She’s 73 But She Refuses to Retire

What does age have to do with a productive life, anyway?

By Gita Nair, 73, Kochi

I was born into an accomplished family in Kozhikode in northern Kerala. My parents and relatives were either bookworms or custodians of hundreds of books, including classics in English literature. The Calicut I grew up in was home to giants in Malayalam literature as well as large groups of literature-loving connoisseurs. My passion for language and literature grew as I gorged on classics and took part in various cultural activities in college.

Later, I pursued my masters in English language and literature. After marriage, I had the option of staying home which, back then, was par for the course for women with successful husbands. My husband Kunhananthan Nair was a lawyer with a flourishing practice. Yet, I chose to work, including at prestigious institutions such as Providence College in Kozhikode and Vimala College in Thrissur.

My husband, who was politically active and had to spend time in jail during Emergency, passed away in 1984 when I was just 40. My active life helped me cope.

At an age when people typically hang up their boots and spend more time with their grandchildren, I am glad I have adapted to new challenges. These days, I train young boys and girls in giving the IELTS test, and I am busy as always.

One should never give up. There’s no retirement age for a life well lived.

First published in the December issue of eShe magazine. Read it for free here, or buy the print edition.

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