Between working hard and hardly working

Published: 13th November 2013 06:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 13th November 2013 01:47 AM   |  A+A-

Exploring the joys of doing nothing or the “sweetness of doing nothing”, as the Italians would have it, is an art not easily grasped by many. Looking at the restive band of senior citizens who find it pretty hard to embrace the sweet and uncomplicated way of life once they are thrown into the quiet pool of retirement, one wonders whether their well-earned period of rest and leisure is spent more in brooding nostalgically rather than relishing the niceties in life.

There was this old man, well past his sixties, who piously used to visit his office every morning even after retirement. Travelling all the way from a distant suburb of Chennai, he would arrive with a bag and greet his old colleagues. Moving diffidently along the corridor, he would survey the section where he had once reigned supreme as its superintendent. There would be moments when his face would smirk in obvious displeasure or light up on familiar sights. And there are quite a few of his ilk doing the rounds, unable to tune themselves to an unfettered schedule and redirect their outlook towards warmer zones in life, more radiant with peace and comfort.

Blame it on our work culture or our inherent mental disquiet, one witnesses a strange mix of people in the workplaces of our organised sectors. On the one hand is a band of nostalgic old men, suffering from retirement blues and parading the corridors of their erstwhile workplaces, craving for more action. There is on the other hand the teeming tribe, well within the ambit of active life, whose members constantly keep themselves busy doing nothing or the same things over and over again — some with a sense of resignation and others in anticipation of miraculous results.

If there are many who work hard, there are some who hardly work. There are a few early birds who keep fluttering till late in the evening in the midst of many who arrive late, but invariably make up for it by leaving early in the evening. The misplaced quests for action and inaction are nowhere on better display than in our workstations.

To knock at new doors in anticipation of refreshing action is a prerogative that life offers to the young and the old alike. If some of the senior citizens may have to read from the book of life that is replete with the success stories of those who have reinvented themselves in their twilight years to give a happy ending to their lives, the procrastinating breed in the prime of its life should take a plunge into the sweet pool of action so that when the time comes to look back on their lives, they have ample reasons to smile. Exploring the joys of doing nothing could surprisingly lead to more meaningful action.


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