Friday, 3 January 2014

Old Age and Retirement

In our society there is some ambivalence whether we should congratulate or mourn someone’s retirement. I know a certain retiree who strongly resented his being congratulated.  I know another one who requested not to come to his home in group form after his retirement lest neighbours come to know of his retirement. Generally speaking here people don’t want retirement or at least want to postpone it. And it is a sign that they have failed to understand their coming to hither and their leaving from a particular stage. We should be strong enough by 58 to require any consolation. We should have understood that separation and tragedy constitute the soul of life, that suffering is the fate of every individual/desiring ego.
According to our religious tradition all events are messages from God. And God be praised for them. As such there can never be occasion to mourn in real sense for any event that we can’t control.  I congratulate all retirees without an iota of ambivalence. But I mourn the friends/ staff members wishing him/her goodbye. It is our loss and not his/her. He has crossed a key post of life and we have been left alone without his enchanting company.
I wish to congratulate a retiree on the following grounds – and even one of these should be enough to console him if he still needs consolation. I don’t discount the fact that he will miss previous company but I count a more weighty fact that he will and should find better company in the form of the Great Companion who alone is in fact truly ours. An organization in which we work can prosecute us, can shun us and a family that we have served for years can desert us and a party that we join may throw us – in fact all relationships can prove temporary and tragic but there is a Companion whom if we duly learn to recognize and cherish we will be insured against all such heart breaks. Religion or Sufism is the path for cultivating receptivity to this Companion. Retirement offers the opportunity away from hustle and bustle or fret and fever of countless distractions of life. Now our honoured one has the opportunity to pursue the greatest adventure and joy of life – seeking God in solitude, being with oneself. It is an opportunity for perpetual itikaf.
Aristotle said that retirement is the greatest gift of a society to a person. It means that now on society shall take care of his needs and he is free to be himself, free like a bird to visit his near and dear ones and roam over the wide earth and places that we cherish to see but don’t find time.I wish we allow reitrees the full freedom to enjoy retirement. Family members too  should absolve them of all responsibilities and let them be like princes. How sorry we have not tasted life of freedom and life of children so far after our adolescence. It means we have been evicted from heaven after we lost the innocence of childhood and were initiated into alienating social order that is most often stinky. Let you declare loud and clear that you have played your innings and played it well and now you deserve to play another innings of life that demands nothing short of taking stock of whole life and preparing for the Great Journey to Heaven. Now on you should offer your smiles and merry company to those who need it but not the working hands and calculating minds. Don’t eye for shopkeeper’s role or any other role for earning some thousand rupees.
People are anxious  what they will do after retirement. There are a lot of options. One thing we need to note is distinction between leisure and idleness. We can’t afford to be without some fulfilling activity. Now whatr are those activities? If one doesn’t know by 58 he better understand that his life has been wasted.  One might recomend, however, to see a saint and learn the wazeefa of Life Eternal and all one’s anxieties or questions or desires for aawrer will go. You have to now learn what a treasure you had missed by the bondage of wage labour that official work is. Talk to your angels and archetypal images of your friends. Tune to soz-i-mansoor that is ever broadcast. I will suggest attending mahfils of all sorts, poetry sessions, Sufi mahfils, seminars etc. Read a new book every day or at least every week. (Remember Sartre used to get a bagful of books every week from his jailor and return the same on weekends). If one has not learnt to read at the rate of 150 pages/day one has wasted life. And those who belong to education department can’t be imagined to have thus wasted life. Don’t miss an itikaaf in Ramazan. Don’t miss to arrange a simple function or niyaz for your relatives and friends and sharing the best joys of life in these mahfils. Do go with religious/social activist groups sometimes. You have a world to explore and enjoy. And the only requirement is zinda dili, the will to explore and enjoy.
The book of old age is to be read and enjoyed with gaiety. If you can’t you are uneducated. What is education for f it doesn’t prepare us for different stages of life?
http://www.kashmirreader.com/01032014-ND-old-age-and-retirement-25425.aspx )

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