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Archive for the ‘Retirement’ Category

Nightlife and Daydreams

In art, Holidays, Motivation, Retirement, Wage Slaves, work life balance, work stress on October 5, 2019 at 17:26

How many more traffic jams before we realize that fast city life is the worst way to die slowly? Days, weeks, months and ultimately decades spent in a state of mild to moderate agitation. On constant alert from noise, crowds and smells. A compounding cluster-fuck of short-shortsightedness and macroeconomics. Every day, thousands of people alight at Mumbai Central station in search of a better livelihood even as existing city dwellers dream of a quiet life.


I have always been a Mumbai boy. Since my family migrated from Karachi during partition we were left with no real hometown. A fact I was reminded of every summer vacation when the entire class came back with farm stories and I had only seen wrestling and played cricket with myself for two months. I am thankful though that my family landed in Mumbai in ’47. Had they gone to say…Raipur, I would have been working in a call center right now and been grateful for the opportunity. On weekends I would probably be making TikTok videos or attending RSS rallies.


In our country, if you are already in Mumbai, the only bigger thing to aspire to is moving abroad. One could also aspire to move to town from the suburbs within Mumbai. But getting into Harvard is easier than moving to Colaba. I wonder if the real estate prices will remain as high after the city is permanently submerged 10 years from now. Yet we power on.

Most of us know we can’t do this all our lives. And if every TCS employee’s retirement plan came through, Goa would become an extended suburb of Mumbai. Thankfully, after the second baby and third mortgage, most people give up any hope for salvation.You keep postponing your prison break: after another promotion, after I buy a bigger house, after my kid goes to college…until mortality catches up with you. If you dwell on your regrets long enough you can convince yourself that they were sacrifices. It is tragic but at least it helps you live with yourself.

Romanticization of country life is also not without its pitfalls.  If you think the uncle selling Maggie by himself over a view of the Himalayas is the happiest person in the world then you have read one self-help book too many. If you have never left the country side you probably cannot appreciate the clean air and solitude. Which is why city dwellers are at a vantage point. Having seen the breadth of what modern civilization has to offer you can now seek depth. You would miss creature comforts for a while but eventually you realize that you do not need 54 varieties of waffles for life to be meaningful.

I spent years daydreaming of being a published author who would send his profoundly sexy books out into the world and the world would send enough dollars back to my dream home in Goa. I also spent some years trying to make this happen. But ultimately a profession has to be close to where the action is. So I have entered a new kind of rat race, a higher level of the Matrix. The cost is always too high though. Cities are oppressive at all levels. The ugliness of its structures, the ridiculous lack of space and the constant fight or flight. Very often, I have to remind myself to look up at the sky. Not much is visible now but it helps put your life’s struggle to scale. At one level we all know that neither our deepest sorrows nor our greatest joys are unique. But the competition does not let you dwell on it. It is like we are living under a dome of haze that cuts us off from the humbling experience of space and our place in it. Even within the dome we increasingly move from one air conditioned bubble to another not able to stand ambient temperature or ambient thoughts for more than a few minutes.

I have spent more than 90 days outside home this year across 20 different towns and cities for stand-up and personal work. And while the experiences have been varying and enriching, none was as unique as the few days I spent in Himachal, alone and without a plan. It reminded me that there is the quiet life to be lived too with nothing to fight for and nothing to prove. Away from clocks, deadlines and anxieties. When I came back down to 2019, I couldn’t perform with full gusto for the first couple of shows. I just didn’t have the aggression in me to impose my jokes and my thoughts on the audience. A lot of what we accomplish is only possible in the pressure cooker of the cities. But there are millions of people living the quiet life, without leaving a carbon footprint. They may not consider themselves successful but they are content. We just don’t hear about them because they are not on Instagram. On a geological timescale, they are the real heroes. We in our vain attempts at leaving a mark only end up hurting others and the environment. 

One can still practice art for art’s sake but any produced entertainment is essentially slave to the same economics and corruption that make perpetual growth a religion. Saying ‘no’ and ‘enough’ is therefore the most important thing to learn. Happiness is for uneducated people, contentment is a more wholesome goal.   


 – Punit Pania

Every Farewell Note Ever

In Motivation, Resignation, Retirement on January 18, 2016 at 04:45

Deer Phriends,

With a heavy heart and a light pocket, today I say <insert google searched French word for goodbye>

My time with Acme Chemicals has been fantabulous, like an orgasm every minute.

Thank you all for blah blah…

Life is a journey coz…who gives a f*ck about originality.

Keep in touch randomid@inevercheckthisshit.com and let’s connect on LinkedIn where I will suddenly become more active than a circus monkey high on crack.

Warm Regards,
Bud

 

Gone Fishing.png

Retired / Absconding / Dead

In HR, Interview, Office humor, Retirement on July 22, 2013 at 17:08

* Resigned / Transferred / Promoted / Retired / Absconding / Dead

There they are staring at you through a pivot table. The universe of choices available to you the employee. Precise, clear, mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive. But not very motivating.

Prisoner

Not that motivation was the intention anyway. You remind yourself that you have a tendency to look for motivation in all the wrong places. You need to concentrate on the task at hand. Classifying hundreds of exit interviews or lack thereof into neat non-threatening categories. It seemed at first an unenviable assignment. Your team is bent on churning out some graphs and hitting SEND. But you can’t help but read some of the responses out loud. Most are of the pedestrian ilk:

  • To pursue better avenues
  • Relocating
  • Mom is ill
  • Going for higher studies

But some are interesting, almost inspiring:

  • Going to Osho Ashram for a year to practice meditation
  • Starting a consultancy of my own, connect with me on…
  • Going back to look after father’s farm
  • Finally won a property dispute granting me 70 million!

