Thursday, November 24, 2011

Mumbai Mumbles: This too shall pass...

A deep sigh - tiredness, satisfaction on the day on one side, concern about the near future - lot can be done, if everybody works together.   A day long, tired trip.  Out of his window on his return flight, he could see his bag being loaded into the plane's belly.   His mind switched to the recent events, a parade of flashback.

He had moved in to Mumbai alone - with lot of hopes and aspiration.   The company he worked for, was an established brand, large multinational conglomerate.   He did not have to spend time explaining his reason to meet customers anymore.   The customers he met were awed by his company's brand and size, but they felt that the engagement could be better.   Seasonal,  lacking commitment,  slow response - a littany of issues were thrown.    It always implied that ' you are big, but you are not there for us'.  

The last year had been challenging.   His family was in Chennai.  His wife was also working, and taking care of their kids.   Such a happy family, was going through testing times.   Every possible long weekend, every long holiday, he would fly to Chennai to see his kids.   They would be happy to meet them.   He longed to hear their cackling laughter and play with them.   He spoke to them everyday and to his wife.   'Just bear this, this too shall pass...'.  His wife would sigh, and enquire about the nitty-gritties of the daily life.

Mumbai was a tough market to work.   Too many things happened in too little a time.  One had to clearly prioritize in terms of which customer to go after, what deals to work, and who to meet.    This was an ocean, and his job as a business leader was in the spotlight.   His chairman and vice-presidents turned up every other week.   Too many deals happened in his client portfolio.  

Just six months back, when he landed in Mumbai, he was told that this is a green and mean business terrain.   Confidence and persistence, as always would be his allies.   But in the next few months, it was hard learning and hard work.   The team had to be built,  oriented and run.   Days after days disappeared.  Two quarters passed.   Reality sunk in.   The cycle of building a business and succeeding on a sustainable basis was tough. Tougher than he thought, indeed.

Every opening meeting will hold out promise and action.   The followup would fall apart.   The 'seasonal', 'slow' engagement still continued.   The dichotomy - whether the team showed naivete, passing time and lacked professionalism or whether it was his fault - was something he tried to fathom. 

The confusion had slowly seeped into his peace of life.    He always measured his success in terms of how well he would sleep every night.   Now that sleep was gone.   Everyday, thoughts around what he could do, how he could make the old magic work, crossed his mind.

He would try to immerse himself into his books, write a diary or a doodle on his blackberry.   The outflow of his feelings either in his blog or on facebook would be a great relief.  There he found some solace.   The books and blackberry.   Atleast, they kept him sane.  

Everyday, he would wake up with a thought of doing things but would lose track when he finished - his work was an ocean - still he was on a lifeboat thrown around by waves.  

It was going to be tough.    His life in Mumbai was going to be a sail in a tempest.    As always, as was in his yesteryears, he thought better days would be round the corner.

The PA crackled and the mechanical voice of the flight attendant admonished fellow passengers to wear the seat belt and pay heed to the safety demo.   He could now hear the whirl and swish of the engines beyond his window. 

His neighbouring seat was empty and he suddenly felt lonely.  Only his friends would be with him in his flight -the blackberry went off, and the book opened.   A hot sigh, and his mind said ' this too shall pass'.  

- The One

Pics Courtesy The One ( with consent of the subject of pic)


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