What Do I Do Now?

This is the question everyone asks me when I call-up anyone back home in India. When I say I am enjoying my retired life, the immediate reaction has been “You just cannot sit idle and must be up to something.” Hence I decided to pen down all the activities I indulge in throughout the day.


Saying good-bye to the army was very difficult, especially since one enjoyed the best of times and it’s the Army which has made you what you are this day. One could not have asked for anything better from God and the system – otherwise from being a primary school teacher’s son, I would not have retired as a Colonel. All what I am today is the result of the education of Sainik School, NDA, IMA and various Military Institutions. In sheer physical terms – from a 22 kg nine year old boy to a 78 kg 42 year old – all credit must belong to the Indian Army. So it was a painful good-bye to the arms.

Looking back, thirteen years since I hung my boots, I have no regrets or complaints. God and the Army Headquarters (MS Branch) was always kind to me that I served 10 years in Delhi (even though I had no interest in Delhi;) five years on various courses and to top it, had only two years of High-Altitude postings. Again nothing to complain.

The army made me a computer aware man despite being a BA. It made me a leader and a man. I never ended up working in the Army – as I enjoyed every part of it. Thanks to God, all my colleagues, my superiors and mainly to the men who really made feel proud.

The journey out of the uniform had been different to what many of you experienced as I took the evening flight to Canada, the day I handed over command. I jettisoned into a new and unknown world, where my wife and children were waiting.  As promised, my wife had a nice, big home and a car waiting for me and as she was earning a good salary as a pharmacist. I had no pressures at all. My first step was to amalgamate with the Canadian society.

To my dismay, I found that all my perceptions of the Western world were totally misplaced. No racism, no shunning being a brown skin, and a very friendly lot of people who valued human aspects of life. I spent my first six months learning to speak English the way Canadians do and I found all the people whom I spoke to at the malls or coffee-shops or in the bus, very patient and friendly trying to make out what I was trying to communicate. These communications helped a lot and also corrections from our children got me into speaking Canadian-English.

After six months, I landed up with a job as a supervisor at a call-center and I enjoyed that too for a two year period until our children demanded that I be home when they were there.  They did not want to live in an empty home.   That’s it, I quit my job, to be a house husband. My wife who was doing a four-day week took to a five-day week as her 10 hours of extra work made up much more than what I earned in my 40 hour week and expenditure came down as I did not have to drive to work.

Having taken over as the house-husband, I felt I was busier than any time before as I woke up first, made tea for all, cooked breakfast, packed lunch and fresh-fruit-juice and dropped off the children to school and saw-off my wife to work. Then were the chores – washing dishes, laundry, vacuum cleaning the house, walking the dog (a very difficult aspect in Canada- especially in winters), preparing lunch, gardening, grocery and the list goes on. By afternoon, I picked up the children from school; some days in the evening  when they had any after school activities like drama club, environmental club, debating club etc. Then was dropping them off to their extra-curricular activities by 5 PM – for swimming, tennis, golf, music, dance, or voluntary service at the community old-age home. Got everyone back to home by 6 or 7 PM and helped them with their assignments and study and then cooked dinner and we waited for Marina to return to enjoy a family dinner at 9 PM.

Now with both our children moving out of home to stay in Downtown Toronto, pursuing their job and university, my busy schedule came to a near end.  That was when I found time to read more and write more.  I took to photography as a new hobby as I realised I needed quality images for my blogs.  I now get busy only on the weekends when children come home, normally preceded with a text message listing out all the groceries and other stuff they need.

The life has kept me busy and hence I presume in good health too. I never carried any baggage in my life. I never carried a brief-case to office as I did not believe in carrying office to home or vice-versa.  I recall a conversation with an NCO who met me while on vacation last year who said “You are the only Commanding Officer I’ve seen coming to command a unit with four boxes and leaving with only two.

Air-Canada only allows two pieces of baggage,” I replied.

18 thoughts on “What Do I Do Now?

  1. my dear Reji, You are doing a great job as a house husband and the reward will be to see both your children doing very well in life and contributing to society (indian or canadian does not matter,world is shrinking fast). On top of every thing you are writing so well. I wish i could write like that.Keep going, regards, ashok

    Liked by 2 people

  2. reji at this point of time i got this mail of yours n was on my drink as usual . brother tu kya likhtta hai yaar too good n i belong to same humble roots as u are thanx to sainik school we wudnt have been whr we are today . my dad too was dafedar in jodhpur lancers fought second world war retired and took up second job in RAC rajasthan armed constabulary and took retirement the year i joined NDA so i was at ease that at least my father wont have to bother for me.n my job . really great reading ur posts . carry on wish u can write down a book and pray for u wd ur writing skills ur capable of winning anyrthing . cheers . thanx for writing such wonderful posts . god bless .
    shekhu as always urs

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Hi Reji and Shekhu
    You both know I belong to the same club. Reji I came on facebook and gmail after a long break and have since been reading what you have been posting. Its been enjoyable and pleasant, more than anything because it shows how you are enjoying life!! Keep going great guns. Your hidden talents are finally coming out in open !!!! And Shekhu, I;ve been looking for you on facebook, Don’t you have an account

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Reji, We spoke over the phone the other day and realised that our outlook to life is the same. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a 10 to 6 job to keep oneself busy. You have a job at home which not only keeps you sufficiently busy, but allows you to spend Quality time with your wife and kids. The kids may be with you for a limited time before they chart their own careers, but they will always remember the time they are spending with you both.

    Keep it up. This may open the eyes of some of our clan who are still busy in corporate life.

    Lt Col S B Subramanian

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great to know that life is treating you well after quitting the Army at such an early stage from the Army! Glad to know you are doing what you like! Keep writting. I have saved your current lot of blogs for latter reading and thanks for the long chat we had, which in India would have had me broke for months unless it is whatsapp!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Reji, really like the way you have described your life after hanging the uniform. Actually felt like it could have been my life too in a parallel universe. Keep up with the blog, I may be able to live your life vicariously.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Gripping account of your beautiful tale sir .. can’t wait for the rest of it … thanks to Col Neeraj Roy who fwd me the novel .. loved it immensely ..more so because one can easily relate to it !

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Dear Reji,
    I here by proclaim you to be an unfit house husband and a Freind as the open expression of your’s has sent sunami in many a home specially when we are re – attiring ..
    Rest exchanges , when we face ” man to man ”
    Like you buddy ..

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Dear Sir, haven’t met you but loved your post. It requires courage to do what you are doing and then to be able to write about it so nonchalantly. Kudos to you and you have definitely shown a new perspective of life which can be considered and enjoyed too…..

    Lt Col Rajive Sinha, New Delhi, M 9650862726

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Hi Reji

    Vijay Kumar Ahluwalia forwarded the link to Steve Rosson’s article. Fascinating! So then I read a few more entries, also very interesting.

    I was the first VSO volunteer teacher at Amaravathi, but I guess I may have left in 1965 before you joined. I was back at the school in October 2019 for a special gathering, and took my younger son with me. We had a great time. The younger Parratt came to apologise to me for some misdemeanour committed 50 years previously when he helped himself to my “special” food.

    I have emailed Steve and hope to hear from him.

    All best wishes

    Michael St. John

    Liked by 1 person

  11. “I jettisoned into a new and unknown world” is the best part of this blog. A powerful memoir about the dilemma between love towards profession and family. The narration has compelling diction and is contextually rich!


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