Retirement

A usual day in the office it was
the room humming with indistinct chatter
office boys roaming here and there
with hands full of files and paper.
He adjusted the lever of the typewriter
as he set out to draft a letter;
the keys demanded more pressure than ever
from his wrinkled and frail fingers.

A man in a dark suit came to his desk,
spoke a few lines, which ended with
“You are a valuable asset to us, Raymond,
but your service is no longer required.”
And with a firm handshake,
he handed him something
wrapped in paper –
a bright, coloured paper.

He wasn’t perplexed,
he sensed this coming some day,
from the gossips he sometimes overheard.
He mastered the typewriter thirty years back,
but now there were young lads
who sat in front of a screen, and typed.
They didn’t compute anything there
and he wondered why they called it a computer.
They said the typewriter was obsolete
They said words like template, graphics, layout,
most of which made no sense to him.
He was swift with his typewriter,
and faster than all of them
He could carry it and work anywhere
unlike them, with that wired thing.

He stood up to pack his things
His disheveled gray hair felt the cool air
from the air conditioner that replaced the fan
He looked at the gift wrapped in coloured paper
which replaced the gifts wrapped in newspaper
He wondered if he was any “valuable asset”
for that seemed a blatant lie
like a poor father said how spicy it was
when his son asked for a sandwich at the fair.

But it was time to leave now,
He had to unwillingly retire;
nobody would employ an old horse, he knew.
He looked at the typewriter for one last time,
took the first step away,
and contemplated,
whoever said “old is gold”
got it all wrong.


© Barnadhya Rwitam

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