Sunday, July 26, 2015

Work, till retirement!

A group of children were playing at the foot of a small hill on the outskirts of the village. There was a small cave on the hill and the children were advised never to go near it.  While playing, the ball with which they were playing flew and fell near the entrance of the cave. One of the bold boys went near the cave to fetch the ball. He ventured to go near the mouth of the cave and stood there for sometime. Other kids too mustered courage and went near him. The group slowly went inside the cave. They did not find anything interesting there. While retreating, one of the boys saw a big egg lying in the corner of the cave. The children had never seen anything like that and decided to carry it to the village to find out what it actually was. The village headman saw it with other elders around, but nobody had seen such a big egg in their lifetime. It was kept on the stone slab in front of the big banyan tree. In a few minutes, it became the center of attraction in the village. A large crowd gathered around it and each one gave his own version about the egg.

One of the villagers suggested that they take it to the oldest man in the village and seek his opinion on it. The old man was now sick and bed ridden. The village headman carried the egg to his house as the old man could not come out on his own. The old man saw the egg and was excited. He said that he had heard about such a thing from his father, but he himself had never seen it. He suggested that the item be taken to the nearby village where his father stayed with his brother. His advice was duly carried out and the egg was taken there. No need to say that the entire village followed in a procession. When they went near the house and called out, the father came out to meet him. They were surprised when they saw the older man walk to them on his two feet clutching a stick for support. He was in much better health than his son. He examined the egg and said that his father had mentioned to him about such a thing when he was young. He said that it was not an egg, but possibly a corn. He was not very sure and advised the group to take it to his father who lived in another village, on the other side of the river. 

The headman and the group now proceeded to the village on the other side of the river. When they went to the house in which the grandfather lived, his great grand daughter told them that he had gone to the forest to bring firewood and forest fruits. The group waited for his arrival and found that he walked without any support and carried a big bundle of firewood on his head!  When the egg was shown to him, he was thrilled and danced holding the corn in his hands. He told the group that this was the type of corn his father grew in their farm and he grew up eating bread made from such corn in his childhood. He got the corn crushed and bread prepared out of it. A small piece was served to all the villagers.They found it extremely tasty and nice to eat. The grandfather told the gathering that due to bad practices in growing crops, the size of the corn has come down over generations and reached the present size. He also said that due to the loss of nutritious content in the corn, the food is never tastier now as it was when he was young. He mentioned that the strength humans derived from such corn is also not seen nowadays. The group which had seen the three generations of men that day did not require any more proof for what the old man opined!
I have a colleague Professor who is a bundle of energy even at age sixty-three. The energy with which he gets into a class at 9 in the morning can be seen when he comes out of another class late in the evening.  While we were having lunch last week, he mentioned that he was availing leave next day as there was a cataract operation scheduled at the eye hospital. I wished him a "happy operation and get back quickly".  He smiled and said that the operation was not for him but for his father!  Wow!  He said his father is now 96 years old and has developed cataract problem and is being operated next day. I asked another foolish question. "Is it the first cataract operation?". He again smiled and confirmed it. At the age of 96 years his father travels alone in the train from their village to Bangalore, a journey of about four hours. He does not travel in autos in the city and comfortably moves around in the city buses. He does not like to waste money by hiring autos. He can squat on the floor and sit for hours. This is indeed something to learn from when people much younger give up trying and often say that they have become too old for many things.

One of the leading Public Sector Banks recently celebrated its 108th "Foundation Day". A big function was arranged in the city to mark the occasion.  In the midst of various tastefully crafted cultural programs, an eminent educationalist was honored. The distinguished gentleman, Shri M N Raju, replied to the felicitations and his words deserved their weight in gold. Shri Raju started working at the age of 9 and never went to a school as a child. He worked as a helper to a carpenter and supported his family as a young boy. He later worked in a school for over 20 years and during this period availed only four days of leave. He later founded the first education institution on 15th August, 1974. MNR group today has 41 institutions in India and abroad in which more than 42,000 students study. The institutions impart skill-based education and has learning from "KG to PG".  Shri Raju works even today for the fraction of a salary paid to his professors in the institutions.

Shri Raju had a question for all the assembled audience in the function hall.  "What are you going to do after retirement?', he asked.  He also replied the question himself. "God has given us this wonderful tool called human body. It has enormous capacity. Use it to the fullest extent and pay back your mite to the society. Remember, there is nothing called retirement at 55, 60 or 65.  For a human being, there is only one retirement. That is the final retirement, from this world. So, it is "Work, till that retirement", he concluded. 

The above two instances reminded me of the story of the big corn and the three generations. This was the story I had read as apart of my schooling in the seventh standard. Everybody may not able to preserve the agility of the body or the mind like the two veterans mentioned above.  But that need not preclude one from trying on those lines.  Try, we must.  As long as possible.......


  1. Totally agree that use of automobiles, 2, 3r 4 wheelers has made people suffer from all sorts of problems, now , instead of walking as a necessity, it's become a 40 r45 min. Routine exercise.

  2. The grandfather had healthy corn which had highly nutrition value and so he was healthy whereas the grand children eat “pizza” which is not having nutrition value, but high calorie and so they become obese and inactive.
    You have proved that age is only a “number” in your article.
    Even I believe that ” Ship is meant for voyage, not to be anchored in harbour”.


  3. So many golden words are there for us to learn from. Great way of narrating it. UR........

  4. Your article reiterated what I have been doing all these days. It was so refreshing to read it;

  5. Good inspirational article for all of us especially who are retired and going to retire shortly. The tendency to relax and not doing anything is there in us after retirement except few who work for only earning.

    Work after superannuation should not only for earning since we must have done sufficient to take care of our daily roti. Work to help the younger generation and the society, support the youth to develop positive bent of mind and moral values. This will automatically make the future of the country very bright.

    Thanks to Keshav for an inspiring article.

  6. Energy and enthusiasm is going down generation by generation! A person can keep himself active by being useful in many ways not necessarily working in an office for salary, like Dr. Abdul Kalam who passed away with his boots on while giving lecture to students. You have taken such a good subject and narrated it so well.

  7. Inspirational and enthusiastic article,sir