What’s behind great acts of bravery?

A four year old boy is inches from falling off a balcony. Then a stranger starts to climb the building. The video was filmed in Paris. The 22 year old stranger is Mamoudou Gassama and he is an illegal immigrant from Mali. He scales the building floor by floor and manages to save the small child from certain death. “I didn’t have time to think, I ran across the road to go save him. I just climbed up, and thank God, God helped me”. Later he received a Gold medal for his heroic act and citizenship.

You often hear of similar heroic deeds. Of some brave person who at personal costs to their own lives, dived into the sea to save someone, or run across a busy highway to help someone in an emergency. Ever wonder, what really inspires such people? Do they have special qualities?

Truth is, all such people when interviewed, did not consider their acts out of ordinary: they did not believe they were doing anything special or extra-ordinary. Nor did they think they were special in any way, different characteristics from many others. Turns out they saw themselves as just an ‘ordinary person’ no different from any other, nor did they think, their act was something, someone else would not do, under the circumstances. When asked they believed that it was just the right thing to do, that seemed the only choice as opposed to just watching, or moving by. Almost as if configured in them, was choicelessness: “See emergency, Respond. Not to Think, Just Act“.

The question that now arises is how can we possibly be responsive to situations all the time: not just act in an emergency but act at all times, in complete integrity to that which unfolds before us. Fact is that despite media highlighting the horrific in a calamity, people actually reach out in more collaborative behaviours than it is made aware by the news. Yes, there are sporadic cases of arson, etc, but the majority come out more helpful and resilient together.

If as Leo Tolstoy in one of his stories confirms: the most important thing to do, is always what you are doing now, and Who you are with is the most important person, and when to do the most important thing is right now. This requires working from awareness, from naturalness, from all that is within us, connected with existence, seeing me and the other, one and the same in the larger game of life. What else is beautiful earth when viewed from space: no boundaries, no nations, absolutely no division. That exists only in the mind!

True intelligence comes from ‘choicelessness’. The phenomena presents but only one choice: responsiveness and to act, without thought about self. As of the firing of mirror neurons is, but automatic, instinctive, natural and spontaneous. Then self is obliviated to the other, the task seems just ordinary. To be extraordinary one just has to keep in mind to add the extra to ORDINARY!

Life Scripts Influences Us

Life Script, according to Eric Berne (introduced Transactional Analysis) is a set of childhood decisions made unconsciously by a person in response to parental messages about self, others and the world. Further these are strengthened through seeking evidence of this to ensure our beliefs are justified.

Let me offer you a few life scripts of mine.

I remember once I was moaning about my grades on a paper, and Dilip Bagri (name changed), a classmate who studied with me at St. James’s said, “Steve, laugh and the world will laugh with you. Cry, and you will cry alone”. From that day on, I was determined to take charge, be accountable for all things around me, and resolved to make the most of opportunities that came my way.

I remember my principal John Mason encouraged all of us to participate in extra-curricular activities. One day he strolled into our classroom and his eyes settled on me as he invited me to take part in the debate competition. I protested, saying I could never debate. “How would you know you cannot”, he countered, “unless you tried. I want to see you on the podium next week, young man” he said as he walked out. The next week I went up on the podium, my first time, and over the years many such events followed. But it was just sheer nectar, that first moment when he walked up to me after the debate, and shook my hand, my face all flushed and red with excitement. That day, I decided, I would use the opportunities provided to me – give everything a try.

Then there was that moment pre-selection ahead of the final exams when he walked into our class, and started to address each student, exhorting each one to give their best performance. When my turn came, he looked at my academic progress scores, which was quite good, but his eye picked the lowest subject (no guesses, it was Hindi). “So what do you have to say about this”, he challenged me. I will do well, I replied, but weakly, this time quite uncertain of myself.

Then to my surprise he said, ‘I know you will do well. I recall the day on the track field last summer. You had red all over your foot (I had wounded myself and bloody). You still picked yourself and ran that race and completed it. I know you will finish this one too”. No surprise he words spurred me. I put my mind to the task, not so much for myself but for the faith he had put in me. I finished off St James’ as a school prefect, stood second in my class in the board exams, and had a string of certificates in field and track events, soccer, as also debating, elocution and plays. From him I learnt, ’Seize opportunity, be the Best you can be”

I curiously wonder what made John Mason pick me that day in class? I know it could have been anyone: each of us is a seed of potential. Today, I realise we can all be mentors to others. To blow into the ember that can start a raging fire!

