Retirement blues

Retirement blues

After three decades and a half of ‘meritorious’ service as they euphemistically term it, as the date of my retirement draws close with only few days left, I am in dilemma whether to heartily accept my farewell party, a ritual sendoff for every Tom, Dick and Harry on rolls or to search a tenable excuse to regret it.

It is not that I harbour – or ever did in past except momentarily – malice or hostility towards anyone in management or among the ranks. Not an iota of it on any count, those close to me shall vouch for it without second thought. 

I cannot recollect anyone who has not been amply cordial, friendly or well-disposed to me all these years. In the seven government establishments I served – two of these off official record, being immune from the draconian civil conduct rules and regulations I can now afford to state – I noticed plethora of employees ever grudging to be landed in the organisation that fed them, and cursing the non-cooperative stance of the bosses, colleagues as well as subordinates the likes of which were not to be found elsewhere on earth! I perceived myself quite fortunate for having elicited congenial and welcoming response without conscious effort even during my stint in Calcutta in early nineties where Hindi speakers like me were few and far between. My reluctance to be one-day hero of a ceremonial farewell was due to a different perception.

One, the drab pronouncements from the dais on the fabricated or exaggerated ‘good attributes’ of the outgoing employee dawning out of blues at fag end of his career remind one of the ‘deep shock’ conveyed by the President at the death of any member of parliament irrespective of his or her real contribution. The governor in the states and others down the line echo similar sentiments in such eventualities simply because propriety so warrants. I could never compromise with the ritualistic eulogies conferred on the deceased who is catapulted to star status one day. In my view that only tends to promote flattery and perpetuate an unworthy tradition.

Ditto with grand post-funeral rites of the aged and not so aged that include grand feasts and fanfare. Close family members putting on a façade of sorrow and grief with remarkable dexterity for the departed soul who remained utterly uncared, neglected and isolated throughout life is shear theatrics that has ever been obnoxious to me. In a recent case, one of the three sons of the just diseased father declared that the dead body would not be allowed to be lifted for cremation before clear division of property. 

Another factor prompting me to forgo farewell drama is the heart pinch and demur of employees especially at lower end in shelling out Rs 50 or so that is pooled for the gift plus the party for the sake of retiring person.

My reluctance for being hour-long hero on the terminal day of service is attributable to my reflexive anathema to stay away from the limelight of the photographic flashes that my wife has always decried. 

Centre stage has never been my cup of tea; I normally choose a corner, at times witnessing and relishing the movements of people, acting as if on a stage.

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