found success in 20 housing societies in these areas..
D’Souza was a teacher in Bandra’s St Stanislaus School, and now she heads the Advance Locality Management (ALM) number 33, an institution set up by the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) as a bridge between citizens and the government.
She has dedicated her life to bringing an impactful change in waste management, and is now a beacon of inspiration for the younger generation.
After retirement, this Noida-based former engineer identified a seemingly ordinary problem that continues to ail people of all ages. He took it upon himself to find a sustainable solution for this issue which can often cause serious injuries to many.
“Cycle rickshaws are environment-friendly and inexpensive and found in practically every Indian city; I also use them very often. But, climbing into them is a real struggle for many people,” Pasrija (89) tells The Better India.
Pointing out the problem, he adds that the only way to sit in a rickshaw is to step on the platform, which is usually very high. Thus, many often run at a risk of tripping and falling while climbing down or up into it.
So what was his solution? Quite simple and ingenious – an attached leg rest worth Rs 500.
“I took a picture of that rickshaw and shared it with my friends. They all loved it, and many even came forward to provide financial help. Madhav’s (a rickshaw-puller and Pasrija’s friend) enthusiasm, combined with my friends’ response made me confident, and I set a far-reaching goal of installing the step in as many rickshaws as possible in Noida,” shares the innovator.
Pasrija has managed to install the leg step in five rickshaws so far, with Madhav’s help and donations from friends and family. And this initiative has already caused a rise in more elderly customers for rickshaw pullers, claims Madhav.
For 37 years of her life, 75-year-old Thayammal taught Geography, History and Mathematics in a government school in Tamil Nadu.
And retirement could not stop the nurturer within her from continuing to shape lives.
“After retirement, I not only wanted something hands-on to do but was also looking for something that would give me atma-trupti (soul satisfaction),” she says.
She finally decided to spend her time and energy growing things, and hence began her journey of becoming Marangalin Thayar, which means ‘Mother of Trees’. She spent close to Rs 4 lakh and transformed her 8-acre land into a green paradise.
Many villagers and fellow teachers discouraged her from spending her money on this endeavour, but Thayammal’s resolve was unmoved.
“Even when I was a teacher at the government school, my husband and I owned a piece of land where we had many coconut trees. Post-retirement, I had more time on my hands, and also had the money that comes in every month from my pension. I thought it would be best to use the money to grow trees,” adds the teacher.
Setting an example for humanity, Abdul Khadar is fighting against one of India’s major problems – hunger.
Having gone through several ups and downs in the last many decades, the 66-year-old Kerala-based Khadar always wanted to start a food initiative for the poor post-retirement.
“Food is everyone’s right. The needy and poor should not come to us begging. As everyone’s responsibility, we must introduce a mechanism where people can access food for free. As soon as we moved back, we opened the bank,” Khadar tells The Better India.
Khadar’s Food Bank—Visakkunnavarkkoru Virunnu (a feast for the hungry) is located outside his house on Iranjilikuda Road, and it opens each day at 12.30 PM.
A Gandhian at heart, Khadar began the initiative on 2 October 2019 with the help of his wife, Sunitha. He started the initiative after returning to his hometown, Thrissur from Oman, after 38 long years. And, since then the noble couple has been feeding the poor each day.
These achievements aren’t necessarily so far removed from what the average person can achieve. It’s just that most people are happy to withdraw from the world in their retirement. They’re either living comfortable, quiet lives, or in some cases they still have to work in order to sustain their standard of living. But with the right kind of investment, that shouldn’t be necessary.
With HDFC Life’s Retirement Plans and Pension Schemes, you can instead continue to live your retired life in comfort, even as you pursue all the dreams of your youth. They allow you to allocate some of your savings as you’re working to accrue interest, providing you with a steady income once you’ve ditched the office.
There’s no reason your life should end after retirement. Instead, invest in your future and live out your silver years, “Sar Uthake”.