In the older days and as an employee I would be in my last days of my career from today. A few months ago some agency sent me an SMS reminding me to get my benefits as retirement was close by. Me, I wanted to retire at 55. When I mentioned that wish to folks I knew, most dismissed it with a laugh. They said, you will not know what to do if you retire early. I agreed. Now, it’s another matter that I wasn’t able to retire at 55, but this lock down and the interim years between 55 and today has given me a lot of time to think about what I should do. It also put in perspective what retirement may mean.
As far as I see it, retirement, when it officially happens, will be from my official career, not from life. I need to focus on that as it is only then that I can look at what I should do next. So, retirement is NOT going into a semi comatose state and doing the usual things like taking up golf and drinking at the 19th hole. No sir, not for me, if I can avoid it. I can never forget how my late father ( Daddy to me) just did not know what hit him when he decided to retire in a huff. Yes, the poor man worked from the age of 18 and saw action with the British Indian Army in WW II and had a career of 36 years, exactly how long my present career has lasted so far, and achieved an amazing amount, but like many, he had not planned for retirement and did not know what to do, when he retired. Mummy managed the house while Daddy was in Tanzania, alone for almost 8 years before he retired. She was the Boss in Kollakadavou (our home town), irrespective of how much she tried to hand things over to him, when he returned. I remember when people came to buy grains after our harvest and they addressed Mummy while Daddy stood there, he had a very strange, sad and lost look on his face. When they gave Mummy the money she asked them to hand it to Daddy, he refused with a shy smile and asked Mummy to take it as she did all the work. Suffice is to say that he left us for a better place months before he was 58, spending three troubled retired years. Many said that I was just like him so I had this strange premonition that I may go too, before I was 58. Well, my bat is grounded at 58 and I may have a few runs more to make before God in the form of Ravindra Jadeja ( or a Totem Pole) rockets in a throw to run me out.
Me, I want to do something I like, very soon. Statistics say that 95% of working people/ businessmen etc do not do what they really wanted to do in life. It’s only people like Harsha Bhogle who have that luck. I had so many dreams as I was growing up and while one section of my dreams came alive and blossomed into reality, many just faded away. What I am grateful about is that I have been touched by so many people, each of whom has left an impact/ impression on me. I have learnt to look for the small miracles that dot my life on a daily basis and have stopped looking for the ‘water turned to wine’ episode. They do not materialise too often. I have been surrounded by a family of almost all girls who have been amazingly supportive yet not clingy. We have learnt to never get too emotional with each other. One shouldn’t, as this life is just a temporary journey we are making with each other as companions. When the ride ends you are going alone or will possibly be left alone.
At my age I believe there is a lot left in the Diesel Tank for me to do what I want to. Agriculture, Writing, Painting and most importantly Mentoring and Discussions on Theology and Life are areas I have learnt to love along with reading and cricket. I have this great wish – if I have the money – I would like to pad up to a current international fast bowler and face one over from him, in the nets. Yes, I think I will achieve that somehow. However, I always believe that people who have spent a large part of their career in one field have a lot to offer to others. Therefore, I would like to mentor on Real Estate Development. You probably don’t know this but I spent almost three years in my early days – sometime between 1994-96 setting up systems for Skyline Developers, Kerala, while working full time in Bangalore. I made monthly visits to Kerala for meetings with the promoters, senior and engineering staff – everyone in the team. One of the promoters of Skyline used my inputs to create an ERP called Quadra which is used in Real Estate 🙂 Somewhere in their archives may exist the tape recordings they made of my ‘wisdom’ 🙂 Mentoring is an art of subtle guiding, not holding the steering wheel. Each person is different and skill sets are never the same. So, I would love to work with people.
I love Agriculture. I came from that background and I want to do some kind of agricultural work as soon as I can. However, what I really want to do on an exciting level is to go more into Theology of the Abrahamic faiths and the faiths of the Indian and South East Asian nations with an understanding of what comes out of Africa, the Aborigines and the native Indians and Latin Americans. ( Large ask I know). I have spent quite a few amateur hours reading and discussing my limited knowledge of the Abrahamic faiths and the way of life of Hinduism, with a few interested people. Most don’t care about this subject 🙂 I know I may not have the time to really go into depths but, as my best friends brother in law told me, as we walked along the pillared corridor of the Rameshwaram Temple – wont we be surprised if we eventually find that God is just a Totem Pole. Well, if that is the case, I want to be prepared and not embarrass the Totem Pole by opening my mouth in surprise…
( For anyone getting to the years when you suddenly get discounts while flying etc remember, there is a whole life ahead…when you walk off the pitch, they should be applauding you for the superb multi faceted innings you have played… and not for the next guy walking in)