I know this is a joke, but bear with me.
Jacob age 85, and Rebecca age 79 are all excited about their decision to get married. They go for a stroll to discuss the wedding and on the way go past a drugstore. Jacob suggests that they go in. He addresses the man behind the
counter: "Are you the owner?"
The pharmacist answers, "Yes."
Jacob: "Do you sell heart medication?"
Pharmacist: "Of course we do."
Jacob: "How about medicine for circulation?"
Pharmacist: "All kinds."
Jacob: "Medicine for rheumatism?"
Jacob: "How about Viagra?"
Pharmacist: "Of course."
Jacob: "Medicine for memory?"
Pharmacist: "Yes, a large variety."
Jacob: "What about vitamins and sleeping pills?"
Jacob: "Perfect! We'd like to register here for our wedding gifts."
This raised a chuckle, but then I got reminded of something that I noticed while I was recently in India, and that was the interesting rise in owner occupied homes but with single households. India has the privilege of having the world's largest collection of private homes.
Take the example of my parents. Both worked in the government sector and both had a government provided bungalow to stay in for years and years. The idea is, you keep on plonking some money into your pension fund, and when you retire, you go purchase a flat or house and stay on till you croak. Or purchase a house and rent it out and move into it when you retire. Or if you are working in the private sector, you purchase it and stay in it. And so on and so forth. But the kids are off to other cities and countries like my sister and I. So what that leaves behind is quite a heavy workload, both physical and financial.
The underlying assumption was that the kids will also stay with the parents when they retire and the cost of maintaining such a large house will be spread. Why such a large house and why not move to smaller house? Well, when they made the house, they planned it for a full family. And now they have lived in that house for 30 - 40 years, made a family and they have left, but they have their own friends and circle there. So dont want to move. Plus moving means that they have to step down because the property ladder has moved very sharply. And they cannot go live with their children because their children are not in the same city or country and no networks.
So you end up with a rather solitary existence, with your expenditure increasingly tied to the exigencies of medical care and property maintenance. So when you then look at the joke again, I did not find it funny any more that old couples have to get married to be with somebody and that they have to go ask their friends for medical assistance via a bridal registry.
Sad or what? you end up sipping soup in Covent Garden but no medicines to fix your willy.