When you retire you switch bosses from the one who hired you to the one who married you’ – Gene Perret

The day was usual, woke up at 6 and had to race with the running time to reach railway station by 7:45 am. Just like Kajol in Dilwale dulhaniya lejayenge movie, I had to run and jump into the train at the last minute. The only difference was I did not have anyone to pull me into the train! I saw ‘him’ reading the newspaper, and I saw him reading the news of ‘Sehwag’s retirement’. He saw me, smiled as usual. I was into thoughts like “What would he be feeling about the news? Is he a fan of Sehwag’s big hits? Will he be missing him too? Etc. “

My ‘train gang’ is of 6 people, sitting in the last compartment of the local passenger train. Everyone else in the group were more than double the age of me, The  most silent person of our group was the one who was reading the news of retirement.

After greeting, I looked at him; I could not stop myself from clearing my doubts. So, I asked – “Sir, How do you feel? The retirement?”,  He smiled, remaining calm and composed as usual, he said “Happy…” and then he saw his close friend in front of him waiting for his answers, and he continued his answer –  “a little sad too, I will be missing you all”.

It was his last day in his government health office, he served 34 years in the same profession, and he was very proud this last day that he was always honest. The ‘retirement’ day may not be a great thing for everyone because it comes to everybody, but it is true that when it comes, it comes only once in your life. At all the different stages of our lives, we will either be happy (like the birthdays, fist day to college, first job, wedding, new child, etc.) or sad (like losing dear ones, last day at college, fired from job, in hospital, losing all money, etc.). But this particular day it’s always a mixture of feelings that you can’t define. This mixture contains the feelings of such a long service, and I could feel that he was going through all those emotional curves.

From the next day, he would not be travelling in the train in which he travelled for 34 years, he would not be going to the office, no chai pe charchas, no meetings to attend, no playing cards with his friends in the train. It will be an abrupt stop to a routine he followed for years and it is not easy to accept it overnight. Is it all that? Is there no reason to be happy after retirement? Definitely there are reasons to cherish and be happy. There always is something that you gain when you lose.

Now he is free of all the worries, office work, pressure, deadlines and what not? He can now look at his dear family with extra care and play with his grandchildren or go for a long tour, that he always wished for. He now has money to spend and time to use the money.

‘Retirement’ day is a never ending flow of experiences, and is inevitable! Retirement is like turning eighteen. You can’t figure out whether you are young or old. “I wish him all the very best, a healthy and a peaceful retired life”

-To my train friend who retires this day “Varghese Jhon”

–  Avil Mascarenhas

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