You can check out the first part of my mini autobiography here.
There is so much that’s happened in the last two years, I really don’t know where to start. Someone once told me you get what you ask for. Strangely as I was preparing to write this I was reminded about an essay I had written in my ninth standard title ‘If god granted you three wishes what would you wish for and why?’ In the essay I had written that my first wish would be to ask god to grant me opportunities, my second wish would be to ask god to grant me the power to overcome obstacles and my third wish would be to ask god to grant me ability to share my happiness and my sorrows with people around me. The past two years has been just about this. It’s been a journey where I have offloaded some of the prized baggages that my past had gifted me, some of which I was really proud of. At every point of this journey I have been associated with people who have shown me a mirror. What I saw was that all the barriers in this planet were right here within me. I am not going to go in a chronological order but, rather speak about two events which have changed my life forever.
Career takes a dramatic turn
September 2010. It was promotion time at Accenture. Promotions and ratings were being announced. The world economy had just come out of a recession and the organization didn’t let their employees down. Promotions were distributed to even the people who lobbied half heartedly for it. There were celebrations all around, everyone congratulating each other, speculating on the kind of hikes they would get. Nobody bothered to even ask me about my rating or promotion, everybody was pretty sure I would have got promoted anyway. But one of my teammate did ask me and I said – ‘I got a ‘C’. There isn’t going be any hike for me this year.’ C rating in other words meant I was rated in the bottom 5% – an underperformer. Everybody was surprised, some even shocked. However I wasn’t. I had done a pretty shoddy job and I deserved it. Ever since I have wanted to write my book and take writing as a full time career, I pretty much started hating my job. Dad had retired a while back and I just couldn’t think of quitting. The frustration in me just wouldn’t let me give even 10% to my work. I frankly gave a damn. I knew that less than a year from then I would be off to the US doing my MBA. During that time, I went in for a three days self improvement training program. On the first day I met this lady who was a house wife with a small kid and desperately wanted to start of a career. The course went on and on the third day, she tells me, ‘I was just trying to run away from my responsibilities as a mother and a wife. My family means everything to me and I need them as much as they need me. However, I will still start my career along with all this. I am not sure what, but I know I will.’ The confidence in her voice told me she’s gonna do it. I saw a sense of freedom on her face that I was desperate for. I realized that moment how much I was trying to run away from my job and my responsibilities using my aspiration to be a writer as a garb. At that moment I also realized in spite of all my shoddy performance Pavan, my team lead had entrusted me with leadership responsibilities and all I was doing was making a mess of the opportunity. I called up my team lead, that very minute and confessed how irresponsible I have been. I told him, ‘I am going my MBA next year sometime in August. But before I go, I want to be trained as a leader and I want you to mentor me.’ I also told him that I am never going to let him down again. In response he only said that he would only be glad to mentor me. That moment I felt a deep sense of freedom. Since then every day at work has been nothing short of fun for me. I took on initiatives, did more work in a day than I would do in a week. This actually resulted in me getting promoted the next year with a pretty good rating. But in the whole process, I didn’t forget my passion for writing and music and started working on my book. In fact I never went ahead with MBA plans because I realized that’s not what I wanted at all. I wanted to be a writer and MBA had nothing to do with it.
The one thing I realized in the whole episode was that it’s all a question of the way I perceived people, things and situations that made all the difference and the only way I could change my perception was when I could tell myself the truth about where I was being an idiot.
I love you Tavish
Well those were words I was able tell myself – finally. People close to me always knew as a nice, full of life, someone who very sweet to people. I was very proud of myself for being this way. But somewhere deep down, I hated this aspect about myself. I wouldn’t have even realized it if Vijay had not been brutally straight with me. As a part of a leadership training program I was required to give a presentation. I have been taking part in debates since I was kid, I am known to have a good command over English, I also believed I had the confidence to go deliver what I had to. I mean there was nothing that could possibly go wrong! Vijay was my coach and he stopped me right in the middle of it and told me straight on my face – ‘dude, you hate yourself and you hate yourself to the core. All this sweetness and niceness that you show, it’s nothing more than pretence.’ It took me by surprise. Before I could say anything he just said ‘Don’t tell me you don’t.’ there was a pause and he asked me very firmly ‘So what’s your issue with yourself?’ I took a moment to introspect and realized what he was saying was true. I just always felt I had messed it up in life – got into the wrong career, fell in love with the wrong person, went out of the way for people who gave a damn, upset with life for everything that went wrong while I was a kid, upset with the fact that everybody were well settled and were busy enjoying their lives while I was still struggling to find a direction. After I finished telling him all this, instead of soothing me he just said – ‘How the hell can you love yourself when there is so much of haltered within you?’ He gave me a moment to digest that and said – ‘Can you give up all your regrets and anger? Can you just be with making mistakes? Your life is perfect the way it is.’ That moment felt as if all the dark clouds in the sky vanished and I actually felt proud of coming this far. Today I had a good job, an amazing family, great friends, a house of my own. What the hell do I need to feel upset for? From a guy who felt he fell in love with wrong person I actually wanted to thank her for showing me what love felt like. From a guy who felt everybody else is now far ahead of him, I actually realized it was utter foolishness to compare my life with anybody else’s. I for the first time believed something Zeenat, a fellow blogger and close friend of mine had once said, ‘Your life is perfect the way it is.’ That day I could stand in front of the mirror and honestly tell myself – ‘I love you’. I am still the full of life guy I always was known to be but, just that now it is by choice and not pretence.
The past two years have showed me that this life is empty without the people who are a part of it. It’s we who characterize them as good and bad. But it’s only this perception of good and bad that stops us from accepting all that somebody may have to contribute to our lives. When I look within me, I am only a made up of what people around me have had to contribute. My mother showed me what it takes to be emotionally strong, my father showed me what it takes to live your life for others, my sister who came back from a life threatening accident to a girl who got to normal life within four months and shocked everyone everyone by giving a dance performance showed me what determination can do, my other twin sister showed me what being patient and caring meant, my best friends who have been there for me whenever I needed them and showed me that love in whatever form it is doesn’t come with a “conditions applied”
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