Oh the risk averse… is this the idea that has pulled you out of the comforts of fancy suits, loyalty points, a good salary and of course a ‘comfortable settled life’??
No idea can ever be big till it is made one. By the way how big is big enough?
Oh the consultant…Is there a purpose? What are you chasing now?
I want to empower organisations through technology. I want to build great teams and products that the world will sit up to take notice. And when I do that I don’t want to say I knew it all the way or I changed the world. I just want to say I have left the space better than when I started with it.
So lets evolve as Darwin wanted us to or believed that we would. To new beginnings and another interesting journey
Picture a box that helps you evolve ::: http://www.darwinbox.in
I was woken up to a slight murmur in the next room. The house was not big enough for one to be completely ‘private’. But these were familiar murmurs which start very early in the day. There is no curiosity. There is no need to check what is happening. It is the same murmurs I hear every morning – starting at 4am much before the conventional early risers try to put on their jogging shoes. It goes on for 4 hours
He always has a cold water bath at that hour. It is not a rule but just a habit. Whatever the season he had the same rules – Get up at 4, cold water bath, tie around the towel and start his conversations with The Divine. He never claimed that he can talk to God but I just believe he did. Otherwise it would be difficult to do the same thing for more than half a century and call it prayer.
By the time I am up and drag myself to get ready, I watch him swiftly walk to the corner of our compound. He stops by to look at the rising sun on the way. His clenched fist contains sugar that he uses to feed the ant hill in that corner. He doesn’t spend much time there to relish the ‘good deed’. It is not benevolence but just a habit
He spends half of the day in the front room reading the newspaper. The other half includes journaling his day with mind boggling detail. His diaries are archives to our collective family history reaching beyond the 2nd cousins. If you have an argument about a date, there is no better place to look. Journaling is being recommended as a ‘productivity tool’ or a way to tell your story but for him it was just a habit.
His wife for over half a century has this constant need for novelty. But she still enjoys every bit of supporting the habitual. They have a lot of age gap. He amusingly speaks of an instant in their childhood where he baby sat her. For them marriage was a social institution which works perfectly well because it is meant to. Love was not an outcome, it was just a habit.
He has studied in a Urdu medium school. Survived the crossfires in the Razakar movement. Faced the brunt of naxalism. Observed how layers and layers of interpretation to mythology and religion were built over the years. Sometimes when he is in the ‘zone’, he can bluntly refute the most widely accepted ‘truth’s with utmost authority with a pinch of logic. For him knowledge was in practicals, never in theory. He believed no one should go back hungry from his house – and no one ever did.
It is even tougher to figure if discipline is a habit or habit is a discipline. All his life he never ate in a restaurant as it would be unhygienic. Prefers food prepared on the same day. Meals are in the same place at the same time everyday. There is always a reason behind every action – logical/illogical/abstract it is there.
The habit was not about comfort zone or familiarity. Because when his son built a house, he was ready to move from his habitual home in a jiffy.
Most of his habits remained status quo even when in hospital including seeing his near and dear ones as regularly as he always wanted. Except for his grandson when it was time for him to say goodbye.
4 years, a lifetime since. Still very vivid. The memory.
Another year. Another year end post. This time, unlike umpteen other times, I know what I am writing about.
Sachin retires and gets a Bharat Ratna. Kejriwal forms a party with an anti corruption agenda and becomes Delhi CM within a year. India sends a mission to the Mars. India wins the world cup (oh wait..that was 2 years back). 15 years back all these would have been macro-fillers for some work of futuristic fiction. But these are really happening today. And still life goes on.
Work has continued to be interesting ( something I am really surprised about! ). Enjoyed working with great teams and managed to make some really good friends in my teams and clients alike. I hardly had anytime on the ‘beach'( Mckinsey’s equivalent of bench).
Staying on the ‘beach’ front this year I traveled to two of the most beautiful beach locations in the world. And the good part is that they are in Asia ( read cheap and easy access! ). While Phuket ranks high on the touristiness given the myriad of purposes people get there for, Bali has its own Hindu cultural charm to compliment the Godly beaches
Phuket happened as a part of the office offsite. Brilliant beaches and the luxury of office parties. Recipe for a mad mad 4 days!!
