Monday, January 04, 2010

Day 1: Slow Start!

I had a slow and late start of my 100 day project. I have this psychological rule that any day I get up late, I end up wasting. Today was one such day. The weather was sunny and bright, but very cold, easily below freezing, and I, despite warning myself many times that the holidays are over and setting up the alarm at my usual 5am time, felt too lazy to leave the comfort of the bed till about 7:30. And, that nailed it - this late start meant that I regretted it all day and did not do much.

I had a full diary, complete with urgent issues. There were emails to be sorted out, reports to be sent, customers to be contacted, contracts to be written. But, it was one of those days, when everything runs into a road block. A simple task like making my travel plans and tickets to India took me much longer than anticipated. Somehow, the Emirates system was slow, and my calls to the Skywards call centre repeatedly got lost. I finally managed it by calling the number meant to be called if I am calling from abroad - I guessed they would be more careful manning those calls and I was proved right. But, everything else was the same: the email servers were down, the credit card transaction for my tickets for internal flights for India caused trouble, had to spend hours trying to see how I can create a simple contract to get started, some monies which I was expecting will reach our account did not reach.

There were good things too, I must admit. I could stick to my planned diet, though my plans to run a couple of miles in the morning did not materialize because of my late start. I could connect up with a few important business contacts, and got the wind of the plans of others, not so useful contacts. I spent some time thinking about my Linkedin profile and made some changes, particularly changing the role descriptors of my previous employments bringing them in line with what I actually did, rather than what was writing on my visiting cards.

One big thing I got sorted out is my travel plans for rest of January. I decided to drop Poland off my itinerary, which now has to wait till the third week of February. I fly to Kolkata on 15th, reaching there the Saturday 16th. I spend the day mostly meeting business contacts, including a friend who has gone into movie production. Then, I am in Mumbai mid-day on Monday, and I shall stay put whole of next two weeks, with two possible excursions to Baroda and Pune. Baroda is more likely to be a day journey, and if my business commitments materialize in Pune, I shall try to spend the Republic Day with my sister and brother-in-law. I also intend to spend a day in Hyderabad if I could arrange a few client meetings, but I have kept an open date for that. I shall visit Delhi this time - from 1st to 3rd February - and hopefully, I shall be able to connect up to some very interesting people who I know virtually, but never met. I am back in Kolkata on 4th, mixing business and family commitments, and finally fly back to London on the 7th of February.

I have various engagements for next two weeks, including 8th, when I am supposed to put in my application for naturalization. I have now decided to apply for a British passport, for a variety of reasons. The first, of course, is, as Kasia put it, that it is not identity; it is just a piece of paper. Next is the convenience in travelling. I am so convinced that travelling would be a part of my life as long as I live, and given that I shall not need visit visas in many countries, getting a British passport is a no-brainer. I have also appreciated the freedom of expression that life in Britain offers, and I am not sure I can live without it. And, fourth, I have more or less ruled out my original ambition - that of being in politics - because I am such a flawed person, and democratic politics necessary demands a stepford husband sort of a 'correct' person. I know that the only way I can do my bit is by observing, commenting and writing, and I am better off getting as wide a perspective as possible.

I have now taken on myself the commitment to write two weekly pieces, one for the New Constructs initiative and the other for the Institute of Wellbeing, which offers counselling and therapy services for local people in South and East London. Despite my best intentions, I hardly could write anything, suffering from a sort of block when no ideas would come despite trying very hard. Or, more correctly, I could have written about a few things - the lost decade, the recent appeal by Archbishop of Canterbury to protect childhood, or the opening of Burj Khalifa [the tallest building in the world, named, in the very last minute, after the ruler of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Khalifa]. But it was difficult to get started, in line with the slow start, that seemed to be the theme of the day.

So, I can already see tomorrow's list becoming full. The contract I could not finish today, the expense statements that keep sitting there as a permanent resident on my to-do list, and reports and responses to emails long overdue. With snow predicted, I have cut down on my commitments outdoors. But one thing I sure need - an early start.

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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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And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.

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