Dada retired yesterday. He had been in the office for 33 years. 33 years of his life, amazing. Dada is what we called him. Dada means big brother in Marathi. I don’t know what the retirement age of my company is because I haven’t seen so many farewell parties. Our being a software company, the number of people staying in the company for a long time is small. Somebody retiring because they have reached the permissible age of work is still less. Dada had not studied that much. I never knew how much had he studied and I never cared to ask him. The only thing that mattered was he knew his work like the back of his hands.
We work in the infrastructure department. Dada use to handle all the magnetic media for our department and he did it with an iron hand. Numerous times we have experienced his angry lashing. He didn’t want any media lying around. All CDs have to go in cases. All floppies have to go in floppy boxes and everytime a new CD was written it has to be properly labeled and entered in the database.
It was not only us but people who would come to take software CDs who have experienced his wrath. Nobody and I mean nobody could get the better of him. He would sit in the IT room and answered queries from the small window in the room.
When I joined the company almost 5 years ago, he was a kind of terror with a little bit of warmth. I was new and didn’t know much. But he still did complain about me to the manager. I am glad I didn’t take it to the heart. As the months went by, I knew him more. After few years we became friends inspite of the age.
We have a very high-tension job. There is a lot of swearing going on. I don’t justify it but it is the way we work. We use swearing to lessen the tension and the stress that is the bag and parcel of my job. And Dada was not far behind in terms of swearing. As the years passed by me, Amit, Vaibhav and Sandeep became his trusted lieutenants. It may be also because we had worked the maximum with him. Dada had worked many years in the same chair, in the same room and in the same department and did the same work day-in and day-out. But after so many years too, he did it with the same dedication.
Few years back, personal tragedy in the form of his wife death took his toll. He became a little grumpy but was still his fire-breathing self. Then for months, he was sick having high blood pressure and heart problems. The health problems can only be traced to his drinking and his love for chicken, meat and fish.
Before I came to Amsterdam, I wanted to meet him. By the time I was supposed to come back, he would have retired. I went to his room but he was not there. Finally I got him on the cell-phone. I was one of his favorites who always listened to him and always listen to his instruction. He wished me luck, laughed a little and said goodbye.
Yesterday, I got a friend from my colleague telling me he had retired. Our department gave him a farewell party. A gold ring and a shirt were presented to him. That was really nice thing to do. I really should thank my friends and colleague. Dada’s retirement was an end of an era. The way he use to handle all the media and his work. The way he use to scold us. The way he use to laugh with us.
Today I called him up in India. He was on his way to my colleague’s marriage. He seemed pretty happy by my call. He has cut down on his meat intakes and completely stopped drinking. He planned to have a very happy, contented retired life. He was overwhelmed as many of my old colleagues had called him.
Today I like to wish my old friend who was young at heart.
Happy Retired life and all the best for the future, Dada.