On one occasion, I remember my father, and his friend and myself being invited to the Diamond Harbour docks – my uncle who was a Captain had invited us on board his cargo ship. I was so excited coming on board the ship on a dinghy, and coming up through an iron staircase, then atop the deck. We were taken around to the radio room, and other areas, and finally to the Captain’s Cabin. While the adults drank whisky, I was handed a pack of six beer cans! It was my first experience of drinking. In the spirited reverie that evening, I am not sure what prompted my uncle to give me unsolicited advice (certainly the spirit helped), but he actually did, when he spent a few minutes one on one with me and said, “Be something young man. Only if you are something, will others want to keep relationships with you.” I understand only now, he may have been projecting onto me his ‘life story’ but his comments burned deeply within me. I think I took on a belief system then that ‘I matter only if I am something to someone.” Only by what I achieved would I be a ‘success’, perhaps nothing else mattered as much. That is, there is me, a person, and then there is an instrumentation (my external definition of success) of self. Years later, I realised that while I took pains to grow the instrumentation, I had not valued the self, as much as I would have liked to. 

Dear Readers, I know you may find sharing uncomfortable even unnecessary. Still, would any of you like to join in and respond to: What has been one significant moment that helped create a Life Script within? Or something you said, that helped someone?

Why do I write?

Something unexpected happened a few minutes ago. Someone wrote to me and shared how much she enjoyed reading the recent articles I have posted on LinkedIn, but admitted she would take a while longer to get around to completing all. I felt so heartened that I replied back saying, “I haven’t written one, today!’. She replied, “But then there are four hours left” 🙂

So I thought, I must start with asking myself why do I write?

But first, do you believe in Angels? I do. My forthcoming book came from an inspiration from a Muse. She was a cheerful spirit that hovered around looking for me to welcome her. She approached a year ago, knocked softly and waited. She snuggled right in, announced herself with the idea of this book. Like an ember, she invited me to blow into it. I knew she would fly away soon if I did not do something. Months later, I would discover someone wrote the same thing, I wished to say. This time, I made place for her, and asked for her to be by my side. As I worked on joining the dots, she revealed herself each day, first as a silhouette, and as I joined the dots, gradually revealing herself even more. The book formed itself. To you, creative angel I owe my deepest gratitude. Thank you for staying by my side.

My struggle with writing has been a long one. 15 years back, I would feel shy to write my comments on blogs: Did what I have to say, seem relevant, did it matter, would I look stupid. I began with a promise to write 6 blogs in a year in 2011, as a commitment to myself. The dam within me opened, words sprang from the depth of my being, from the deep recesses of my soul, often my head would bend offering her richness in a rich panoply of words and thoughts. Words gushed like a dam, in flood. My blogs continued, but as a private well for myself, and I was happy on my own! I called my blog – my very own personal space.

But my biggest joy is when I have touched a chord in my heart, even when deep within my soul stirs to find expression. The poems of Rumi two of which I posted opened my heart of the deepest cave of love and poetry, and to make his words in Farsi ring thru. My writings have been an even greater joy, than my first love: the deep joy of reading, especially deep stuff that requires a synoptical contemplation.

Recently, I have been bolder, more daring. taking even more risks with my choice of content and form. I must admit, that writing has come with major secondary benefits as well: the endorphins popping each time, I get a ‘like’, even better a ‘comment’. But I long to create something more: a Sangam of dialogue, and deliberation, a small lake with me and my community of readers: to dip our feet, share and commune. This is my hope.  

Dear Reader, will you join me and walk alongside…..?

Do you Fear missing out (FoMO)?

This article acknowledges my son Desmond who explained to me FoMO.

Our connected digital world

Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, gives us the possibility to remain in touch ‘24 x 7’, ever present to others. We are now, even more connected to each other in the new digital world. This exposure gives us access to information which is overwhelming! It throws up possibilities for each of us, in the moment, for the day, or ahead. And it is refreshed all the time.

Ironically, but not surprisingly, the more we have the less decisive we are, and know not where to pause and dive. Everything seems inviting, alluring, exciting, just around the corner that we skip, scroll forward, drop a ‘like’ or two, and move on – like restless bees. Ours is a nine second attention span – like the goldfish in the bowl. So much to take in, all at once, and a restlessness lingers. Like a birthday boy, examining all the gift packages long after the guests have left, he hovers over his newly acquired toys. Which one to play with? And ever present the desire and anxiety to move on – enter FoMO.

