HYDERABAD // For Jale and Asghar Ali Khan, a couple who for 29 years called the UAE home, moving to India for retirement was the natural choice. Mr Khan, 65, who is from India, and his wife, an Iranian national in her 50s, have always wanted to live in India. "I would visit India every two years, and I loved it," says Mrs Khan, who moved from Sharjah to Hyderabad in October 2009 with her husband. "We have so many good friends and relatives here, and it's great to have good people around to spend time with."
Although Mrs Khan had been prepared to move to India, her husband - who worked in shipping and marketing at a company in the Jebel Ali Free Zone - was not ready for the move, or for retirement. "Because of the economic situation, there wasn't much work in the company, and they decided to close it down," Mrs Khan says. "It happened all of a sudden. One day he came home and said, 'this is the time, we have to leave." Although the couple had been looking to buy property in India for a few years, they felt market prices were too high.
Mrs Khan says a modern, two-bedroom apartment in a good location typically costs between 3.5 million and 4 million rupees (approximately Dh281,000 and Dh321,000, respectively), while a three-bedroom apartment can cost up to 10 million rupees (about Dh802,000). "It was too much," she says. Instead, the couple decided to buy Mr Khan's deceased mother's apartment for a more reasonable price. They paid Mr Khan's siblings 8.5 million rupees (approximately Dh682,000) for the property, which includes four bedrooms with attached bathrooms, a spacious kitchen, servant quarters and a terrace.
"It's huge, and it's right in the centre of the city, so we're close to the malls and supermarkets. Everything we need is close by," Mrs Khan says. While Mrs Khan is enjoying an active social life, and enjoys dining out and going to the cinema, she says Mr Khan is finding it difficult to adjust to being unemployed and living in India after residing and working abroad for 40 years. "Right now, he's not feeling it. He wants something to do - he cannot sit and do nothing. He loved working," she says. "Maybe with time he'll get used to it."
Mrs Khan advises people nearing retirement in the UAE to be mentally prepared to leave to a new home, even if it's five or 10 years before they had planned. "I was prepared to leave any time, so I'm happy," she says. "One day you have to go, and there's no place like home." * Sanam Islam