Now we are talking!

‘Who is this guy?’

‘70-****-million?’

‘Maybe he can hire us now.’

‘Is he married?’

WinningTicket

And similar chatter indicates your team is alive. Who would have thought records of slavery would serve as interesting reading. Seemingly sterile in aggregation, but brimming in isolation. Brimming with sound and poetry. With stories and potential, sunshine and possibilities…if only we decide to.

Decisions are often rued and seldom taken. They are deferred, deterred and pondered over. They bring great power but also attract a great deal of gravity. They seem easier in hindsight and impossible in the here and now. Leaders make decisions, managers execute them and slaves follow.

Obama Chair

Seeing so many of them together is a rather disorientating experience. Especially as these are decisions taken by the average voter. Decisions to leave this galley and move on. Move on to greener pastures, slimmer work hours and fatter pay cheques or at least one of the above. Anywhere but here.

Dealing with decisions is daunting. You would rather have it imposed than go through the ordeal of deciding yourself. This has dual benefits. Less taxation for the brain and you get someone to blame later.

Rock_Paper_Scissors__Hitler

You may have found some motivation after all, albeit in traces. You change the morose classification:

* Resigned / Transferred / Promoted / Retired / Absconding / Dead

to a lighter one:

Quit / Assisted / Concluded

At least, it will force your descendants to dig deeper.

You still need to make those graphs though.

– J.

Sabbath-ical

In humor, Retirement, SlavesInc, work life balance on December 12, 2012 at 12:26

Fresh ground coffee, sunlight and a leisurely stillness. The closest you will ever get to these things is on a wallpaper. That and your day dreams, if you are still capable, of dreaming i.e. If you are not, we have a product for that (more on that later).

Day Dreaming 1

You get a glimpse on sleepy Sunday afternoon, at a long lunch break and over some particularly foul-tasting coffee. And it vanishes, with the next e-mail, the next ping and the next back ache.

You kill the thought in its infancy before it escapes your lips. You laugh it off yourself before others have a chance. But it persists. Like a faithful puppy. You try to explain to it that the world is a cruel place that does not have the patience to humor fluffy dreams. But it just barks back at you.

So you throw it a bone sometimes. You do the only thing that does not require intellectual or testicular fortitude. You Google it. And you find there is a website for that too: yoursabbatical.com

YourSabbatical.com

Tips and tricks, products and services, news and…research! It’s all here. It has an All-you-ever-wanted-to-know condescendence about it. It says that even in your most personal dreams, you are as ordinary as a consumer. And we have just the product for you!

Black Sabath Heaven and Hell

Every day that you procrastinate, more seemingly novel business ideas are being taken by those with a greater supply of kash, kismet and kahoonas, or a combination thereof. The economics of it all is staring you right in the face. Get rich soon or die trying.

50 Cent

The ancients believed dreams tell us what we need to know. Dreams of the modern man may not be more than a noxious mixture of last night’s TV shows and his last Happy Meal. But they can still provide mild entertainment. One thing is clear: We did not crawl out of trees to rot at a desk all day.

–          J.

These Four Walls

In Retirement, SlavesInc, work life balance on July 24, 2012 at 04:16

‘What can I say about Mr. Roy?’ was the HR lady’s unimaginative but honest start.

Toasts are hard, eulogies are harder. They are hard to deliver, perhaps even harder to sit through. Yet we indulge in them. We struggle and we hope to find meaning. The really good ones continue to be those that are rehearsed and on TV!

This one is turning out to be excruciating. Mr. Roy is standing there in a flannel blazer surprisingly with no elbow pads. He is flanked by two similarly grey men.

‘I have known Mr. Roy for over two decades. Back then, we were called Supreme Pvt Ltd. Then we got taken over by Axel Labs in the year 1995. In the year 200…

…People leave companies. In our case, companies leave us.’

That was a joke.

A couple of forgettable recollections later, it is now Mr. Roy’s turn to try to utter something befitting the occasion.

He looks like a man not used to wearing a suit and not used to being the center of attention. He seems ready but awkward. He is sad but smiling, hesitant but resigned.

‘I joined this company in June of 1980. We used to sell brass polish back then. SS bras polish we used to call it…sold lots of those. Many of you were probably not even born back then. I have done pretty much everything there is to do here. It’s…it’s been good. This is a good company. My son is going to graduate next year…You spend so much time here, here in office, I barely noticed him growing up. I…I have spent my whole life here, 5 to 6 days a week, for my family. And you have become my family, of sorts. I…don’t know what I will do next, I have my pension, you know…’

The man behind Mr. R tugged at his arm, stopping him mid-sentence. A hushed conversation followed. Roy glanced towards the crowd smiling as if to reassure.

‘Thank…thank you.’ he finally said and walked out.

Later you see him clearing out his desk, talking assuredly with his replacement. He takes down the poster in his cubicle that says:

‘Never

ever

ever

ever

ever

give up!’

A true SlavesInc. moment.

You look up at your own poster, the one you have in your cube. It says:

‘I once had a dream that my world was bigger than these four walls’.


– J.