Friday, July 24, 2009

Private Notes: Returning From India

I am now through with what has been an extremely demanding visit - to India - during which I got caught inside general strikes, a sudden flu, some very unpleasant business transactions, and yet, going back with a fair amount of hope and optimism. This visit was an eye-opener, unusually quiet in a sense, allowing me more than average time to reflect on what I am planning to do, and what I wish to do. I also got the feeling that with age, some amount of maturity, shall we say realism, is also seeping into my character, and where none existed before, this is indeed a welcome change.

Last two years have been quite an experience in my life. Never before I was expected to rely on my own personal abilities so much. It was the nearest thing to entrepreneurial existence I ever got to, in terms of brinksmanship, though not in terms of freedom. My abilities, along with the commitment to remain ethical, fair and open was constantly tested, and the highest amount of personal sacrifice was constantly demanded. Looking back, I almost have a melancholy feeling , while I may have fared well on some of those intangible aspects, I have indeed come up short on the hard ones. I have made some, well, several mistakes, mostly in the personal sphere, where the despair pushed me over the edge and I lost my usual sense of balance and tried to live a life very unlike myself.

All that comes back to me now. This going back is unlike any other. This is one when I bid audieu to whatever I have done so far - the centre is sold and the apartment tenancy is up and the people I worked with for last two years have already been retrenched or reassigned. Sentimentality is not one of the characteristics I value most, but at times like this, as I wait for the cab to take me to airport at midnight, I feel the alienation so central to our existence, a period of my life stolen, gone, without a trace.

I am not one to start thinking what could have been different. That's not my natural style. I am more of a what is different type of a person. So, I saw today's long walk at the end of work today as the one which will not be reversed, rewalked. Today's goodbyes were one for life. I have been here once before - when I left Calcutta, disillussioned, for good at the wake of the dotcom crash - and certainly know the feeling. Like that time, I feel open and ready for a change, a deep change, a going beyond the usual cycle of life as I know it and initiation of something which I long waited for.

Having been brought up as a Hindu, this thought comes naturally to me: Every end is a beginning. A beautifully simple thought that every event in this world has a purpose, sometimes obvious and some times hidden, and even if I don't know it yet, this journey must end somewhere. It is important to keep faith, complete the journey - do the job without thinking about the outcome - and in the end, the rationale will reveal itself.

As it does now, ironically, for my quixotic attempt to spread English language training in India. I may have become an enriched person, with a deeper understanding of the modern money mechanics, and an aversion to those entrepreneurs who pursue money alone in a business, but the whole effort has hardly even scratched the surface. I must leave this now to whoever comes next, an unfortunate mess though I have cleaned up quite a bit in the end, but that's life.

So, I go. It is almost the Browning's hero who thought the God will repay. But I won't wait for God, because I know He is still a long walk away.

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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

Last Words

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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