- Lady: We have some splendid pension schemes available in our bank, would you like to hear about some of them, ma’am? This could really change your life post retirement.
- Me: Give me a break, I am just 27, I have to go a long way till my retirement.
- Lady: No Ma’am, you have to start thinking about it right away, do you realize what it would be like when you reach that age?
- Me: It is okay, let me think about it.
These are the days of marketing mantras and tantras. Many a times, you feel amazed at the opening lines that these sales people come up with to get your attention. Liars, all of them!
But this particular call reminded me of something, ‘How would you like to spend your retirement life?’, a colleague of mine once asked me. True, the prospect of how to spend your retirement life does baffle one, but most of us are too lazy to think that far and in any case, what is the fun in thinking about a life that is obviously going to be far too different from your youth. In the most ideal situation I would want a peaceful life when I would be able to spend my time as I wish. Spirituality is a great option. By spirituality, I mean, detaching yourself from the pettiness of the world and finding solace in life. It absolutely doesn't mean escaping from your duties and resigning to a Himalayan hilltop to do meditation (which is quite a tempting option, by the way).
I still vividly remember the Haridwar trip that I had with my family when I was in my teens. I loved the ambience, the atmosphere, the tinge of orange in almost everything around you - right from the sadhu’s dress to the flowers that go into the Ganga as part of the pooja every day and for as far as your eyes could reach and the dip in the chilling waters of the Ganga (supposedly for Salvation and to wash-off your past bad deeds in the holy waters of the Ganga so you could start a fresh life from then on). The pooja happening on the banks of the Ganga every day, the 'Mansa Devi' and the 'Vaishnov Devi' temples and the cable car journey to reach the hill-top temples, the cycle-rikshaw ride to the banks of the ganga - all these images repeat in my mind in quick succession. It was a wonderful experience; that place was the very epitome of peace, solace and spirituality. I would surely love to embark on such spiritual trips in the future. Everybody, at least once in their lives should go to one of these spiritual places to know what real 'peace and happiness' means. The Himalayas, the Gangothri, the Yamunothri (the places where the rivers the Ganga and the Yamuna originates respectively) are all an abode of calmness that could humble and amaze you in many ways.
I also think there are tons and tons of books out there waiting to be read. To tell you the truth, reading is the soul exercise that keeps me happy. Apart from these, I would also love travelling and seeing places. But with the current life style, I am not sure if my physical stamina would let me travel by the time I reach an age of 60 (I am not just talking about my own lifestyle, but that of the entire society). Average life span keeps on decreasing in the current scenario. In this respect, I would consider myself privileged if I could live to see the world till the age of 60 (in good health, of course). And all this reminds me, oh yes, I have to start saving up for my retirement. After all, whether it's Gangothri or Yamunothri, just the travelling and living expenses, say, 30 years from now, would be enough to strip you off your last penny and who wants to be deserted in the Himalayas with no money to spend.
I picked up the phone and dialled the last number, strongly hoping that the lady is still interested in me. I would even apologize for my rudeness, if I have to.