Bali also happened this year. Spent most time at Gili ( A small island off Bali mainland). It is a MUST DO destination for everyone. Clear waters, beautiful beaches, friendly people, awesome weather, amazing company – it was just the break ( or way above my expectations from the break) I was looking for at that point. And what better time than between two projects!! Another must do in Bali is the Ramayana show at Uluwatu. Unique in every way, it is set on a cliff during the sunset time with the sound of the waves forming the background score. The visuals and the sounds make it the most interesting narration of the Ramayana scenes that I have ever seen!
Living alone in a rented apartment happened this year. And what better place to start it off than MUMBAI🙂 The city has place for no one and everyone. The city brings out the best in you and then drains you. Call it the Bollywood brainwashing or plain romanticism of an optimist, I have had so many amazing ‘feel good moments’ in Mumbai – The grand view from the express towers office, the poshness of PVR gold class, ice cream at bachelors, sitaphal shake at Haji Ali juice centre, the breezy walks across marine drive, cheering our lungs out for Sachin at Wankhede, the comfort of Udupi restaurants at Sion, introduction to Missal Pavs, Maska Pavs, Pav Bhajis, sticking head out of the taxi to enjoy the breeze on sea link, weekend visits to Palladium, the post dinner spicy hot chocolate at San Churros, gourmetness at sunday brunches, the artsy crowd at the plays at NCPA, getting roasted at Comedy Store….the list can go on and on. I would have said also said the Mumbai rains with Iktara playing on the earphones but I HATE THE MUMBAI RAINS – There are traffic jams on the road, Tata Sky doesn’t work, clothes don’t dry, kaam wali bai has an excuse for leave and your new formal shoes get screwed. If you find any of it romantic, I need to meet you!
Seen a friend go through an inspiring journey of being through some really tough times with respect to physical health and bouncing back to being normal within the year. It was a true show of character when she had to overcome a strong feeling of mistrust on fate and helplessness. Keep wondering if I did my bit in the whole process or is it ever enough in such situations!
‘Coffee day’, ‘Morning Coffee’ have new meanings at our home now. Coffee is the name of our new pet. He is a dachshund pup. Attention seeking and super affectionate, he is a true breed :)
The marriage wagon has started rolling. Lots of really really close friends have said ” I do” in the most family safe way possible. Anil and Ajay, guys with who I have seen section fights phase, the ‘we hate girls’ phase and ‘do you have the latest MJ or Avril Lavigne album’ phase have tied the knot ( or rather 3 knots ) this year. And only then it sank in!
One last mention. Probably the best to happen to me this year
What does living life kingsize mean??
Is it the major paychecks buying you a small house in cuff parade? Is it the long limousine pick up which gets stuck in traffic jams. Or is it being an insomniac like the King Khan or being obsessed with the skin color like the king of pop? I agree size does matter <evil laugh> but what is this ‘king’ business?
As usual I ask my dear friend Google who has helped reduce half the world’s arguments on who has the right facts. I think Google gave the world not just great products but a way of life which is more informed and less ego driven. But that’s a Google Fanboy acting like a Sachin fan. Back to what I started with – so what is a King or rather who is a king?
noun \ a male monarch of a major territorial unit ; especially : one whose position is hereditary and who rules for life. one that holds a preeminent position; especially : a chief among competitors
So that’s what the English dictionary says. I am sure half the Calcuttans have internalized this by now as it is a definition from their forefathers. So would Rahul Gandhi be called a King? I am sure he fits in to the complete definition. Atleast for the Gandhi family/ Congress chamchas. So is it limited to the definition or is there more to it? The King Manu who we owe our lineage to says “By performing his duty as protector and punisher, the king flourishes”
And this is where I start deviating and disagreeing. The story writers of the past have so slyly put this fellow called the king on a moral high ground making him accountable for things he didn’t sign up for. Sounds a bit like a consultant’s work but lets not get there! So the accountability part is something slyly inserted into the definition by giving examples like Rama who in his own right never had the chance to chill thanks to the enormous amount of pressure on him. He is/became a God nevertheless. So it worked out fine for him in the end. But why does the king have to be born with the responsibility? Why can’t prince charles have drunken brawls? I am sure that would get him more youtube views than his wedding.
