could not recognise him. Was he the same person who was walking with a
regal gait? Wherefrom has this awkward ‘sickle bending’ come about?
Where is his authoritative voice and why is he meowing meekly? He looks
run down, as if struck by a fiend. How could a week or 10 days diffuse a
man’s personality unrecognisably?
A common friend
told me that he has been this way since his retirement. Pathetic. A
glorious academic record and brilliance at work become meaningless the
moment you hang up your boots? But then, this is the harsh and
embarrassing reality of many who become a bundle of nerves; forlorn, and
willingly get sucked into a vortex of self-pity as they become out of
place in their own sweet home.
If you observe deeply, you will understand that they are so because they do not know what to do with themselves.
who mistake responsibility for power are disillusioned immediately
after retirement as official designations disappear and, all of a
sudden, the crutches have left them.
No one is at
your beck and call anymore. Yesterday, they were all singing your praise
but today, they find it difficult to recognise you!
today, you have to contend with several harsh realities like creating
residence proof, being given a sit-up by the unlettered bunch in a
cooking gas agency, the horror of unconfirmed tickets and being the
first choice to fetch milk sachets in the morning to escorting
grandchildren to the school and so on.
Welcome to the
reality which you have refused to see so far; smart you thought you
were, cloaked in an official position. This disillusionment and the
ensuing shock and sadness are noticed even among the mild-mannered, well
meaning, and enviably genuine people.
In this very
world where millions of people do not have a morsel of food, you, with
all your retirement benefits, look sad, which is bad indeed. Come! Let
us get over this self-inflicted malady.
As one who
embraced this so-called retirement a decade before it was due and is
leading an active life of joy and peace, it would not be inappropriate
for me to share a few personal learnings:
Do not die before it is due:
“Weakness is death.” Anything that weakens us and weans us away from our
original nature of ceaseless joy must be shunned. We are here not to be
lost in unjustifiable gloom but to radiate cheer and happiness. Just
get up and walk in the glorious sun that illuminates everything with its
Understand health, stay healthy:
Health is not just related to the body. Physical health is achieved by
eating, exercising and resting responsibly. Emotional health is obtained
by associating oneself with some fine art or the other. Listening to
good music is the easiest way to sublimate the raging emotions. Music is
a magic wand that converts raw emotion into revering devotion.
health depends on the company you keep and the books you read. Keep
company with children and the wise old. Artless grace, beaming in
abundance in the face of a child, disarms us instantly. A child is
fascinating because it reminds us of the innocence we have lost under a
heap of information that we mistook for knowledge.
secret behind the success of all great achievers is this: They never
allowed the child in them to grow up. Even at the height of the Second
World War, Sir Winston Churchill would have his “do not disturb” luxury
of half an hour, to read his favourite comics! And, seek the wise old
who have walked the path before us and are ready to share the lessons
that they have learnt in their long and interesting journey.
Family, the fulcrum:
A captain is only as good as his team. You are what you are, thanks to
the unrecognised support of your family. Spend quality time with them at
least from now on. Compensate for what you missed while rearing your
children, through your grandchildren.
Spirituality, the great reality:
Everything is material — the world, life, body and even dream — but we
are essentially spirit that is free and pure. “All human beings are
originally and ultimately divine.” You become divine when you discover
you are divine. You arrive there by casting aside whatever is not you.
Anything that binds, blinds and constricts is not you. Your body, mind
and intellect are not you but are yours.
is nothing but constant remembrance of the truth. Spirituality begins
where religion ends, though it does not have any quarrel with formal
religion. Spirituality is above morals though it cannot have any
conflict with morality. For anyone who is serious about it and earnest
in its pursuit, not only are its doors ajar but it becomes an ever
growing, everyday reality.
Soul is not an invention but the greatest discovery. It is not a thing to be located but a reality to be realised.
simply. Pray every morning and evening, for the welfare of the nation,
the well-being of your family and friends and for making your inner
journey smooth. “Prayer lends purity. Purity gives strength to prayer.
This is how great things are achieved.”
Really, life begins only after retirement. Take a walk! The winding road is waiting for you!
The writer’s email: email@example.com
(Open Page, The Hindu, 27:01:2013)