Saturday, Sep 23, 2023 22:00 [IST]
Last Update: Saturday, Sep 23, 2023 16:23 [IST]
As he entered the lobby, he found no way to reach for a token. The hall was so packed that he couldn’t find a seat. There has been a much higher footfall during the first week of a month. Long waiting hours, minimal breaks and angry crowds have a lot of pressure on bank employees. It also draws the ire of the milling crowds. While Mr D Mahanta, a retired Engineer was impatient to be on his way to the single window. “Where is the priority token for senior citizen?” However the Service Manager responded to his grin with a smile. He apologized for customers’ inconvenience and politely conveyed him to wait awhile to catch up with the next call and also whispered into his ear that those waiting customers are all senior citizens only. The aggrieved customer realized the situation and sat on the corner waiting for his turn, no matter how long it takes place.
Obviously there are inconveniences in PSU banks, but what makes them to go there for cash regardless of ATM or UPI based payment apps. Banking sectors witnessed a rise in cases of fraud despite the fact fraudsters often deceive under pretext of helping senior citizen. But that isn’t the only reason, yet customers rather surprisingly especially pensioners’ love for banks’ ambience. In point of fact the place gives them the opportunity of meeting friends. Having a cellphones completely changed social life. Young people are constantly using all texting and tweeting but the older people come out for social interaction where it’s open and accessible to all, regardless of differences. Thus they spend a day with friends rejoicing at drawing pension.
People discover their common passions in pubs and restaurants. College Street ‘Coffee House’ in Kolkata has been for a long time a regular hangout and a renowned meeting place for intellectuals and students. The ‘India Club’ (Restaurant) in London, a meeting place for writers, intellectuals associated with India’s Independence movement has just closed its shutters recently. The fact people are there, something connected with public places such as post offices, banks etc. that makes them feel happy and probably the reason for going there. A soulful platter of paratha-sabji and tea at ‘Mahamaya’ was just more than a food joint. The corner of the busy chowk at Panbazar Guwahati had now lost its luster.
The Georgian-style architecture of circles and radial roads at Connaught Place witnesses lots of energetic activities. I was posted there in the 90s and remembers coming for a bite. We would go to the movies at ‘Regal’, and put in our young energy in running around the circles on Saturdays. We go outing during the night and sleep by day. That was a lot of fun. It’s one of the most happening and chilled out places in New Delhi. Attractive offers and discounts on top brands are the delights of shopping lovers. Back then it took few hours at CP and we would come for some sambhar vada, idli, or upma, at ‘Coffee Home’ by the side of Baba Kharak Singh Marg.
The eatery spread over a huge area. Having a cutting chai was a quite a regular affair for many. The affordable cost of the filter coffee makes it appeal to most people in Delhi and become a popular destination. On my first visit, I noticed that one side of all the tables were occupied by senior citizen mostly by Punjabis and Haryanvi people except one table with bags hanging on top backs over four chairs. Soon I tried to grab that place; I heard something loud from an adjacent table. “Puttar (son), that’s reserved”. They drop in for a chat over tea and snacks for the entire day, where others aren’t welcome despite it left vacant. They play bridge and sipping the last drop of coffee until dusk. It’s amazing; the restaurant serves them hot cutting chai in special kind of glasses instead of cups. That was something worthwhile.
Others don’t expect to be getting a table at Coffee Home. No matter how seating inconvenience faces during lunch hours of the day. We would rather sit at garden outdoor table under a Peepal tree. Soon the pendulum clock struck at 5 o’clock in the evening, they all started leaving. At that time it was our turn to get some place to eat over there. Even food servers heaved sigh of relief from urban platter, when they left. But we would go out after their departure, order more karak chai and burgers before it downs its shutters at 8 pm.
It’s an everlasting reminder of those evenings while the senior citizen used the most of their time at post retirement life. One cutting chai please, it’s a line that every person in metros is well versed with. Having a cutting chai is quite regular affair at. You don’t get to see a full glass instead of half glass. It’s their day off that day. Senior citizens make their best part of passing time at post-retirement life.