The cycle of life

It was the usual training programme for retirees in a public sector bank which they called the 'pre-retirement counselling session' to prepare them for the second phase of their life as the first was to end soon, on superannuation. The only notable characteristic feature was that unlike earlier editions where staff from all cadres were invited, the participants for the current programme were all executives.

It was observed that retirement from service had an impact on the people concerned, regardless of their cadre. The problem was purely psychological. Many felt they were unwanted in the family and society. Reportedly, many people went into a sort of depression or showed some symptoms of being drawn into isolation. Their mindset had to be moulded to accept the change that was inevitable and for all that one knew, their second innings could be much more laudable and memorable than the first.

People from various walks of life, comprising of doctors, psychiatrists, yoga gurus, retired people who were now leading a contented life pursuing their avowed interests, hobbies or spiritualism, were all invited to give a pep talk.

One of the resource persons was a retired executive who recalled his painful experience on the day of his retirement. Till 5 pm, he had his driver waiting on him with the bank's car and at five minutes past five all was gone. Unable to digest the situation, the executive chose to first buy himself a car of the same make and model, out of his terminal benefits according it the top most priority.

During his address, the retired executive made a passing reference to life being a cycle. "Change is inevitable. You were a baby once crawling on all fours then grew up into an adolescent and then an adult and then when infirmity dawns, you start to move on all fours again," the speaker observed. This analogy did not go down well with many of the participants.

"I am nearing 60, fit, hale and hearty, what more do you want!?" one of the participants retorted.

"What I wanted to drive home was the different phases in life from dependency to independence and then dependency. You may not be literally crawling but may still resort to a walking stick or other aids like a walker to move around," the resource person explained. But the executives would not relent.

Our veteran speaker continued, "All of you present here are seasoned executives. I will explain with a real life example which you all can relate to. When you end up with what you started off with, the cycle is complete, regardless of the background scenario. Now, if you can answer some questions...?" The participants nodded in the affirmative.

"You all started off by writing with a pencil while in school, right?" "Yes".

"Then graduated to using the fountain pen, before moving on to the ball pen." "Yeah!"

"Today, you were all provided along with the scribbling pad, a pen and a pencil. Look what all you executives without exception are using right now, for whatever reason." "A pencil."

"And that completes the 'cycle' I was trying to explain!" the speaker shot back before leaving.

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