I really looked hard for a King and there was one king who was inspirational. I didn’t experience the aura of the king till I came close to him a few months back. Watching him from about 3-4 metres distance was one of the coolest moments of my lifetime. As he yawned, rolled and stretched the queen got him his afternoon lunch. And there was respect in the air. Respect not earned but just commanded. Was so cool to look at him not feel guilty about not protecting his kingdon from random backpack wielding irreverant paparazzi. He finds his own in his space. And the space is Nirvana. The place I am talking of is Masai Mara in Kenya where I was up close and not so personal with the lion. He really defines kingship for me. Because his life in true sense is big by every definition and should qualify for KINGSIZE
Learning to breath from an oxygen cylinder at 15 m depth in the Indian ocean, enjoying a hot plate of maggi at a height of 5602 m in the himalayas, watching the king of the jungle yawn and stretch from a ‘safe’ distance of 2 m in the Savannahs ….the list could go. As with the planet in 2012, the list also has to go on.
There was surreal bliss in having Turkish Coffee with some locals while discussing politics in the old city of Antalya with Meditteranean sea and snow capped mountains on one side and live music and bonfire on the other. The most breathtaking landscapes just presented themselves when we set out to see what all the fuss about Ladakh and its beauty is. And then we had to make more fuss about it as it was all that and more.
Took IIM Lucknow graduation photo in black robe and with parents. My dad already framed it! VIT had yellow robes and Vellore was not enough excursion to invite parents for convocation.
Africa became workplace. Olus, Wales, Bayos became household names and now a click follows every handshake. Easily an experience of a lifetime and what more can I ask from a new employer. Not to forget the experience of walking around with a bodyguard with a real gun!
Staying on the topic, its the year when I joined the consulting bandwagon. I have been enjoying the ride so far but this is a ride in which the terrain always keeps changing and you better not have travel sickness.
Flew business class, earned miles( and got obsessed for a while with them), stayed in posh hotels, made last minute flight bookings, complained about bad service – All the cool things of suit waale job – Check. And still ‘miles’ to go before I sleep as some smart ass said and a million others used in their SOPs
Easily the year for ‘self’. I have spent more time on ‘vacation’ than ‘productivity’. (Lets not get into the definition of productivity) Enjoyed the calm of home after the madness of BSchools and cherished the memories of travels to the most beautiful places in the whole wide world. And also wrote about it. If you have the patience – https://readro.wordpress.com/2012/08/13/an-unforeseen-sabbatical-a-six-month-long-vacation/
When I got my passport in 2005 I thought before it expires I should make sure all the pages are stamped. I have few aspirations and resolutions. This was one of those few. There are 2 pages left.
So many times I keep thinking how small changes in choices would have changed the present so drastically. But in the end the only that matters to me is that those are MY choices and there is no regret in any . I have learnt more from mistakes and failures than from success so I cannot complain. And this year has been no exception. I have made strong choices and will stick by them! Unless the glue dries up.
What else happened this year?? I guess I started thinking better in excel sheets and PPTs. There is so much in my head and sounds very different from what I have written. Looks like a situation where I am just writing for the sake of it. If you are still reading, accept my apologies.
Hope you guys listened to and spoke to your’self’ in 2012. Wish you all great learnings in the new year. Spread some joy🙂
Random finishing Line – Its good to earn miles, because there are miles to go even after you get up!
Long time back when a friend saw my pic taken in a handicraft store he said it has a Moroccan feel to it. And I thought “Moroccan” was an adjective… Circa 2004
My first trip back from Lucknow to Hyderabad, friends called and said they are going partying at a pub called Marrakech and I asked them if it was a south Indian tiffins restaurant… Circa 2010
No wonder I was a poor geography student but I am slowly making up for it thanks to my job which sent me to Lagos. For all this who belong to my side of the normal curve in geography – Lagos is the biggest city of Nigeria.
