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   Retirement suits some people... (August 4, 1991)

Retirement suits some people.

Take the case of my friend, Ramesh Sattawalla, till last year the PR manager of Air India. As in his working days, os in his retirement, he continues to live in his man-about-town style. If you knew him, you would not think so, but he seems to have invested his money with care and now manages on its interest.

He begins the day, as people used to don some three decades ago, at the Gaylord, with coffee and friends. Except when there are morning races at Ooty or some other centre, when he goes straight to Mahalaxmi for off-course betting.

For lunch, naturally he cannot indulge in a five-star luch (the PRO's customary diet) any more, so he goes to the Oberai pastry shop and has a sandwich or a savoury. Then, if it is not a race day anywhere in India, he drops in to see friends, who have not yet retired. Comes to see me twice a week and borrow copies of the London Times.

Once a week he has a hair-cut at Air-Cool, then goes to a nearby cinema for a matinee. On account of exigencies of funds, he has cut down his late-night round of drinking at various five-star watering-holes. Now he does that only three times a week, plus the weekend, which in any case makes it five days out of seven. The other two evenings, he buys a bottle of rum and goes home to watch English films cable TV.

Otherwise, there is not much change in Sattawalla's life. The monogrammed shirts and ties, the Hong Kong tailoring, the slightly self-deprecating air, the generous spriking of "happy birthdays" are all there.

For Sidney Almeida, another Air India PR manager, who retired some years back, life has undergone some drastic changes. He has moved to his native Goa and more or less disappeared from the scene. Occasionally, I hear reports of his having become a gentleman farmer and occasionally writing for the Goa Herald, which is not the same thing as those long expense-account afternoons at the Harbour Bar.

Captain Jimmy Martin, who succeeded Almeida as the Air India PR manager, has settled in Bandra and keeps himself busy doing Prwork for the Sea Rock Hotel. It is also said that he has done more PR for Sea Roack than he ever did for Air India, but that is the difference between a government job and a private job. I would not be surprised if Rajan Jaitley also is working a lot harder from Britainnia Biscuits.

And Mhatre, who was the airline's PR manager after Martin. Even in his working days he was a low-profile man in a high-profile job, and he has taken his modest low-profile self into retirement. Few people know where he is now. Where are you, Mhatre?

So, the circle is complete. As for myself Ė why should I retire! I don't work for Air India.

 
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