Fifty Years Of Life In Retrospect

Fifty Years Of Life In Retrospect

“How does it feel” Lulu, my parrot, asked. He was reading as I was typing a message to my HR group on WhatsApp.

“Hmmm …. It is difficult to say. I mean some feelings are so difficult to capture”

“I understand you. It has been 50 years since you graduated and your Institute which gave you a Master’s degree in Labour Studies. Fifty years!! That’s awesome, man!

“Yessss! Fifty years! I passed out in 1973. It was the year in which Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Aishwarya Rai, Diana Hayden and Leander Paes were born.”

Lulu, my parrot

“Wow!! Did you say ‘passed out’? Ha ha! Don’t you know what that means?”

“Yes Lulu! It has two meanings and I would say both are true. First meaning is ‘to leave a college after successfully finishing the course, and the second is ‘to become unconscious for a short time, for example when ill, badly hurt, or drunk.’”

“Oh, I was only pulling your leg. Why would you say that the second meaning also is true? That’s a surprise.”

“I got my Master’s degree in 1973. When I entered the industry, I was stunned by my near total lack of readiness to work in the industry. It was like a schoolboy facing Muhammed Ali in the boxing ring. And I was not drunk though!”

“Really? And what was the journey like in the last fifty years?”

“That’s a difficult question to answer. But let me think. I am happy that you are not asking about the achievements; you said ‘journey.’”

“Yes, I did. But surely there would be some things to be proud of.”

“I asked that question to an industrialist who had achieved ‘name and fame.’ He has several achievements to his credit and is a very popular person. What does he feel looking back on his fifty years of career?”

“And what did he say?”

“He said, ‘Life is preordained! Everything is predestined!!’ When you look back at your life, you realize that everything is a product of time, place and the person. And the person’s contribution is negligible.”

Pic Courtesy ChatGPT and Deepa Premkumar


“I have spoken to many persons of high achievement and I see this pattern – When people turn sixty, they feel that many of their achievements happened through them, not by them.”

“Now! That’s very interesting. People move from taking credit for their achievements to disowning it! That’s quite a journey!! How about you? Do you also feel the same way?”

“Yes, Lulu! I too feel that life is preordained. Sometimes impossible things happen, sometimes easy things don’t happen. Some people enter your life to change your life forever. And sometimes you enter other people’s life to give their life an unexpected turn.”


“Who would have known that I will marry a girl from Baroda? Ours was an arranged marriage; the families were brought together by a string of coincidences.”

“Marriages are made in heaven. Although Sadhguru says that only the unmarried think so!”

“Trust him to crack a joke! I would rather go by my belief. Coincidences led to us coming together, and she has had a big and positive impact on my life.”

“Interesting! Everything is preordained, eh?”

“Nani Palkhivala says that you have as much free will as a dog on a leash!”

“Dog on a leash! Ha ha!!”

“Fifty-two years ago, I was a young man who felt roundly defeated by his terrible fate. I wanted to get a Doctorate in Biochemistry but landed getting a Master’s degree in Labour Welfare!”

“How do you look back on that happenstance?”

“I feel it was HIS way to prepare me for some future events in my life”

“That’s an interesting explanation”

“I also feel some people came in my life for a reason. Ok, let me put it this way – HE put some people in my life for a reason. They went away after it was accomplished.”

“What I hear you say is that you were a puppet in HIS hands, and you are realizing it as you look back on the last fifty years.”


“How were you making life’s important decisions? Marriage and Career. Not easy choices. And making decisions while facing some tricky situations in life.”

“Yes, I had my share of those situations. I learnt that one must ask his inner self, and follow its diktat. That’s what I did. This way of deciding sometimes gave me success and sometimes failure, but never did it give me pangs of conscience.”

“I heard what your friend Deepa remarked. “He/she/the universe creates a space for you. One which has many possibilities. Which one finally comes your way and what you do is up to you and what you attract.””

I nodded in agreement. Lulu moved closer, fluttered his wings, and hopped on to my shoulder as if to appreciate our agreement.

Vivek S Patwardhan

PS: Feature Pic courtesy: Joshua Earle on Unsplash

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