Sunday, January 25, 2009

Day 9: Ready to Go

I spent the day - which was rainy and depressing - planning my trips and getting my bags packed, somewhat. This is a bit of an improvement, that I am thinking ahead about my travel plans and getting the bags ready. Usually, I always pack the bag last moment, often on the day of travel, and the travel plan remains up in the air.

It still is, indeed. Though I have now put this neatly on Excel and got at least one round of air tickets, my travel plans have so many dependencies that it can change any time. I am increasingly aware that I need to have greater visibility of my work plans, and days like this, I solely attempt to achieve that. But I do think that I have spread myself too thin - and the fault is all mine - and paying the price for that.

Steep price, I must add. My health is one. Besides, I, like other people, would love to stay home and know what I do tomorrow. Often, I don't. It feels like being up against the wall all the time. Once I am over with this current task, I shall possibly look back at these blog posts [and this is why I write] and think, with satisfaction, that I have completed another tough journey. But, of course, it is painful and confusing while it lasts.

No doubt, opportunities such as this let you learn, which you will not do otherwise. However, my problem is whether these learnings are any way connected to my life goals, and whether I shall be able to, after all these troubles, make anything good come out of it.

I keep talking about going back to India some day, but I must put a date and a plan for this. It is not going to be easy just to go back. I am acutely aware that the same doors, which are open to me today, will close down once I am back. I am also aware that mostly, people will relate to my going back with a lack of success, and I am sure it will hard to explain that this was always the original intent. Because such things do not happen.

I have got some offers to pursue when I go back to India, but sadly, none of these are attractive enough. I obviously do not want to go back in my life and start doing what I was doing before. I can possibly earn a bit of money, but that was never the objective. I am more or less clear in my mind that the next thing I do must lead to building of an institution - of some kind, a business or an organization - and I must be able to associate, and commit, long term to it. Yes, I am hoping that this will be the place I shall retire from, if I ever do.

Now, some people told me that such stability is not in my nature. But that is possibly wrong, my CV is not the correct guide of what's my nature. I actually loved building things, and I am generally long term in approach. I have left jobs only when the requirements of job ran against the grains of my character, and I have always left jobs well. I actually boast that I can almost go back to any company that I have worked for previously, possibly not entirely true or provable till I try, but this is possibly true for most part. In fact, I also realize that it may be true even for the companies where I did not do too well - I guess I can at least know one - but managed to have contributed in some way, even if that was outside my job description.

So, anyway, what do I want from here? Let's say - by March 31st - I need to set right the projects that we have in India. Actually, the project in India has always been a large undertaking, and most people involved in it did not know, or as in my case, did not want to acknowledge how big this project actually is. Interestingly, here, there is a divergence of opinion on what I think my role is, and what other people think my role is. Many people, in India and here, expect me to run the India operations. Now that is almost impossible sitting in Croydon, obviously. I must say that though I knew the sheer impossibility of such an enterprise, I have been swayed to think in those terms, taking upon myself the whole burden of creating a franchise network in India. This has actually created awful pressure on my schedule and commitments. One of my key goals is to set this right by March 31st and bring order to my life. I dont yet know how to do it, but I have now scheduled myself to be in India soon - in fact the whole of February - to sort this out.

And, beyond March 31st, I think it is most important for me to define my life goals and realign my work towards these. If I am supposed to go back, I should start now. If I am planning to stay, I need to define what for, and work towards it. And, the third, most exciting, possibility is that I close the chapter on UK and find work to live in the United States for a couple of years. This is one my heart is set on, as of this moment.

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"Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the grey twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat."

- Theodore Roosevelt

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We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.

- T S Eliot

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