FoMO

Stay vigilant to FoMO (or Fear of missing Out) – a social anxiety and a growing phenomenon amongst young adults, but it is present in other ages as well. FoMO is not a temperament, a neuroticism, or a display of extraversion, it is a negative emotion to missing out – an affliction if you may. What was a feeling common in the past, has now a nomenclature to describe it? It is a compulsive concern that one is missing out on an event which has the potential to be satisfying, worsened even further with presence of digital availability and social media as we can now see what ‘others are doing’ out there. 

FoMO is present mostly in Young

FoMO ironically exists because as we have increased choices, we have fewer. We stay confused and delay making commitments. FoMO brings an added dimension – what if there were even better choices, I could have availed, which I did not, because I chose to commit too early on. Let me not confirm this get-together with this friend, something more exciting may come up shortly? Don’t say Yes, Yet.

There is a reason for this tentativeness. The paradigm is life is available with infinite possibilities, layers, and substrata of streams of opportunities, infinite rivulets, streams, tributaries of opportunities, all within a dizzy kaleidoscope and within reach to delight. To make an early choice, would be to collapse this rich unfolding bottomless well of opportunity, to remain immobilised to something, to be in a ‘stuckness’. If one does not commit, one lives in this multiverse of opportunities, in an infinite quantum superposition.

However, once a decision is made the wave function collapses and one finds oneself in the desert of single choice. To be in the realm of multiple choice, where anything is possible is denied, once choice is made. Choice anchors you to a path: one of the many that is possible. Choice then is one ‘selection’ and a rejection to all other possibilities. And you better know what you are rejecting, before you do reject, and before you make a choice. Left with this, there seems no choice but to ‘wait it out’, to keep processing and till the final moment. We do recognise we cannot have it all, but can we have the ‘best’ in whatever is available seems the obsession. FoMO speaks to the inner voice of who we are, what we truly wish for ourselves, our own best possibilities to be and to optimise the abundance of life. Can you visualise the impact FoMO has on workplace?

Friends, are you afflicted with FoMO as well, or knows someone who does? Please do comment.

History repeats yet again…..and again…

On 4th August 2020, Mumbai saw heavy rains and water-logging as Indian Meteorological Department issued a weather alert asking citizens to remain indoors. This is a repeat of the heaviest spell of rain since 2005. Roads in areas such as Goregaon, King Circle, Hind Mata, Dadar, Shivaji Chowk, Shell Colony, Kurla ST Depot, Bandra Talkies, Sion Road have been flooded. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has asked all offices to remain shut barring essential services. The Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) has diverted bus routes in the city. Multiple landslides were reported along the Western Express Highway in Kandivali due to incessant rains. Operations at the Mumbai airport have also been affected due to heavy rain. (source:from a website)

On 29th August 2017, Mumbai witnesses once again massive rainfall disrupting lives. Reports are still pouring in….

On 20th June, 2015 Mumbai witnessed unprecedented rainfall in a decade. Many lost their lives, many their income, many most of what they had.

Someone said famously,” Those who forget history are condemned to repeat it”.

Here is something I wrote a decade back.

Mumbai Floods –July 2005 Steve Correa

Time, they say, is a great healer.

It is a great antidote to pain. It allows for wounds to heal, hearts to melt, and memories to forget as also to normalise ‘impact’ over time. The flood waters have receded and shortly too our memories will recede with time. Life will ‘limp’ back and ‘normalcy’ will be restored. The local dailies will switch over from its current splash of human interest stories, shocking photographs, and lampoon of the administration to other more ‘live’ news. The television cameras would move on to snapping more gory images elsewhere to feed a ‘hungry’ populous for even more news. Time would distance memories of the Mumbai flood, like time has done successfully for so many past disasters. Indeed, normalcy would have been restored till yet another catastrophe.Yet for us, in our conscious memory a Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday did happen–and for each one it was a personal story filled with significance. Forget the fact that I walked twice through through waist deep filthy water – the first time to get to a safe place to spend the night, the second time to reach home. My wife walked too, that evening. My kids were stranded somewhere else. But in sum, it was only a‘fraction’ of the horrors that others had to face. Through that walk a thousand images have locked itself, playing out a human saga of glory and strife. At one level, it’s a celebration of the human spirit, at the other a sad commentary of our abject apathy.

Through careful reading of newspapers, scanning every word we read about what happened to others around us. Information on how many braved through the nights; courageous acts by some despite personal odds, and of those who were not so fortunate – who perished into the night. Of facts- of power, phones and what not! Time will convert this to nameless and forgotten statistics, but for now? Through colleagues, we listened to their tales(as each had one)and those of their friends and family.

