The Palimpsest of Sawbones Surio

Pessimism of the Intellect, Optimism of the Will

Ja gut, but what’s it all about then?

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This is a real-life incident. Dramatised for effect. Some minor characters have been exorcised to keep the situation crisp. The scenario has also been modified to remove further resemblance to the original setting. All characters are real-life stereotypes that many of us can emphatise with. We will introduce the (major) characters in turn.

1: Ex-PSU dude in late 50s, now in second lease of career in private sector (PSU50)
2: Been there done that dude, mid-40s, really been there done that! (BTDT45)
3: Dude on a roll, in late-30s, you know the type when you see one (DoR35)
4: Dude in 30s, still coming to terms with his future (DD30)

Scene 1: (Four colleagues of a blue-chip organisation are waiting for the lift outside of their offices. PA system in the foyer is belting out yet another Kenny G tune to the annoyance of everyone and for the benefit of no-one).


DoR35: We were taking interviews today. It was a hoot, I tell you. The answers some of them gave for the question “Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?”! Classic and priceless.

PSU50: Yes. I know, that is always the highlight of the interviews.

BTDT45: Some of them do have a sense of purpose, though. Not all, but some do.

DoR35: Well, come to think of it, you are right. Some of them do.

BTDT45: And that’s what separates the “Men from the Boys” (words to that effect)

DoR35: Is that so? Then let’s ask ourselves that question, shall we? (Directly addressing PSU50 now) Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time then?

PSU50: (Completely startled. Hadn’t anticipated the turn of events). Well, ….er….ummmm…. well, I suppose I will be still around here doing what I will be doing then, I suppose. That depends on the company, if they want to give me an extension? (presumably alluding to his crossing of retirement by then)

DoR35: Oh! Still here, Eh? (wry smile. Smirk almost. Now addressing DD30 directly). You then! What about you? Any bright sparks? (DoR35 and DD30 are good friends, so the tone was almost teasing)

DD30: You know the happenings of my life. You should know better (Frowns at him for putting him in a spot.) than that. I don’t see major changes in my life in the next 5 years. (It puts DD30 in a spot)

(DoR35 laughs heartily at DD30’s expense and slaps him on the back. PSU50 looks relieved. After all, Misery loves company, right? BTDT45 shoots a quick, symphatetic glance at DD30 that clearly says, “I’ve been there, done that one too, my boy” and clears his throat subtly to break the discomfiture of DD30)

DoR35: (Now facing BTDT45) Ah, well. What about you then?

BTDT45: (Speaking deliberately, avoiding any inflection in tone) I should be retired for I will be financially independent before that time.

DoR35: (Chimes in just as BTDT45 completes) Oh Wow! WoW!. Me too. I am working on that myself. I won’t be free by five, but I WILL be for sure before 10 years are up.

(Ding! Lift arrives on floor. Doors open wide. All of them pile in before the doors close again. The lift has mirrors mounted on opposite wall so all of them could see everyone else’s face.

1: DoR35 – The smirk on the face is now really pronounced.
2: BTDT45 – Still impassive facially. A naturally tall person, but now walks a little taller than a minute before.
3: PSU50 – Looks visibly crumpled. Looks like a house 4-storeyed house fell on him just then.
4: DD30 – Has the look of a person who’s just been pole-axed by a metallic telegraph pole.
Support cast: also entering lift – all share the same look of a person undergoing acute indigestion. [Assumption: They all eavesdropped on the chat])


That discussion above left a lasting impression on Yours Truly. Especially, the looks on PSU50 and DD30 has been indelibly carved into my mind hence (I don’t call it Palimpsest for nothing, you know ;-)). And the motivation of this blog is to chronicle the improvements in planning, thinking and execution in the time that has past since those words “financially independent” were heard and truly understood.

So, gentle reader, that’s what it is all about.


Written by Surio

- at ....

Posted in Musings, Personal

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