Springingtiger's Blog


Retiring Minds

Panorama

I love India. I love the people, they never bore me. There may be duplicity in some quarters, there may be occasionally outright evil (isn’t that true of any place?), but for all that I have never found them hostile or unwelcoming, it is the most hospitable place I know. I love Rajasthan where the people are the most courteous and polite of any I have met. And why am I thinking of India? Because I am at that age where the Best Marigold Hotel holds a real attraction. There is something tempting about the idea of retiring to a country where the sun actually shines for long periods of the year, the idea of a warm climate appeals to my joints.

I am not naturally a city dweller. I was brought up in the hills and I’ve never felt truly comfortable in a city. I suppose that’s why I live in Glasgow, it doesn’t really feel like a city, more like a village or group of villages. Like a village, in Glasgow people talk to you without invitation. This is good it means I have to interact, I would never initiate a conversation myself, but Glaswegians are as friendly and as curious as Indians. However I realise that all my instincts are telling me that I have lived long enough in the city and as much as I love Glasgow, she is still a city. I find the hustle, bustle and noise of the city rather tiresome.

I suppose nowhere does chaotic hustle and bustle as well as India. And I suspect that, while I would love to be free of the Scottish winters, I would pine for the flowers of spring and summer. I cannot conceive of April and May without daffodils and cherry blossom. Perhaps the answer is to simply leave the city. The coast appeals. At least the coast appeals in summer with the sun dancing on the waves beneath a blue sky; in winter when the Irish sea crashes across the sea wall in savage showers of icy spray it all becomes less appealing. There is no icy spray in Udaipur even in winter.

It is well to shed one’s attachments as the holy men of India tell us. India is a good place to shed attachments. When all those you love are back in Blighty, there is little choice and so I would face that same choice that my Indian friends who came here in the last century to make a better life before returning home face. The division between desires, to be with the family and friends you love in the place with which you are familiar or the comfort of retirement somewhere affordable and warm. It may well be that I shall end my days in Scotland, I don’t know whether I could remain away for long. I wonder if I could even settle far from Glasgow, but I wouldn’t mind giving it a try. On the other hand there’s always Helensburgh, I like Helensburgh. I could be happy in Helensburgh, pity it doesn’t have camels, but I could still get to the Admiral Bar pub quiz.

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