Personal

Lessons From A Workaholic Father


From the celebration to mark the 50th anniversary of my father's (seated third from left)  enrolment to the Madras Bar Association with the Chief Justice in attendance.
From the celebration to mark the 50th anniversary of my father’s (seated third from left) enrolment to the Madras Bar Association with the Chief Justice in attendance.

A personal story. My 78-year old dad works everyday, 7-days a week for at least 12 hours each day. And he has done so for the last half-a-century and more. That is because he does not consider what he does as ‘work’ in the sense of slaving for someone, spending your waking hours doing something you can scarcely like but are too scared to turn away from for fear of the unknown, suffering Monday morning blues, regretting missed opportunities and planning long, indulgent retirement years.

For Appa work is fun, challenging, exciting and exhilarating. He is a criminal lawyer who thrills in dodging the legal minefield on a daily basis. He can spend hours telling you about such-and-such case and such-and-such loop hole and he will expect you to keep up with all the nitty-gritties of the criminal matter he is grappling with (he would regularly stop to check that I am following and I nod gamely even if I have been lost for a while). Retirement is not an option he has ever considered. It is only ever for other people on fixed income and limited work lives. Plus, what would he retire from? From the buzz of attending courts, preparing his case, presenting his arguments, awaiting the judgements and appealing further, if need be? Not a chance.

As I was leaving for my weekly BNI meeting at six o’ clock this morning, my father who is visiting us called out ‘have fun!’. I stopped to tell him that I was out for work and not leisure to which he replied, ‘but work is fun, isn’t it? Go have fun!’. To him that is the only way to work and if you are not enjoying it, then there’s no point doing it. So blindingly simple, I cannot imagine how else work can be.

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