I got an unexpected mail from a stranger last Thursday. For the purpose of this post, let us call him Tookay. Having obtained his permission to do so, I reproduce the correspondence in full.
(The correspondence has taken a life of its own since I drafted this post and I have decided to serialise it so that the posts are short. Watch this space for more.)
At the outset, I sincerely wish to admit that you are doing a great job of writing wonderful articles on your blog, which inspire and educate folks like me – and you are doing all this at 70! That’s really cool.
Of course, I was sad to learn about 3 sad events in your life:
Death of your wife.
Your hip operation [both hips ] but could this not be averted through 1st rate physiotherapy?
Death of your friend Akbar.
Anyways, you are doing a great job.
Sir, though my questions may seem very weird, I shall thank you to provide me some good answers to following questions based on your great thought process and experience:
I am 55 years+ and retired with very little savings to support me and my wife for another say 5-10 years [ guess there is no point in living if you don’t have money!
Yes, I have one son who earns quite well but he is very selfish and we don’t wish to rely on his earnings.
Very recently since many of my relatives and in-laws have gone on Foreign Tours, my wife insists that the two of us go on a Europe Trip, which will cost us Rs. 4 Lakhs.
I told her politely that this is just not done – we don’t have that kind of money and I assured her that we will travel the whole world in next 6 LIVES since as per Hindu Sacred Laws husband & wife get re-united for 7 LIVES! [ saat janmon ka saat ] My wife is very religious but yet she harasses me no end and insists that we visit Europe. I can’t even tell her to go with a Mahila Sang to Europe because I do not have that much money to squander when same Europe and other exotic places can be seen on Travel Channels.
Sir, please suggest how best I can suggest to my wife to forget Europe? Can’t even tell her to see Europe in her dreams because we mortals just don’t have the power to decide what to dream!
My second funny question is this: is there any way I can become a multi-billionaire at this age so as to win the heart of my wife – my wife loves money like hell! And I am sure she will love me a billion times more if I become a Billionaire.
But as they say: man proposes, God disposes! Guess, I ‘ll buy a Lottery Ticket – just 1.
It will also be great if you write some articles on following:
See the world on travel Channels – don’t waste money and make Travel Agencies & Airway companies rich.
Don’t ever think of becoming a multi-billionaire after 60 even if your wife insists.
Looking forward to hearing from you.
Thanks & Regards,
I responded by answering below each paragraph, but to make this post short, I reproduce my response in a running format.
Hello you too Mr. Tookay.
And the very same to you too.
Thank you. That is very inspiring. I completed 72 last month and intend going on blogging for as long as I can.
Those were events in my life like similar things would be in other people’s lives.
No, physiotherapy would not have been enough as the femoral heads were completely damaged.
Thank you once again.
I am flattered. I will try my best to come up to your expectations.
I would love to go on my long cherished dream of visiting friends and relatives in Europe, the UK, Ireland, the USA, Australia, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, and Bangladesh by going on a non stop tour starting Westward and coming around the globe to end up in Chennai. I simply do not have the finances to do that. How can I advice you dear sir? If I were you, I would simply show my bank passbook to my wife and explain the financial realities and ask her to change her ambitions. I trust that my response satisfies you.
If I had an answer for that question, do you think that I would be blogging everyday to pass my time Mr. Tookay? I would be globetrotting.
Now you are talking my kind of language. The point is that I haven’t yet found either the inspiration or the energy to leave my comfort zone to go 3 Kms to the nearest lottery ticket seller. No one to love me, money or, no money! Sad.
I shall try my level best to find the inspiration to do so Mr. Tookay.
I have responded with all humility and to the best of my ability, and I need just one favour from you. I would like your permission to reproduce this entire exchange as a post in my blog.
I now look forward to hearing from you.
With gratitude for your interest and encouragement and kind regards,
He has responded :
Thanks a lot for your lightning speed reply – I appreciate it very much.
Indeed your response to all of my questions were very realistic with lots of humor sprinkled graciously – frankly, I laughed my guts out and kept thanking you in my heart of hearts for showing my the right path.
I am still very sad to learn about your hip operation and was just wondering whether you are able to walk without using any stick or such similar stuff. I also wonder how you live without a wife – I can’t live without my wife for a single day because I just hate hotel food and unfortunately I am not a good cook. Lady cooks don’t come cheap and many are thieves and crooks – you never know. I hate burgers, pizzas, etc and can’t live on bread, butter, eggs, fruits, olive oil for even 1 or 2 days. Do let me know how you live – probably I can get some good tips from you so as to reduce my dependence on my wife.
I was happy to know that you have friends in various parts of the globe and had I been a multi-billionaire we could have surprised all your friends by actually visiting and staying with each of them for a few days.
Sure, you can reproduce whatever stuff you want but please mention my name as Tookay, because having worked in various companies I have more critics and less wellwishers. I don’t wish to be a target of ridicule for folks who may accidentally come to recognize me!
Thanks once again for your excellent advice and encouraging words of wisdom.