Retirement.

Two triggers came to me on the same day which made me suggest this topic for this week’s 2 on 1 Friday post. Please do go over to Shackman’s blog to see what he has to say on the same topic.

The first was this cartoon in one of the daily newspapers that I read every day.

Luckily for me, I did not have a son like Calvin to make me surly during my working days and in any case, those days were not like what they are today.¬† We did not have to spend so much time commuting to and from work nor were we under the kind of pressures that today’s employees face in work situations.

The other was a WhatsApp message sending me this link to a post on Facebook.

Again, luckily for me, my old friends continue to be my friends and though the number is reducing there are still enough to keep my mind occupied with them as well as in reminiscing about the good old days.

Having started my working career at an unusual age of 16, by the time I had reached my mid forties, I had decided that I should retire by the age of fifty. This was so that I could see a lot of India and some parts of the world accompanied by my wife. For various reasons I was unable to retire at that age but was able to at the age of 52. Not bad, I thought but, life had other plans. Again due to various reasons, I was unable to implement the plan to travel and so was sort of drifting around when life intervened again and pulled be back into corporate life on three different occasions. I finally retired from corporate life at the age of 62. I did have some gaps between assignments during which I also underwent two major surgeries and tackled some major domestic issues.

For the past 14 years, I have lived a life of a retired old reprobate as so affectionately termed by my dear brother. I have not had any retirement blues as many of my friends have had though I did go through some difficult times being a full time care giver on two occasions since the retirement.

My retired life revolves around a lot of reading and a daily dose of solving crossword puzzles. This blissful existence is interspersed with reunions of various kinds about which I have blogged elsewhere, meetings with like minded reprobates in Pune where I live and visits to or from friends and family.

I am one of those blessed seniors who still has company at home in the form of his son and daughter in love plus two very affectionate dogs. To add spice to the life, two alley cats have also decided to adopt us and keep visiting us to ask for snacks at frequent intervals. Hardly ever a dull moment!

It helps that social media like Facebook and WhatsApp have brought many friends and family closer to me and so, I do not find myself at loose ends ever. The only exceptions are when due to public holidays, I do not get my daily dose of news papers and crossword puzzles when I have to depend on additional reading to pass the morning hours.

What Makes You Laugh?

The topic for this week’s 2 on 1 Friday blog post is from Shackman who actually suggested “You can tell how smart people are by what they laugh at. What makes you laugh?” Since, I flatter myself that I am not among the smart set, I can get away with shortening the title to just “What Makes You Laugh?” I hope that after reading my post, Shackman will realise how smart I am or not. Please do go over to his blog to see what he has to say about the topic.

I am one of those characters who can find humour in the most unexpected situations and burst into laughter. What may be serious to others often appears to be comic to me. Perhaps it is my puckish sense of humour that is responsible but, this trait has landed me in some very embarrassing situations.

Having shared that, let me address the question. The things that make me laugh are;

Comic strips in the daily newspapers. Particularly,  Peanuts, Calvin and Hobbes, Dennis the Menace, Dilbert and often, single illustration cartoons by Sunil Agarwal & Ajit Ninan. A sample of one from the last, but with a different partner.
Pompous politicians.

Dogs and cats in real life as well as in stories.

Jokes that come to me through Facebook and WhatsApp.

Old movies with Charlie Charlie Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy etc.

Here are two representative samples  that combines two of my choices.

Another type of humour that can make me laugh out loud is that where an unexpected twist takes place in the conversation. Like this one.

 

Renunciation.

There is a process of observing a discipline in one’s later stage of life in our system called Aantara Sanyasa. It simply means that one renounces three things by observing an internal discipline. The things that one renounces are 1. the sense of ownership and control; 2. Worrying and 3.Special prayers to achieve some specific ends. I have tried to follow these disciplines in my life for the past few years with quite a bit of success. Or at least I was of that opinion.

Perhaps to drive home the point that it is not all that easy, suddenly a few days ago, a crisis hit my son in his business and he shared his worry with me. I immediately started worrying, the second item in the list and went through an agonising period and took recourse to prayer, the third item on the list and found some solace in the process.

The crisis blew over yesterday and I had a great sense of relief and felt a deep sense of gratitude for having my prayers answered.

The first item on the list, that I had no control over the events or their outcome was driven home with such a power that I understood in practice what it is all about.

It has been a momentous development in my spiritual pursuits.