The Real Exotic Marigold Hotel

Occasionally, the BBC come up with an idea which sounds like fun, but turns into something enlightening, interesting and most of all, thought provoking. This was one such idea. Eight celebrities – and I loathe this kind of reality television usually – all of State retirement age are flown out to India to see if they could be tempted to spend their retirements there. I have to say now that of the celebrities, I don’t think there were any I particularly cared for (although I was very depressed to note that I had actually heard of all of them) and whilst there were a couple I could quite happily have slapped, equally a couple raised themselves in my estimations no end.

So – what are the merits of retiring to India? The weather is certainly the main factor. For two thirds of the year it is hot and dry (although monsoon season is usually wet, it’s the kind of wet that dries out very quickly in the heat) and if you suffer from arthritis, Reynard’s syndrome and such things, it is quite beneficial. However, almost all of the celebrities on the show complained that the heat was too much for them initially, although they did acclimatise.

Secondly, the cost of living is appallingly cheap. No, seriously – the mansion used by the celebrities on the show would cost each of them £20 per week to staff, plus £10 per week to feed. That is for eight people; where else would you be able to run a household for £30 per week? If you are able to do your own shopping or housework, or cooking (or all of the foregoing) then it’s even cheaper, but if you had the opportunity to get out of the chores… sorry, employ knowledgeable and helpful locals, wouldn’t you?

In relation to the healthcare, well quite honestly, if you can afford it, you can get excellent healthcare, but that’s true of anywhere really. Indian doctors almost all speak excellent (if heavily accented) English and modern drugs are available. It’s not all ground worms and tree blossoms you know, although Ayurvedic and homeopathic remedies are all available if the patient prefers.

Safety is an unpredictable factor; recent reports about sexual violence against women have not included women of retirement age, so without ruling it out entirely, it is possible that ladies of a certain age may well be safer than otherwise. This is not to say, of course, that one must not take care to be responsible for your own safety; vigilance is always a good quality to keep, wherever you live and however old you are.

I have to say that, having watched the show, I am finding the idea of retiring to India sorely tempting and if I didn’t have such strong family ties to this country, I would go like a shot. Perhaps it’s something to consider in the future, after I’ve won the lottery – because that’s all I’m waiting for…


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