We complimented the spirit of those around us and were saddened to hear of those who took a heavier brunt. I am still saddened with the image of a crying one year old atop his mother’s shoulder, while she walked through waist deep filthy muddy waters. Thousands of newspaper readers, am sure, would be equally horrified on seeing the photograph of a dead child being carried in the arms of a relative, a coin placed on his forehead. Some were reduced to spectators – those on high ground watched with horror, the long serpentine trudge of human lines walking across each other to get to the other side. Children held in arms, old folks supported by younger men. Some were sombre, but most were spirited. It is said that it is the spirit of Mumbai. Not so – it is the spirit of humanity that rises when all else fails.

The blame game will play itself out – like some catharsis, and it must. Questions will be asked, blame will be assigned, anger expressed at responsible people and machinery- who did not act responsibly when the time came to do so, or despite wanting to help could not. I am choked with the helplessness-that despite knowing the real reasons, we will shelter behind good reasons. This time – it was the unprecedented amount of rainfall. There will always be a good reason and it will always obscure the real one.

At the end of the day, the responsibility is ours as citizens – in the world’s largest democracy, ‘we deserve what we get’; when we flirt between options to either defy or deny what’s happening to us and choose not to define.

Mumbai Mirror showed a photo of a distraught Bachchan, headlines screaming ‘den flooded, loses precious memorabilia. Ironical that in all this human tragedy his ‘tragedy’ has more interest for readers than those less fortunate. Even worse, a full story follows on another section inside. Don’t get me wrong, Amitabh is still my favourite actor, but on this day, the heroes belong elsewhere. I saw many that day, and they will remain unsung. History would not even record, their acts would live in the memory of others, who were helped.

52 locals, 37,000 autos, 4,000 taxis, 900 buses, 10,000 trucks grounded and damaged are statistics that get thrown up. Just numbers! Yet for each one-his moment with grief, resolve and fortitude. Tell a star fish, who has been thrown back into the sea, so that he might live, that he is just a numbered statistic.

A lot of meetings will be held, post mortem done, plans drawn for the future. It will be forged and energised on the strength of what once has gone through. But it will not be lasting. The embers will die down. Another tragedy will strike soon, our hope will be it will happen elsewhere. Awake citizens – raindrops do fall often in the same place. Boomerang time again. Those who forget history are condemned to repeat it.

In all of this, an emotive part in me stand rebellious. Where is the anger that must arise and demand for justice? When will there be enough tragedy, such that we will wake up? ‘How many roads must a man walk down’…wailed Bob Dylan. How many deaths will it take before, we realise that too many have died?”

The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind. The answer is blowing in the wind.

What is your retirement plan?

Jagged streaks of lightning occasionally illuminated the sky, betraying dark threatening clouds moving ominously across the grey skies. A gusty wind raised a cacophony of a banshee howling eerily amidst the winds. Abruptly, the clouds broke, hailing rain drops down furiously to the ground. A dry thirsty earth rapidly quenched its fill then overflowed.

Ramu, the pavement peddler, sitting in the Worli Promenade hurriedly lifted his basket to his head, opened his oft repaired umbrella, and shielded himself but unsuccessfully in the downpour. It was July, monsoon season in Mumbai. The Place: Worli Sea face.

Ramu crosses the road, to ‘Gulita’, the reputed training centre of an MNC where I worked as Corporate Training Head. Under a large tree, near the main gate he stood shivering. I happened to be under the tree myself, smoking a cigarette* and we strike up a conversation, as two strangers would or would not do, in such strange circumstances. We both knew each other for a year now. I had often stopped during an evening walk to buy peanuts from him.

At some point, I ask him, “I don’t see you sell much of the peanuts and ‘chhana’ gram through the day. In the afternoon I actually see you having a siesta, and most evenings I have found you give away the unsold food to the beggars”. Why not sell something else?

Ramu smiled, and answered, ‘ Actually, I am retired. I live with my son and his wife and two sons”. I smiled at him and remained silent. He continued, “I was working as a driver with an MNC and have saved some money for my retirement.”

“Post my wife dying, I moved to my son’s home. Rather than give him a part of my money, I have chosen to give it to them each day. They believe that I do good sales each day. The money is welcome, as my son is struggling at present, and my income is appreciated.”

“I feel I am contributing to the family, and it allows me to live with respect with them. Any shortfall in income I make up from small withdrawals I make from my bank account.”

Soon the rain lessens in fury and changes to a light patter. The clouds quickly clear and the sun shines through once again. I walk back to my office thinking, Ramu clearly had thought through his retirement plans.

