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A new beginning of life
04-27-2011, 01:37 PM
Post: #1
A new beginning of life

A new beginning of life
by Vinod Prakash Gupta


A recently retired colleague from the Delhi Development Authority where I had worked on deputation, made a desperate call to me to help him secure his granddaughter’s admission in a reputed school in South Delhi; a task more difficult than securing an appointment with President Obama! Having made similar calls, before he chose to call me up, disappointment and bitterness rang through his voice. I understood immediately. The relationship forged during the course of service crumbles the moment you step out of the office; a fact that officers who retire have to come to terms with. Reassuring him my help, I quipped, sugar coating the bitter pill, that we all fall in the category of “chale huey kartoos” (spent bullets).

I remember that as my retirement from service approached, I had started preparing myself mentally for the grand paradigm shift. I had seen a lot of people wither at the loss of power, position and the sense of purpose that being in service brings. After nearly four decades, the job unfortunately defines you and becomes the fulcrum of your existence. Post retirement, you have to reinvent yourself without the vigour of youth and with limited options. But no amount of preparation can make the first year of retirement easy.

I felt a huge social and official disconnect from bureaucratic networking. Some colleagues refused to recognise me, some were too busy to take or return my calls and a subordinate who used to lunge for my feet on sight did not even have the courtesy to say goodbye or keep in touch. The knowledge that this happens to everyone does not make it any less brutal. But what the process does is sift the grain from the chaff. You discover the colleagues and friends who genuinely care and respond.

This process and the invaluable time on my hands which seemed like a bit of a burden in the beginning, made me realise that life is beyond the 9 to 5 that I had believed defined me. There is actually too much to do and too little time. This is the time I have earned to pursue my passions without any pressures of everyday life. It is the time for self discovery, of introspection and of embracing the joy that comes doing what you love doing most.

To all my fellow retirees, I urge you to follow a basic code of conduct to avoid disappointments and hurt. Do not make unnecessary recommendations and ask for favours from your colleagues, friends and subordinates and as much as possible do not visit them in their offices unless extremely necessary or by invitation. And grab life in all its challenges and mysteries.

Before the call from my friend, I had never really felt that I had retired as I had immersed myself in literary and other professional pursuits. As I sat back and thought for sometime post this call, I realised that retirement is not the end but another milestone, another change — a brand new beginning in this ever changing, ever altering cycle of life, the auteur of which is only you. Death is and remains the only finality in life, as the Latin proverb goes ‘mors omnibus communis’ – which is common to all!

Source Link: http://www.tribuneindia.com/2011/20110427/edit.htm#5

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