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Saturday, June 5, 2010

Last Year, This Time

It was the same date last year. Recession had hit everyone in more ways than anyone can ever describe in one blog post. I was desperately trying to find another job before I was thrown out of my current one. Needless to say, I was not meeting any success and with every passing day, my options, and hopes, were diminishing. I had everything just a few weeks back. A well paying job, great friends, a comfortable flat that I had so enthusiastically set up and all of a sudden it came crashing down. It was not just a job loss. It was a phase which I never imagined would come in my life. I always thought I was too smart, well-connected and secure to feel any threat whatsoever from the recession. I used to tell everyone how one could still manage to survive and thrive in the industry if one were smart enough. And yet, there I was – begging anyone and everyone to arrange a interview call for me, attending any interview call that I could manage to get and praying, desperately, to the Gods I never believed in.  And yet things were not showing any signs of improvement.
 My parents had come over, as they usually used to do in the summers. By the time they arrived here, I was on a paid leave from my employers which basically meant that I had to wait until they asked me and half of the rest of organization, to formally resign and fend for themselves. It used to be a different scenario in earlier summers. We used to have a great time together as a family. I got to spend time with my parents the way I never could before I started earning. A boarding school upbringing though teaches you so much about life, it deprives you of those childhood memories that most kids grow up with of their families. So when my parents used to arrive, I used to spend a lot of time with them. Buy things for them, take them to various places and connect with them on a level which I never thought I could earlier. And the joy that you see in their eyes when they see you doing well in life. But this year was different.
This year, everyday, I used to wake up, check my mails hoping to see some positive news from anywhere, and then spend the rest of the day sitting, pretending as if nothing had happened. But we all knew too well what was happening. And what it was doing to all of us. Then the day came. It was a Friday. My father is an avid tabla player. And as this was a longer trip to Bangalore, he had carried his tabla with him. Everyday post lunch he used to play it for a couple of hours and for him, that Friday was no different. I got up, got dressed and reached my office where they had called us for a “meeting”. As expected, they told us that they were sorry that they could not do anything for us and asked us to formally resign. I resigned and came home. When I reached home, dad was playing the tabla. Looking at me, he asked me how the meeting went. I told him that I have resigned and sank into the sofa. He said “ok” and started playing again. I was shocked. I told him, “I have resigned and I don’t know what I’m going to do now.” He said, “Don’t worry. Everything will be alright”, and resumed the tabla.  I was not sure how to react to this whole situation. Two hours later, I got a call on my mobile. It was Chetan LS – then VP of HR, Aditi Technologies. He told that he came to know that I was looking for a job change and asked if I could join Aditi again. All I could say was “yes”. He said, “fine, let me roll out an offer for you, can you join us on Monday?” All I could say was “yes”. And then I looked at my dad, he was still playing the tabla, smiling.
It’s been a year from that incident. Things have changed a lot, and, thankfully, for the better. When I look back at this date exactly a year back, I realize that I grew so much as a person in those couple of hours. In those few hours, without saying anything, my dad taught me the importance of staying humble and positive, and the importance of staying calm in difficult situations. He taught me that irrespective of how tough the situation is, it always changes. What matters is how we handle the change. And how we hold our nerves while the transition is happening. And yes, how important it is to know how to play a musical instrument!
As I take another huge leap of faith in my life, I feel a strange calm surrounding me. I know that no matter what I come across in future, I will survive. And the music will play on!