It has been over three months since I retired. These are musings on my first impressions of life in this new environment. Retirement can be a cathartic event, an abrupt end to a busy life that may have had its workplace stress but was fulfilling as every day brought a new challenge. It is said that in the end you will meet the Almighty and so must one say that you will meet ‘retirement’ at the end of that final day in office. So let me share a few of my experiences in the new avenue. During this brief period, I have found some new ‘friends’ also.
For my first friend is cookery, I can say that I never ever thought I would or could take up the challenge of cooking. However, every visit to the kitchen to put into practice recipes learnt from YouTube have given me even more motivation to sharpen my skills and churn out eatable food (that is food that will not produce an upset stomach the next day for myself or others!!). I am now slowly appreciating the basics of the mechanics of Indian cooking. For example, why chilies and garlic are sautéed first and then onions, and why the masalas enter the scene when they do. All to create that wonderful aroma of Indian cooking!
My second friend has allowed me to “open” my eyes and admire the world from a new perspective. I was for so many decades a horse with blinkers, because of the work life I led. Now I am able to see the world with a 360-degree view. For example, on our roads I observe that we have great talent behind the wheels that can challenge the likes of Lewis Hamilton and his fellow professionals on the Formula One racing circuit. Speed really thrills these brave souls; they seem to have colour blindness to red and lane driving makes no sense. All of this creating disorder out of order and chaos on some of the capital’s roads (many of them prominent). One gets a glare if you look at them committing these dare devil acts. From the sounds of cars speeding up and screeching to a halt into the quiet of eating places, I observe how while the mobile phone has made communications more efficient, yet at the same time has replaced the beauty of conversation that is one of the qualities that make us human. There at a corner table some friends can be seen intently peering into their phones for “more” as if the curse of “instant gratification” has taken complete control of their brains. But that is the new world I observe and must learn to accept, just as much as I long for those times when I was younger, when at an outing during college (either bunking lectures or during free time) or at the work place friends longed to interact and chit chat their time over chai or eats.
My third friend is an old friend who always visited my home and office, but now visits in a newer way every morning. Now, before breakfast or when I like, I am able to read only that which I want in the newspapers, to observe and understand how issues related to politics, economics, business or sports are taking shape and to track their development, join the dots and analyze how issues could develop further in the days and months ahead. Oh, how time allows me to read the newspaper from front to back without disturbance!!
Finally, my fourth new friend is “Time”. To spend it as I like and to savor the moment or to think and reflect on the challenges of what the next phase of my life will be. Just like that song from Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s movie ‘Gol Maal’ released in 1979– “Aane vaalaa pal jaane vaalaa hai, ho sake to isme zindagi bitaa do, pal jo ye jaana vaalaa hai”. It is time to reflect on what has been, maybe could have been and also a time in this moment in time to plan the moments to come and to find a way to handle the moments that may come in my journey on Retirement Avenue.
*Nitin Wakankar is a retired officer of the Indian Information Service. He likes to observe life, people and events.
(Banner Image provided by the author).