Wednesday, May 29, 2013



Unlike most retired naval officers who have settled down in Pune, I do not live in one of those crowded run-of-the-mill ex-servicemen’s “ghettos” that have mushroomed in the dense polluted concrete jungles of Kondhwa and beyond, in the rather out-of-the-way south eastern part of Pune towards Saswad or the proliferating colonies near Hadapsar, Mundhwa and Nagar Road towards Solapur and Ahmednagar.

In this respect, I am fortunate to live in a posh residential complex, a “gated community” located in Wakad, an upmarket modern cosmopolitan suburb of the spacious well-connected western part of Pune towards Mumbai.

Commonsense says that it is better to live towards Mumbai than towards the hinterland.

But the main reason we decided on this location is because my wife’s workplace is nearby.

In Pune, owning to the hugely chaotic traffic, commuting is the biggest problem, and it makes sense to live near your workplace. That is why we chose Wakad which is just a stones throw away from Hinjewadi. 

In fact, in peak hours, it takes less time to travel 100 kilometers speedily on the expressway from Wakad to Navi Mumbai than it takes to excruciatingly crawl just 25 kilometers across Pune to Kondhwa or Kharadi.

The traffic in Pune is so bad that an ex navy friend of mine, who had bought a home in the ex servicemens ghetto” beyond Kondhwa, has recently shifted to Wakad, since he works in Hinjewadi Phase 2, and he found it very strenuous to commute to work and back every day. Just imagine, he has given his own house on rent and he himself lives in a rented house - what an irony. 

I always tell young naval (and army officers) who are retiring early and are going to work again for a second innings career that they must buy a house near their workplace. Since most of the industry in Pune is at Hinjewadi or in industrial clusters in the Western Part of Pune, it makes sense to look for a home in these parts. But if you (and your wife) want to fully take sanyas and totally retire and you love to spend your time reminiscing with like minded ex defence service families the auld lang syne way, then maybe those retired service officers colonies are ideal for you.

Life changes after retirement, especially if you are from the navy, army or air force.

Since we have moved in here, my life has changed.

After my retirement there is a “role reversal” – now my wife works and I am the “homemaker”.

Believe it or not – I am the only veteran ex defence services officer in our entire residential society comprising around 300 apartments.

Moreover, there are hardly any “retired” people living here either.

Almost all the residents are young upwardly mobile IT “Techie Couples” in their 20’s and 30’s who work in the nearby Hinjewadi IT Park.

The pros of living here are that this is a beautiful place to live in, convenient and well connected, and it feels good to be among modern urban youngsters.

The cons are that everyone calls me “uncle” and though everyone is friendly and courteous, there is hardly any social life as everyone seems to take the advertisement tag line “no neighbours apartments” quite seriously .

The work culture of the IT crowd is quite clear – slog on weekdays working late hours and unwind on weekends in malls, multiplexes, lounges or outdoors.

No one has time for a relaxed tête-à-tête.

I yearn for the company of old navy buddies to reminisce and discuss the “good old days”.

In army cantonments and navy residential complexes, there is a neighbourly culture and you can count on your neighbours to help you out in times of distress.

Out here, in modern urban cosmopolitan life, everyone is busy with their own careers and affairs resulting in a “keep to yourself” culture and you are all on your own, as I realized when my wife had a fall and I had to rush her to hospital.

However, there are pros and cons everywhere, and you have to take things in their stride.

After retirement from the Navy, after I have started dabbling in writing and blogging, my social circle has changed – Bloggers and Writers Groups, Literary Circles, Alumni Associations et al

Of course, I make it a point to attend meetings of the Navy Foundation and get-togethers at NDA and IAT, but, in Pune, such events are few and far between.

I always liked to spend time with myself.

I love my leisure.

So I quite enjoy my retired life in my “no neighbours” apartment.

I have plenty of time to do whatever I want – read, write, blog, tweet, surf the internet, watch TV or go on long walks in the verdant surroundings with my pet dog Sherry who is my constant companion or just peacefully sit under the cool shade of trees in the beautiful green park on the banks of the Mula River and meditate, reflect or hear music.

Well, after retirement, I quite enjoy playing the role of a homemaker.

I enjoyed my life in the Navy and now I am enjoying my life after retirement even more.

Copyright © Vikram Karve 2013
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work. 
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

All stories in this blog are a work of fiction. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
No part of this Blog may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Blog Author Vikram Karve who holds the copyright.
Copyright © Vikram Karve 2013. All Rights Reserved

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About Vikram Karve

A creative person with a zest for life, Vikram Karve is a retired Naval Officer turned full time writer and blogger. Educated at IIT Delhi, IIT (BHU) Varanasi, The Lawrence School Lovedale and Bishops School Pune, Vikram has published two books: COCKTAIL a collection of fiction short stories about relationships (2011) and APPETITE FOR A STROLL a book of Foodie Adventures (2008) and is currently working on his novel and a book of vignettes and an anthology of short fiction. An avid blogger, he has written a number of fiction short stories and creative non-fiction articles on a variety of topics including food, travel, philosophy, academics, technology, management, health, pet parenting, teaching stories and self help in magazines and published a large number of professional  and academic research papers in journals and edited in-house journals and magazines for many years, before the advent of blogging. Vikram has taught at a University as a Professor for 15 years and now teaches as a visiting faculty and devotes most of his time to creative writing and blogging. Vikram Karve lives in Pune India with his family and muse - his pet dog Sherry with whom he takes long walks thinking creative thoughts.

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Anonymous said...

You know what kind of older people busy youngsters like? Cool older people- the kind that can talk about our world with finesse, and the kind that throws parties and offers great booze that we can't afford :P
Good luck with your new role as a homemaker, and hope you finds ore friends soon!

Vikram Waman Karve said...

Yes, Chaitanya, that's what youngsters want "cool guys" - maybe I can be one (except for the great parties and boozing bit)