Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Mo Cuishle..

So I was watching Million Dollar Baby on TV today. I like the movie (Can't resist many Eastwood movies), and this one isn't much different. However, this time I wasn't watching it for the movie, but for what it reminded me of!

I was talking to a friend today, when my school life came up. I am quite passionate about my boarding school days, and it shows when the topic gets breached. We invariably started talking about my school days, how we had to change uniforms as much as six (!) times a day (we used to have a different kit for everything we did - one to go for a jog in the morning, two to get into to go to classes, three for afternoon's leisure time, four for sports time in the evening, five after taking shower while going back to studies, and six for after hours). More on boarding school in next - this one is for something else. 

Getting back to watching MDB, I got glued to the movie because it reminded of the days when I used to box (yes, I did!). I could very well use imagery to go back to times when our weight was measured not in kgs or pounds, but Pinweight, Flyweight or Bantamweight. Like any boxer, before every bout I had to encounter fight or flight syndrome. Since "No" was never an option (that's military school for you!), the twelve year old kid would jump into the ring (of course, the competitor is also of the same stature/weight) and would get the first lesson of multitasking (that we managers boast so much of, today). One would use all relaxing techniques told by the coach (progressive muscular relaxation technique is one I remember my coach telling me time and again, which I could never practice).

Along with these techniques, while in the ring, one would try to think of all the good things that have happened to him ever, to keep his poise while he beats the **** out of the competitor, gets slammed with punches every now & then, stumbles while trying to figure where the ends are, and faintly keep an ear for the bell depicting end of the round.

The bruises, the blood, the sweat, panting, losing breath, almost fainting, cheering all around - nothing mattered. What mattered was winning! Please be blue, please be blue, at the end of it.

Frankly, I wasn't so glad when I had to enter the ring then. I am now, that I did enter in then.

The chills, the thrill - as I look back, I see that they were breathtaking. One of those moments that take your breath away! Miss those days. Miss the tough life that one led everyday. Miss living one day at a time - when every day was a battle, and one never knew when's the end of the war!   

I can still hear the referee saying, 
With a split decision, well played Red, Blue is the winner!

Saturday, March 31, 2012


I realized that the last post was amongst the first ones I have written that is purely driven by my professional life. Seems like last few weeks or months have had their toll.

Note to self - keep it in check! Separate professional and personal lives.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

For He's A Jolly Good Fellow

Day 35 - While it has been a quintessential week, 28th of March did bring about a new aspect of teams to the fore.

For starters, I have been involved with a project for last few months, that has been close to me in ways more than one. Not that the project is huge – it is a typical project. But what differentiates this project is the timeline in which this project was to be completed.

In an industry where it takes a deal closure to take months, land acquisition takes another half a year and execution takes another half, talks of any project that takes less than a year from conceptualization to commissioning would have been a laughing stock a few months back. Recent advancements in technology and processes have shrunk this end-to-end time frame to 8-10 months.

However, when our Chairman called me one fine day in Dec and told me that an opportunity could come up where the timeframe available would be less than 3 months, it was yet another super ambitious opportunity I was looking at, just like many others I had become accustomed to.

I am actually a die-hard optimist, and when I came to know that the deal could be real – I was excited as well as depressed! Depressed because I heard from every nook and corner that this project would not see the light of day; that it’s crazy to think of such unrealistic timeframes, what with the political and tactical complications in this particular deal. But at the same time, I was excited to the hilt. I was being given the opportunity to run with this from the beginning to the end; This was to stretch oneself beyond imagination. It was like a dream one can see when wide awake.

What this involved wasn’t really my cup of tea. I have not really been a field guy. I am not a marathon guy, nor am I good at sprints. This deal needed someone to sprint a marathon, 100 metres at a time, and the next 100, and the next, and the next.   

Any which ways, I ended up running the first 100, and the next, and the next, and cutting long story short, finally ran the final dash a week back.

It has been an unbelievable journey, these last 3 months, and there are so many stories to be told. However, this post has already digressed enough from the intended objective, so here it goes back.

Day 35 - While it has been a quintessential week, 28th of March did bring about a new aspect of teams to the fore.

I arrived at J in the morning for some finishing formalities for the project, and was supposed to leave back for Delhi the same evening. However, during my usual site visit where I meet with all team members who’ve been at site for last few months and take the status check, I came to know that it was birthday of one of the team members.   

He looked happy (of course, it was his birthday, and he was still not 30!), yet disappointed (again, he was away from friends and family – so I could understand why). One look at him, and I knew I had to stay back in the evening. It’s not just about birthday of one out of a team of 15, but about the feeling of having those who care for you, close to you. And to add to it, about the feeling of having those close to you, care for you.

So we did bring about cakes and drinks and what not in the evening, spent the evening like no one from the team expected to, smudged his face with cake time and again, drenched him with drinks on various occasions, and did not bother if we were getting late for the late night movie, while all this was happening. I just wish he didn’t miss his friends doing the same to him this year, and he would remember this one for the times to come.  

The day ended with a smiling birthday boy face, and the satisfaction was no less than I would have on my own birthday. And I did realize that teams gel together, eat together, work together, stay together all the time, but at an additional level, teams have to connect together. After all, it is about moments we gather from wherever we are, whoever we are with, at whatever point in time.

I met the guy again today, and he was as jolly as I have ever seen him. For He's A Jolly Good Fellow....

And no, it is not day 35 at a stretch – thankfully it is spread between Jan/Feb/Mar of this year.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Of weddings and parenthood

It's not even end of the month yet, and there's already so much that has happened in this one - one, in which I would expect the least to happen logically (even with the leap year, I would expect to work lesser # of days in Feb)! In fact, I don't even need to go as far as the whole month - last week in itself has been a roller-coaster.

What with starting it with Swap's wedding on 18th, then Mom Dad's anniversary, getting a lovely nephew next day and a cute niece on the next! And this doesn't seem to come to an end - have another friend expecting in this week, and two more in next month!

And as if this much overwhelming was not enough for the week - got to know that another friend is getting married, and another friend couple is also expecting (I still need to decide here whether I will be a "Mama" or a "Chacha"!  :O

While I was at A's place early this week in Allahabad with my niece, or yesterday at B's place holding my nephew, I could see the twinkle in the eyes of A and B (both first time fathers), and could see that they have arrived! Nothing can be more precious that the feeling that they are having - notwithstanding the fact that they won't sleep for years to come, and will have diapers to change every second hour. :)

I shall get to see them in their free time in what, another few years? :P