Monday, June 10, 2013

வருடத்திற்கு 8 இலட்சம் சம்பாதிக்கும் 88 வயது மும்பை முதியவர் !

Reirement is envisioned by most as a period that entails relaxation and travel without the complication of a job. However, belying this belief are people like Ramchandra Ghanashyam Desai, who, at 88, has managed to combine fun with an enriching career. In fact, the 30 years after retirement have been the best of his life, claims Desai.

"I have become a lawyer, have written 11 books and travelled more across the world than I did during my earlier career," he says. He started his career as a journalist, though the jobs and profile changed over the years. After completing his post graduation in Economics from the Mumbai University in 1950, he took up a job with a reputed media organisation.

"One of the reasons for choosing this field was that there weren't too many openings at the time," he says. He worked with two media organisations till September 1960, moving from a salary of Rs 70 per month to Rs 400 in 10 years.

"Then, the American Oil Company offered me a job in corporate communications with a 500% salary hike after a senior official read some of my stories and liked them," he says. Desai's work involved interacting with mediapersons and issuing statements on behalf of the company. "When the company was taken over by the government and renamed Hindustan PetroleumBSE -1.50 %, I was transferred to Delhi," he says.

 He stayed in the capital till 1975, when he was promoted as chief of public relations, a position he retained till he retired in 1983. Desai made a lot of contacts as head of corporate communications and didn't face any dearth of offers even after hanging his boots. "I immediately joined as a consultant with the KK Birla Group and though I had several job offers, I took this up because the timings were flexible," he says.

His job involved conducting sensitivity analyses for new projects. "Since the group companies were basically into fertiliser manufacturing, I would come into the picture if they were in the process of acquiring a huge chunk of land. I would conduct a study on environmental issues and the best ways to address them," he says. More importantly, it offered him time to pursue law.

"I had enrolled for LLB in 1956, but since I got busy with my profession, I had to take a break. So I started toying with the idea of completing my studies," he says. However, this was easier said than done. "As I was going back to college after 33 years, even the officials were not sure if this could be possible," he says.

Luckily for Desai, not only did the registrar approve his application, but the college also found his records, which made the processing easier. "At the time, there was a proposal that only the lawyers who had completed their studies before the age of 45 should be allowed to practice, and I was more than 60 years old. So, even though I completed my LLB, I could not practice," he says. However, this proposal was challenged in the high court and, in 1997, the verdict allowed anyone with a law degree to be enrolled with the bar council and practice law.

"The very next day I got enrolled at the bar council at the age of 72. I have also represented some of my clients in their legal matters," he says. Desai also dabbles in the stock market, but conducts proper research before investing. "I study the company's fundamentals, its future plans and the people who are running the company. I don't speculate and am a long-term investor.

So I have never lost money in the stock market," he claims. As if these activities weren't enough to keep him occupied, Desai has also penned 11 books, all after the age of 75. The books are primarily on spirituality and his life's experiences. "When I was in the US, I came across a copy of the Bible in a hotel. It was an analytical work dealing with life's problems and the solutions that the Bible could offer.

This gave me the idea to write a similar book on the Bhagavad Gita (Bhagavad Geeta for everyone)," he says. Since the response to his book was good, it encouraged Desai to write another one on the Upanishads. "The sale proceeds take care of the cost of printing the next book," he says. His current project involves documenting the failures of the judicial system in the country.

"I earn around Rs8 lakh a year from my various activities. This year I plan to come out with the second edition of Golden Years After Retirement, which has become quite popular," he says. Desai also finds time to travel across the world with his wife, both his sons having settled in the US. "Since I love travelling, I take long holidays lasting 2-3 months.

I have visited the US and Europe and never worry about the cost," he says. Little wonder then that he doesn't feel he is retired. "I will feel like that only when I have given up on living," says the indomitable Desai.

நன்றி :- Senior Citizens, Practicing law at 88 
The Economics Times Wealth , june 10 - 16, 2013


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