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Sunday read | Guest column: No Monday, no Friday, everyday is a Sunday

punjab Updated: Jul 16, 2017 16:34 IST
Col Avnish Sharma (retd)
Col Avnish Sharma (retd)
Hindustan Times
Guest column,Retirement blues,soldier

Photo is for representational purposes only(Shutterstock)

Retirement blues is a well-known paranoia. I still recollect a childhood moment when a close uncle, a government official, usually chirpy and full of life, was sad and morose and I asked my father the reason of this unusual mood of his.

“He is retiring next week”. My father, who sensed my inability to comprehend retirement, explained, “He will not have to go to office and thus be free to do what he wishes to.” And I thought this to be a mater of celebration and not depression. Numerous other occasions did indicate that retirement is generally not welcome by most. Many of us seek extensions, re-employments and sops to be able to continue to be a part of the grind and enjoy perks when one has the option to pursue personal interests.

Destiny willed retirement for me at 47, when I hung my spurs a decade back. They say, “Getting in, serving healthily and getting back in one piece is a challenge for a soldier.” There was a temptation to start the second innings of occupation. I did succumb but retracted fast realising that a job after a uniformed one is not my cup of tea and thus decided to manage my assets, both acquired and inherited and be a ‘gentleman at large’.

But having been exposed to a virtual retirement for a decade and practical layoff for a good half a decade, I and my wife are convinced that retirement is a bliss, and a real feeling comes only through a personal experience of sustained hiatus.

There is no clamour for adherence to deadlines except renewing the fixed deposits, driving licence or such like ‘once a while’ event. There are no uneasy qualms about decisionmaking, performance or accountability which affects the work environment or rigmarole of officialdom. Instead, there is just the higher pedestal of judgment or criticism of the state of affairs that exist now vis-a-vis what used to be our forte.

A wise person sailing in the same boat as us once advised, “Keep the slate as clean as possible and resist spreading your tentacles, be they social or financial. Keep light buddy.”

We thus follow the dictum ‘bite what you can chew’, without refraining from regular circulation among friends and acquaintances and indulge in the favourite past time of harmless banter and positive gossip. The multiplexes and restaurants, we realised are friendly to the retired. I was put wise by my better half about this when I was making the mistake of going to movies and meals during weekends and prime times. “Why don’t you book the early morning show on a day when Chillis or Pirates of the Grill offers discounts?”

Some chronic workaholic friends and erstwhile colleagues continue to bewildered at my retired existence despite humans of my vintage slogging it out. They still don’t hesitate asking me, “Pandit, aur aajkal kya kar raha hai?” They squirm at my set piece answer, “Retired life buddy.”

They however refuse to believe and say, “bore nahin ho jaata?” till I confess my primary occupation of being a keen golfer and the only thing that depresses me is Mondays when the golf club remains closed. They hate me for the irritating response but don’t realise that in a few months, when I turn 58, I shall officially be joining the retired club and thus not bound to answer to queries regarding status. We admire our amiable tambola announcer who connects retirement to 5 and 8…58 and rhymes pension time as ‘relaxing time’ to 5 and 9 …59.


First Published: Jul 16, 2017 11:37 IST