Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Substance

I don't think I can write about what I am thinking in one sitting. It will take several sessions and revisions. I am recording my thoughts because I may lose this clarity in a few days.

The thought started taking shape in the last few weeks, when I was forced by circumstances to evaluate my contribution and to estimate the loss.

  • What holds things together is an intent. Sometimes its just one person's intent. It takes a huge amount of intent and effort to build something of value.
  • The substance of excellence is not tangible.
  • When intent towards excellence (is there another word for it) dies, things seemingly carry on as they were.
  • When people are not aware or sensitive to it, it is not even missed.  The changes are slow and imperceptible except to a very few.
  • Life, and certainly business, can exist without it, but something is lost, and that makes the whole difference.
Will work on it later.

My Chance to Take

It occured to me yesterday that I am so lucky to have this chance at this stage of my life. A chance to walk into a different world, create something new, contribute my knowledge and skills to those who need them, and get out and away from this mess I was living in.  It's my chance to do something of great value with the next 10 years of my life.

It's my chance to take.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

About me, in mummy's words!

Mom wrote this a month ago. I love it!
My daughter Puja
She has been living in Singapore for the past 11 years. I visit her about once a year from India. She is not comfortable when I ask her how much she paid for our meal in the restaurant etc. because I immediately convert the $ amount into Indian rupees. I thought it was quite natural for a person hailing from India to convert the price into rupees. To tell you the truth, for a few initial days, I can’t help it and keep doing it. The result is that I am never told the secret of the bill.
The other day Puja announced that we were going out for Aloka’s eye check up as she keeps getting these awful styes, one after the other. The clinic had a long list of patients waiting and we had about an hour before our turn. Puja decided to take a walk in the neighborhood. 

The weather was beautiful; imagine walking out at 11:30 am in Singapore? She noticed ‘Courts’ in the distance. So we walked into the store. It is a famous store and has huge outlets in every locality. Whenever I have been there, some or the other thing is on sale. I remember Puja had bought her flatron TV a couple of years back; Anu had bought the home theatre from the store when she came here. 

Aloka and I were looking at the TV shows on display and enjoying the water world. In the meanwhile Puja started browsing into the digital cameras. I also slowly drifted towards her and her objects of interest. I soon figured out that she wanted to buy a camera because her last one was not working now.
On the aside: When my camera started having problem, I drove for about 40 KM  in heavy traffic for over an hour to reach the canon service centre to get my camera repaired in Chandigarh. Here I am 100% sure Puja has thrown away her canon camera which had developed some snag because Aloka had messed up with that. 

This new camera she was looking at, had the latest applications and was on sale at a lucrative bargain like $600 slashed to $400. Can you believe that the next moment this was bought by my gorgeous crazy daughter, who had come out for her daughters eye check up and walking up a store for just window shopping? Amazing indeed! Compared to her, if I ever went shopping for a camera, I would have planned and calculated and decided the budget before I even ventured out. 
I admire her impromptu impulses. She did the same when we were trying wigs for the sake of just trying them out. She felt the shop woman was awfully sweet to let us try so it became obligatory that we buy one (for me). The other day we had gone to Thomson Plaza to do shopping for the weekly requirement of grocery. My dear daughter’s eyes alighted on some of the little frocks on display. Well in an instant she got a frock to fit her daughter and next I see her picking another ballerina skirt with yellow frills and buying the two in a split second. Here my mouth and eyes both were wide open marveling at the impulsiveness of my daughter. I wish I could have done that when I was her age.
Thanks to her, I have eaten in some of the fabulous places where I would not have ventured in my wildest dreams. Mind you, despite my experiences caused by her, I could not still do if I were on my own. May be, it is part of your habit.
So that is just some of Puja.
There is lot more.
Feb 3, 2011
First day of Chinese New Year

So Ready to Win!

Last Saturday, I met up with Theresa, Dorothea and some other soka friends and chanted for 3 hours in Jennifer's house. The three hours passed as if it were 20 minutes. I came out glowing from the inside. I am looking forward to this Saturday for another 3-hour session.

I am so ready for this revelation, for this confirmation. I am so ready to win!

