Thursday, May 17, 2012

Would I now like to retire in Goa?

As one retires and grows older, the question of where should one live is important. Do we should spend enough thought on it?

In a number of discussions, one of the most important considerations was the availability of excellent hospitals nearby, which almost automatically seems to restrict the options to metropolitan cities.

However, how do we weigh the advantages of excellent health care facilities against the additional risks, like:
  1. Likelihood of being hit by a vehicle.
    A neighbour was hit by a two wheeler about six months ago. It was very minor but our neighbour still limps.
    I recall the frustration my father used to feel for crossing the inner road to go from Shanti Kunj garden to Rose garden. He wrote to the MP and the police to have a traffic light so that old people could cross the road.
  2. Likelihood of additional ailments from pollution and noise.
    When I used to come to Delhi from Goa, I would get a sore throat going from the airport to office or relations' place.
  3. Likelihood of being robbed and injured.
    Life in larger places becomes so anonymous that I am reminded of a Ziggy cartoon - It is amazing how alone you can be in a party!
The nice thing about Goa were the villages, which were more like suburbs.

The issue with the smaller towns in Goa is traffic. The roads are narrow and walking unpleasant.

 I was unhappy at the efforts to make Panaji into a major city as that pushes more people to migrate, leaving the smaller places in decay.

Still, there are villages which are off the main areas and not impacted by traffic. So, finding an area which is comfortable and healthy is still possible.

I now have second thoughts about the need for excellent heath care facilities. I want adequate health care to be easily accessible. Easy access is not at all easy in cities. Beyond a point, the ability to save a life may even be a disincentive.

Chandigarh used to be a great place for retired people. The traffic has made it quite unpleasant. I find it ironic that the police are making a lot of effort for people to stop before the Zebra crossings - yet I see very few pedestrians. Where the pedestrians want to cross - within the sectors - there are no traffic lights or the signals are strange. The driving culture is such that it is hard to stop and let the pedestrians cross.

There are lots of open spaces in Chandigarh. We wanted to take my mother out and it finally struck us. Access to these places in a wheel chair is just not possible. The open space just behind our house has a protective railing and a rotating gate. It ensures that two wheelers cannot use the open space as a short cut, which people would given half a chance. Bicycles do not have a problem as they can be lifted and taken across. However, we can't lift the wheel chair with my mother sitting in it.

Solution - we need better people in the city so that such blockages are not needed. Ernst Lubitsch's Ninotchka had a memorable line - Mass trials in Russia were very successful. Now there are fewer but better Russians :)

No comments:

Post a Comment