What’s your retirement plan?

If you enjoyed this article and would like to share a retirement story of someone you know please join in.

*smoking is injurious to health, and the article does not endorse any form of tobacco consumption

Rajesh’s Retirement plan, what is yours?

Rajesh sat back on his cane sofa heaving a sigh as he looked across at his wife Neeta busy sorting out her wardrobe.

It had been a while since the two of them were alone at home. These quiet private moments were rare. Two months ago, they had a similar moment, now was one more such occasion. To both of them these were treasured moments.

Rajesh reflected on the last ten years that had gone by post his retirement. It had changed so dramatically. He had superannuated as a head time office supervisor from a steel plant at Jamshedpur.  His elder son, Binoo had moved across to Nagpur and was working in procurement in a construction firm. Binoo had been married for five years  to Mamta and had a two year old son, Sachin. Rajesh’s second son Rakesh, a year younger to Binoo was based in Chhindwara working as a clerk in a mill.

It seemed then, that post retirement, it would be the perfect thing to buy a house in Nagpur large enough for the entire family to stay together under one roof.  Would that not be ideal, he thought as he broached the idea with Neeta. Many well-wishers had questioned his decision as this would at one go put all of his life’s savings into this one big investment with very little money left in the bank for drawing upon for personal expenses.

Binoo and Rakesh were delighted with the idea. It would save them the expense of rent, and after all they would all be living again under one roof and take care of each other. Mamta was most delighted too. She felt that this might give her an opportunity to get back to a working career once more, a break she had taken since the past two years. After all, they were all one family and expenses for the household would be shared by both Rakesh and Binoo.

That was then, a decade ago. How life had changed since. The joint family magic lasted for just six months, then melted away, like as if the package was taken off, and just the rot remained. Mamta’s plan to get back to work evaporated when she discovered she was pregnant again. Rajesh and Neeta delighted at the prospect of being grandparents again had generously offered to move out of the master bedroom and exchange rooms with Binoo.  Not surprisingly, this offer was accepted promptly.

A year later Rakesh got married to Sunitha. He was keen to have a larger room now and both Rajesh and Neeta requested him to take their room, and they would move over to the smallest room, in their three bedroom flat. They did not mind over the years moving from the large master bedroom, first to the second bedroom, and now to the guest room. What was really annoying was the fact that the washing machine was placed in their bathroom, and often they would have the rest of the family trooping in and leaving them with little privacy.

Rajesh and Neeta would enjoy taking an evening walk together and catching up with others in the park. However, as the household work increased, they could find very little time to be together. From cooking, to helping the children they had little time to catch their breath during the day.  From a quiet peaceful life they enjoyed at Jamshedpur for several years, this seemed like being in the middle of a ‘egg shells’ each day, with occasional family under currents and misunderstandings  that are bound to crop up when so many find themselves living together.  As much as Rajesh and Neeta tried to avoid adding to the misunderstanding, their occasional comment or lack of it would create added tension.

Rajesh breathed deeply as he thought pensively. His retirement plan did not exactly work out as he had planned. He wondered if things would improve, but he had a doubt it would.

Readers, what is your retirement plan? Join me and share retirement plans that have had intended and unintended consequences.

On Retirement….

The neighbourhood on 4th block Koramangala was agog and surprised when word got around that Shanti Iyer, 70 years old and her husband Jayesh, 9 years older were planning to move to a retirement home in suburban Bangalore.

“I thought she was so happy and settled here”, Lata a neighbour confided anxiously to Sundara, a lady resident who lived a few houses away.

Back in 2001, Jayesh had retired from a government job, and with the corpus they had as savings they had constructed a small bungalow on a plot of land they had bought way back a decade earlier, and moved in.

Life seemed so well planned, as they look ahead on their retirement life together. Their two sons were also staying at Bangalore on Mysore Road, and they would drop by on the weekends especially festivals and family occasions.

Then a few years ago, things began to sour. Jayesh began to exhibit some strange behaviour, muttering at times to himself, and increasingly appearing forgetful. A medical examination alarmingly revealed the worst: multiple strokes in the brain and the onset of dementia. For a few months, it was exhausting, and over time the conditions only worsened.

Then a year ago, Shanti slipped and fell while descending the flight of staircase. She had a hip surgery that took several months to get set right, but now did not allow her the mobility she required. With her immobilisation severely restricted, the needs of her husband required her to provide even more demanding care. As much as her two children tried to help, it was not enough. She realised that she and Jayesh required full time care, not weekly visits.