Healthy or Sick?

It is a fact that healthy people are more scared of injections at a doctor's than sick people. One would expect that a patient who is already sick would dislike the additional pain, but they are actually indifferent to it. Why? It's to do with priorities and levels of pain, which makes sick people more tolerant of minor irritants like a poke here and there at the doctor's office.

For 10 years, I worked under less than ideal circumstances. That is putting it mildly. I worked with minimum resources, without any leadership or guidance, constantly at high risk to myself and people who depended on me, dealing with ad-hoc and unacceptable behaviour, fixing things that should never have been broken in the first place, taking responsibility for everything that went wrong, and busting my guts to make things better...and all this for no incentive other than a modest salary at the end of the month.

My pain tolerance all these years was very high because I had seen bad times in life and was dealing with bigger issues than these. I am inclined to believe that my current intolerance for poor personal and professional behavior is a sign of my healing. I think I am getting healthy finally! 

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A Special Nobody!

Emily Dickinson wrote some of the finest poetry I have ever read. My type of poetry. Short, from the heart, a great mix of seriousness and some surprising light heartedness.

This poem "I'm nobody" resonated with me a lot when I decided to let go of my attachment to my designation and role. I asked myself "What am I if not the CEO of Learning Solutions"? The answer Emily whispered in my ears was "You are a nobody, but a special one!"

I like being a special nobody. It's cool.

I'm nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody, too?
Then there's a pair of us — don't tell!
They'd banish us, you know.
How dreary to be somebody!
How public, like a frog
To tell your name the livelong day
To an admiring bog!

By Emily Dickinson

New Beginning

As my last day at KP approaches, I am feeling curiously excited. Strange for a single mother living in one of the most expensive cities in the world with no job in hand, isn't it?


I thought I had answered all possible questions about my marital history in the last 10 years and done pretty well.

Until the other day, someone I knew in school 26 years ago asked me on Facebook chat "Why are you not living with your husband? Didn't you have a love marriage?".

Not one to be shocked easily, I was for once completely at a loss for words. What to say in response to such a question? I simply logged off from FB.

Coward! :)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Two Angels Sat by me

Two angels sat by me
In my hour of pain
One held my hand in his solid hands
Calming me, sharing my burden
The other nestled in my arms
Warming me, making me forget

Two more angels sat by me
In my hour of loss
One listened to me like the universe does
Vast, doubtless
The other cradled me gently
Telling me I had nothing to fear

Four angels I have by my side
Each worth more than a hundred friendships lost
And a thousand trusts betrayed.

(Image created by Irene Wan, a talented friend and colleague)

I will fly

Might my wings be atrophied from disuse,
Might my arms unaccustomed to this labour,
Still, I will fly.

For years, what I nourished
Nourished me
What I sheltered
Sheltered me
What I fanned to glory
In turn kept my embers glowing

I'm done wondering
Which lasted longer, which finished first
The cycle is complete now
My work is done now

Might my heart be weary of adventure,
Might my mind too attached to the past,
Yet, I will fly.

Friday, March 4, 2011

The Luckiest Girl in the World! Girl refers to me!

Today as I walked to the condo bus stop, holding Aloka's hand and hearing her jabber away, I suddenly "felt" the expanse of what I have in life. Aloka is my daughter. I had no business having a daughter at my age and under my circumstances, but here she is, this darling little girl, telling me that she loves me. She is my daughter.

Countless women are childless, and here I am, mother of two amazing children. Could anyone be more fortunate than I?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The two times!

The first time I made the decision on Dec 1, it was an emotional outburst. The second time I made the same decision 3 months later, it was also based on an emotional outburst. But there was a huge difference.

The first time I came home angry and tormented, and couldn't stop talking angrily about it. I think I had a 3 hour call with Arun during which only I spoke. The second time, I came home light headed and couldn't stop laughing about the episode with Atta and mom.

It took me 3 months to figure out that the decision I made was the right one for me. That I don't have to justify anything to anyone. That my work is done. And that it was done well.

That's me, Puja, always complicated and complex. Nothing's ever simple in my life. No road straight. No decision painless.