Retirement, Harbhajan And Cash Flow

Retirement, Harbhajan And Cash Flow

A bench is placed under a big banyan tree in the park. That is where I often sit. My favourite place. Lulu, my parrot, flew in and settled on my forearm. I kept my mobile aside. I had just finished reading the news story of Harbhajan’s retirement.

“You know, Harbhajan is unhappy.”

“Oh, you mean the bowler? The one who was called Turbonator?”

“Yes Lulu, he was called Turbonator; he had such a good career. Four hundred wickets! He has declared retirement from cricket.”

Harbhajan (Pic Courtesy Wikipedia)

“Oh, he was as good as retired, in any case. What’s about him?”

“He mentioned that he was unhappy about being dropped from the Indian team without explanation. And that also reminds me, Quinton de Cock suddenly declared retirement from Test Cricket.”

“The South African batsman and wicket-keeper? What’s the reason?”

“No one knows.”

“There is something about peculiar about retirement. People seem to remember the hurts, unfairness they are dealt with during the career at the time of retirement. I think retirement makes the wounds bleed again.”

“The issue is how do you handle separation. After all you guys work for thirty-five years in industry. Sportspersons have a shorter career of about fifteen years. Sometimes even shorter.”

“Work gives you identity.”

“It also gives you money, name and sometimes your spouse, Ha ha!”

“That is as far as well-paid people and sports persons go. I wonder what would a casual worker who stands at the corner of a street in search of work every day thinks.”

“No one thinks of a casual worker and his retirement. He just does not exist for the society. He is ‘persona non grata’.”

“There is no retirement for them. They keep working as long as they can. Isn’t it funny …..”

“What’s funny about it, Lulu?”

“You interrupted me! Isn’t it funny that those who begin to work as a child, helping their mother carry stones in a quarry, and later doing odd jobs till their body forces them to give up working never think of retirement? They can’t. And….”

“What’s funny about it, Lulu?”

“You interrupted me again. I was saying that the world discusses the sadness, injustice spoken by the retired person, but not of a person who just can’t retire.”

“Did you see ‘Aai Retire Hote?’”

“You mean the Marathi play where the mother or housewife declares retirement? Ha, ha! She decides to live life her way. It causes chaos in the family.”

“That may be the answer. Live life on your terms. Chances are that you may not have regrets.”

“Can’t say that really. At the time of retirement people make a balance sheet of what they gained and lost. This is done knowingly or otherwise, by all. It is done by the CEO and the casual worker. Everyone examines life, and what it has dealt to him or her.”

“Yes, Lulu.”

“But I guess that’s not the way to look at life. Working life I mean, if not the whole life.”

“What are you referring to?”

“Because a good accountant will tell you that balance sheet statement is a fiction….”

“Come on Lulu, you can’t say that!”

“Don’t shout so excitedly! You interrupted me again. Listen, a balance sheet statement is a fiction, the real thing is ‘cash flow.’ Any good accountant will readily agree.”

“All riddles! What are we talking about?”

(Lulu, my parrot.)

“Cash flow represents ‘net balance of cash moving into and out of a business at a specific point in time.’ When you look at life, think of cash flow. Ask yourself if your work has given you positivity enough for your happiness and growth. And that is not an easy introspection to do.”

“I guess it will keep me awake many a night.”

“The problem with Harbhajan is that he is not looking at the ‘cash flow.’ He is not thinking whether he is a better and a more evolved person at the end of his career. And he played with a few all-time-greats.”

“Hmmmm …….”

“Listen, there is only one difference between a long life and a good dinner: that, in the dinner, the sweets come last.”

“Robert Stevenson said that, right?”

“Yes. In a long life you decide if life has left a sweet taste in the mouth. Harbhajan has many years ahead, so he has a choice.”

Lulu pointed to a guava and gestured me to eat.

Vivek S Patwardhan

“What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.”