D-day for those in employment is normally their date of retirement. Given the present-day working environment with increasing workload and reduced manpower, it is not uncommon to see people just trying to figure out the period remaining for them to make a quiet but peaceful exit from service.

Many in their late fifties eagerly look forward to this and more often than not keep themselves engaged in related activities as a prelude to retirement. It could be working out the pension that they are likely to get with the current DA level, or the PF accumulated in their account, or other terminal benefits they are entitled to or even those benefits included in the updated version of the staff welfare schemes but not discussed regularly in friends’ circle.

Prospective retirees love to draw up their balance sheets keeping in mind their future commitments such as closure of home loans or education loans taken for their wards or other dues or even the outlay of funds required for the marriage of their children, and so on. Sometimes they carry a bewildered look when contingent liabilities flash through their minds or the sources of funds do not really match their expectations.

End of active service means freedom from the drudgery of daily routine which includes travelling sandwiched between sweating co-passengers in overcrowded trains and buses or being pulled up by the boss for coming late or for some frivolous reason. It is only in this scenario that many people long for the day when they can follow a schedule of their own, without being questioned by anyone. They mentally draw up a time-table of activities to be pursued — going for a walk or playing tennis in the mornings and visiting temples in the evenings, with the rest of the time for their own interests.

But it was this friend of mine who really did me in. Sitting with a blank paper before him, pen in hand, he broke into a smile when I looked at him inquiringly, having observed him sitting idle for more than a reasonable period of time. “I was just thinking of the other ‘retirement’, permanently from this world,” he quipped, and went on to add, “If I had to prepare my balance sheet of all the good I had done and all the sins I had committed and present it to Chitragupta, this is what it would probably look like. Blank!”

maharajapuram.s.vaidyanathan@gmail.com

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