Second innings or is it fourth ?

We are a cricket obsessed nation and we all know that a 5 days test match has four innings in all – two by each side. Like our scriptures and philosophy tell us about the four stages of life Brahmacharya (student), Grihastha (householder), Vanaprastha (forest walker/forest dweller), and Sannyasa (renunciate), we sometimes also draw inspiration from cricket. If you hear a farewell speech carefully, usually the people wish the retiring persons “ a very happy second innings,”

A very dear colleague of mine retired on the last day of September that’s day before yesterday and expectedly, everyone was wishing him a happy second inning. This made me to think that how come at such a late stage in life that’s upon attaining superannuation, one is to begin second innings? Was he playing so slowly that he ended up using the four days of the test match to complete the first innings?

This inspired me to write this blog to analyse the various stages of life in comparison with a cricket match. Actually, the childhood upto the school going age is the first innings that our parents and others close to us play. It’s mainly around receiving affection and adoration. It’s an inning in which we bowl and others bat.

Second innings is our student life during which we play the game for ourselves that is we bat – to acquire knowledge, skills, physique etc to make a standing for ourselves to secure a good comfortable future.

Third innings is our Grihasth ashram, when it’s all about family and meeting their requirements. Here again an individual is fielding running day and night to fulfil the material needs – a home, car, bank balance, kids etc.

Life post retirement from active job is in fact fourth innings, when one should play the match for himself. It’s the time to invest in one’s health and pursue the passions that got lost somewhere in our race for material excellence. As this person, whose retirement triggered this idea in my mind, said in his concluding remarks, “ I now want to pursue my passions. I want to learn about blackholes and am investing in buying an advanced telescope. There’s a Sitar lying at home that I bought for my son, but which never got played.” I think this is the essence of the fourth innings to pursue passions as diverse as sitar and astronomy. And if the fourth innings is played with so much joy and enthusiasm, the test match can never be lost irrespective of how well or badly the earlier innings unfolded for us!

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