She made up her mind: she would have to take the painful decision to move her and her husband to a retirement home, more appropriately an assisted living facility, which would assure her the help and support they both needed.

The protests were many but she prevailed on her dissuaders, and they were  many, assuring them that she had thought through this very carefully. This plan was best for Jayesh and her. She confessed it did break her heart to move out of this bungalow and neighbourhood, she was so well settled in and which she loved so much.

Soon, followed a ‘For Sale’ sign, a few weeks later, the commercials concluded, a van moved in early dawn to carry away her personal belongings while the furniture she gifted to her friends.

Then she and Jayesh bid tearful farewell, to their friends, as they took a taxi that would move them to their new home far away to a strange place they would now have to consider home.

Her thoughts as the taxi turned the corner were with Jayesh. How soon would it be till he forgot about their home they left behind. For once, in this matter, she hoped it would be soon.

What’s your retirement plan? Please join in and comment.

Once more-what is your retirement plan?

Bunty and Bubly

Meet Bunty first. He had retired as a clerk in a small medium size enterprise and lived in a small town where he had bought a small house. Bunty as long as he remembered had a very jovial appearance, was ever lively and enjoyed meeting people. While working, he had long harboured an ambition to be a photographer and had built a small collections of photographs.

Soon after his retirement, Bunty decided to invest in a DSLR camera, which could take pictures and Videos. He also invested in lighting equipment’s and other accessories. He taught himself photoshop by enrolling in a free MOOC course on the internet, and because of his interest he was soon able to attain a high level of proficiency.

Gaining confidence, family and their friends invited him to events and he would bring along his camera and take photographs. His diligent care and attention to details earned him a reputation very quickly.

Today, Bunty is a freelance photographer, and is much sought after in the town for weddings, Corporate events and other gatherings. He enjoys meeting people, and is able to pursue his passion.

Next Bubly

Bubly retired as an accountant with a private company. Her two children were grown up and well settled. While she was working a lot of colleagues would seek her advice on personal financial planning and personal investments. She quite enjoyed looking after finances and investments and would follow the market and regularly read updates on online. She found that with her finance background she had a clear advantage in being able to advice others.

Soon following her retirement, she decided she would offer professional services as a financial advisor and help people in her town to invest their hard earned savings. Bubly was a good listener, and able to empathise and soon had a very good network of friends and clients who would take her help in investment advice. With her reputation growing she decided to also support her clients file their annual Income tax as well. Bubly is very satisfied. She has a strong list of loyal clients who trust her and use her services frequently.

What do these two stories have in common?

1.    It is possible to pursue one’s passion and hobby and make a decent amount of money from it to supplement the corpus saved for retirement.

2.    The professions they choose allowed them to use their strengths: for Bunty, his love of photography and his extroverted nature and for Bunty her knowledge of practical finance.

3.    Both of them were not just doing what they loved, it gave them a lot of joy and happiness and it was fun, even while the service they provided was of value to others.

4.    Last but not least, there were in control of their time, and could engage with work in the leisurely pace they chose.

What do you think: I aver that there are three essential ingredients in choosing a second innings – Fun, Learning and Income. What one more thing You would like to add?

What advice do you have for Anand?

Anand Patel five years ago, retired as Assistant Chief Engineer, Public Works Department after several decades of exemplary service. At his farewell, he was given an emotional farewell by his colleagues and many shared a few words acknowledging his dedicated service and contribution. They applauded his technical understanding and his administrative skills around projects undertaken.

A year passed by after retirement and one day Anand was approached by a leading Works Contractor, on a lucrative offer to assist him on ‘technical matters’ and included liaison. Anand thought about it for quite a while, but as he had a lot of time at his disposal, he decided the ‘additional income’ would be welcome and so he agreed to join as an advisor.

Over time, the occasions for technical expertise lessened and Anand saw himself being asked to front end meetings with various government agencies. At first, it was fun and it gave him an opportunity to meet some of his former colleagues he had worked with, many of who he had directly supervised. Later, as the pressure increased for outcomes, he found himself becoming increasingly uneasy. Some of the officers would say something to him but later he heard that they were wanting something else, and he started getting even more disturbed, as the initial warm reception turned to lukewarm, and some officers even started avoiding meeting him.

A career built with respect and hard work and competence seemed to be in compromise with the post-retirement role he had chosen. Should he continue doing this job, he wondered to himself. Was this all worth it?

He turns to you for advice. What would you suggest? Please do comment on the post.