In response to e-mail alert to a few friends on my piece – FAQ: What do I do the whole day? – asking if they or their retired friends have had to face this question Dr Bhamy V Shenoy cited examples of several senior citizens who spent a full and fruitful life after retirement in social initiatives. Dr Shenoy, who leads a very public life as convenor of Mysore Grahakara Parishat, has several other facets that are not, perhaps, so widely known – that of an energy consultant to a former Soviet republic, a freelance feature writer, a Pratham activist, promoter of an educational institution in his native village, and social activist with conviction that the educated middle-class should embrace politics, to make it clean, caste-free and socially relevant.
Says Dr Shenoy in response to my alert mail: " How can we change the mindset of people, making them realise that retired people, especially in India, can do far more to fulfill their social responsibilities after retirement? Look at Mysore, supposedly a "heaven" for retired people. There are hundreds of them for whom society has done so much during their working years. Can't they spare some time to give back something to society? I was once surprised to find we had among Mysore residents a retired director of an IIT. He was led a reclusive life. There are many retired vice chancellors among our residents . Can they not take initiative in educating our slum and government school children. Look at this ' young man' Dr. Parpia, his relentless work to improve education for the poor. He may well be as busy now as he was while working for CFTRI.
We have a BARC scientist, Dr. Krishnan, searching for schools that will accept his services (free) to teach children basic science. He is coaching failed SSLC and PUC students, to enable them to reappear in examinations.
We have an 82 year principal of B.Ed school going to a Pratham school to teach first graders.
Mr. Madhavan's late mother-in-law used to coach children till she was 100 years old.
No doubt these are exceptions. But why cannot we make this the rule for our retured folk? When someone enjoys what he or she is doing, it does not become a job. All the examples I gave, are of those who were/are having a nice time doing their stint in society, after retirement."