Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Some advice, or maybe not

Have you ever experienced that weird and painful period of time when you sit around in office with absolutely no work to do, feeling only a teeny weeny guilty about all the time in the world going straight down the bottomless pit? Have you ever spent such time, not scouting for work or pretending to look busy, but actually walking around randomly unfocussed, only to settle down to prepare copious hand over documents?

If you haven’t, perhaps this post will prepare you for such a time you may eventually face in your life time. If you have, you already know what I am going to talk about.

I have been meaning to write about this for a really, really long time now, but not exactly in the format it has ended up in. In fact, I wanted to make one of those fancy lists that B-school alumni are coming up with these days and title it to the tune of “Top 10 things you need to know about blah blah blah.” However, I realized I am too emotional to ever be a matter-of-fact ‘listy’ person. Oh heck, who am I kidding? I realized that I do not have even three, forget ten pieces of advice for you. So, let me just ramble on, as is my wont. 

I remember the first ever time I quit. My notice period was pretty cool, and I was all “ha-ha”ish, if you know what I mean. There was excitement about the new journey and some sense of genial well-meaning towards all and sundry. The world seemed to be shimmering brightly, with the heavens shining down upon me, while I wrapped myself in rosy dreams about a successful and flourishing career spread over the next few decades. I even wrote an all-happy blog post in sync with my mood. 

One of my worldly wise colleagues warned me then, “You will never feel this way again. Enjoy it while it lasts.” I argued with him, gave him one of those “I don’t believe you, old man, but will still humor you” smiles and walked off. Over the years, I have learnt to humbly acknowledge that there couldn’t have been truer advice.

After the first time, the excitement wanes down, the trepidation increases. And, the trepidation, while being largely centered on “Am I doing the right thing this time around?”, is not strictly restricted to that, what with lower level details like even PF transfers looming up large and incomprehensive. The youthful fervor of “looking forward to” is replaced by cautious, unavoidable and limited optimism, if only for the lack of another tangible emotion. The world looks a realistic, suspiciously murky place, with unknown demons lurking just around the corner. 

I think I am slowly getting into that exaggeration mode now. Perhaps, it is time to stop.

You will know your emotions, when you get to that bridge. You will know whether you should cross it or not, whether it is worth the effort or not. You will know how you should cross it, without burning it. You will know that some bridges cannot be saved, but you still tried to save them. Even if you do end up crossing the wrong bridge, the wrong way, you will learn from it. Nothing pays like first-hand experience. Nothing pays like learning from a mistake you make. And, you will learn to appreciate the experience, for, when all else fails, you would have the satisfaction that you at least learnt not to repeat the mistake. 

P.S. This post has been in the works for a long time now, and has nothing to do with any current or imminent changes in my life.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Business As Usual

I am stepping into an airport in almost eight months. This year has been miserable, without the weekly dose of fly backs, not to mention the frequent flyer miles. When I tell this to my ex colleagues, they laugh. They say, "Be careful what you wish for." 

Such good advice not withstanding, the feeling of getting into the airport seems exhilarating, till the time I squeeze myself into a mile long queue at the check in. The end of an excruciating wait is rewarded with an emergency exit seat (the lady at the counter cribs no one really understands the merits of the seat these days and that's why it is still available). The happiness helps me brace myself for the "tray" battle at the ladies' security check-in counter.

I have promised myself that I will observe the travellers, as it has been a long time since I did that. However, my enthusiasm dies as soon as I see the bunch. All of them are logged on to their laptops, peering busily into what seems to be Facebook. I give up on humanity as a whole and start fighting with my smartest phone to connect to Facebook and observe the world. Alas! Today is one of the days when the 3G doesn't connect, barring me from using "Check-in" to inform an uninterested network about where I am.

The flight is delayed, and that too after we board it. "Congestion in the Mumbai airport", "We are sixth in line" and other such familiar phrases waft through the microphone from the cockpit. Everyone groans. I sigh and get back to my Kindle, not before giving a long lecture to the new air-hostess on how she should learn to ask passengers sitting at the emergency exit to place their bags in the over head compartment. 

We land at an unearthly hour, definitely by Chennai standards. All of us rush to stand up, as if we are going home immediately, not giving an iota of thought to the long wait ahead at the baggage.

The Friday finally feels like 'Business As Usual'.