Morocco was my first real weekend getaway in Africa. The long visa forms and la magnifique articles on the place did get me all excited about travelling there. At the outset the whole trip was a Turkish Deja Vu. To simply put it is the Turkey of Africa. The two languages spoken there – French and Arabic are enough to add an exotic background to the travails in that nation. There are very few things that really did stand out in Morocco
The national youth pastime of Morocco is eve teasing. For a nation with such strong cultural heritage, I would have guessed they would have atleast learned to respect their women better. Half the country travels on Lunas and I guess they just stop it with their legs when they see a young girl walking alone on the street. We also did get to hear our very own ‘ Jadoooo teri nazar’ from one of the guys. Yes Bollywood and ShahRukh are big here too.
The staple food of the place is Tajini and CousCous( Sounds like the language they use in the movie – Joker. yes I had to see that too in Lagos). You will also a lot of roadside stalls selling boiled snails. Was not a pleasant sight to see people pulling snails out of their shells to eat.
The exoticism comes from the Souks, the story tellers and snake charmers. The Jama El Fnaa square is ever buzzing with people. Not too much of a novelty to Indians but the Europeans do put their cameras to a lot of use there. Bargaining is like a cultural experience. Unless you leave and he calls you back to give you at a rate without a smile be sure to have gotten a raw deal.
Of all the countries I have visited, I have found the least English speaking people here. Unless you are asking a pretty Moroccan girl for help its quite painful to find your way. The pretty Moroccan girl just makes it less painful but equally difficult. The Riads that are converted into hotels are an experience. We stayed in one such place. Though they do get scary in the night they are very different from the regular run of the mill hotels.
It was my first trip with my Mckinsey colleagues. I thought I was not much of a romticiser of places until I traveled with them. Travelling is better experienced with the right brain I guess. A learning🙂 Abhi’s disbelief of Moroccan currency being stronger than rupee and Dhruv’s quest for getting the right ‘frame’ were the added attractions on the trip.
The last evening in Casablanca was atleast left just to romanticise the Rick’s cafe in the Casablanca movie ( I watched it after I came back from the trip. Pretty good btw) And the Hassan 2 mosque by the Atlantic was quite a wonder even while it was raining.
Random finishing line – When in front of a mirror dont ask it who is the fairest of them all, just ask which is the best mirror of you all. Its a more useful question.
That’s what they say for everything.. Its the universal acceptable thank you/sorry here. Here is Lagos, Nigeria.🙂
Early days in consulting but long strides in the ‘consultant experience’ – A mail on 2nd day telling me that I am flying to Nigeria next week, Business Class on emirates, Car pick ups anywhere and everywhere, excel sheets, interviews, market visits, frequent flier points and Blackberry. All that I imagined packaged into my first study. So by the end of this I should know whether I belong here or not🙂
But consulting is hardly about any of the above. There is a lot that’s happening here. The enormity of the clients, the nature of work and the size of impact. But there is a confidentiality which limits my expression🙂
Now for the ‘you are welcome’ part. This is my first time in Africa barring a few hours of transit time in Egypt when I ticked off seeing the Giza pyramids. Lot of apprehensions about working here. Everyone was having their share of the fun telling me about their friend’s friend who had a not so friendly experience in Africa( this is how horror stories are spread btw) My mom almost started panicking as usual and there were some friends who were genuinely excited for me.
My first impressions about Nigeria are as disorganised as the places I have seen. But I guess to be here long enough to belong to write about it. For now I am having a tough time just trying to pronounce names of my client team members. I already found an Indian restaurant. Yes! we are here also🙂 Everyone speaks English but it will take a while for me to understand their accent. Traffic jams are long enough to take a half day leave. Firm handshakes are taken to a level where I had to put my hand in hot water for a while to forget the pain. Fashion is bright colors and the most intricate hair styles for women. “Most’ people are really friendly. They introduce you as the ‘white man’😛 I was wondering if I should be happy or sad about it
You are welcome if the post was too random. You are welcome for reading it patiently. You are welcome to Nigeria!😀