Inspiration, LIfe, Social Agenda, Travel

Of stereotypes and other delusions

This is a picture I took last year when we were visiting our parents and took a little detour to a town called Jodhpur.

I have lived in India for 35 years before moving to Australia in 2000. I love travelling, so have voraciously gone after several experiences in Australia, India and luckily, during my work travel to Europe, New Zealand, Taiwan….

I consider myself reasonably culturally sensitive having moved a fair bit, growing up in India and of course, settling in Australia and working at a fairly senior level with executive teams.

Yet, this cheeky woman on the right had me. She was hanging out in the shade with her partner and on my approach, asked me if I can find her a “good man”.

I chatted. Explaining my view of the world and how I came to marry my husband, who was a friend… blah blah. Until she burst out laughing and said, “I have a husband. I love him. We have been married for xx years”

There are lessons to be learnt in every moment. If we can listen. Truly listen. Then we can see the world as it is. Without our own filters, beliefs or assumptions.jodhpur4

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Inspiration, LIfe, Social Agenda, Travel

The Caterpillar & the Butterfly

it is getting dull

So does anybody here know how many times the caterpillar hangs upside down waiting to turn into a butterfly?

It was 16 years ago that my then boss’s boss gave me this book “Hope for the Flowers” when I told him that I am going away to Australia. He also thought I should get my head checked. Why would I leave a career in HR with Larsen & Toubro Limited to go to a foreign land where Indians were not respected?

Or something similar. Maybe not exactly that. It is true though, that it was unlikely that any Australian hirer would recognise XLRI or L&T. Someone did. And some other.

It is a bit irrelevant though. Because this, really is the story of my life. How many times have I hung upside down, waiting to become the butterfly.

First, though, I must acknowledge what prompted me to leave my glass of wine to come here and write.

I am reading “The Adversity Advantage” and I stopped when I read ” I’ve always had a restless voice inside me, which seemed to speak loudest when my life felt a bit stagnant”

Chapter 1: Growing up, my mum said I must study. “why can’t you come first” she laments. “If you study, you will”. And I retort, “why mum? is it so you can talk about it in your kitty parties?” “no” was my answer. I did study more than I cared to. Only because I thought it is important to get into where I want to, so I can do what I want to. I got the marks I needed in Year 10 ( Mount Carmel, Ahmedabad) to get into the best High School, St.Xavier’s High School. And then enough there to get into the best Commerce College in Ahmedabad. Though of course, I could have gone to New Delhi perhaps. And then, it was not about marks any more. Well, of course you needed to be close enough to a Distinction. Mainly though, it was about a test of your Math & Logical abilities….. ngbbs4c14b82adb40c

Chapter 2: Working: The first job. I hated it. It was my first interview on campus at XLRI and I took it. Oberoi Hotels. We were a bunch of 6 MBAs and were training with the Hotel Management Grads. So learning to make Moussaka, chop chicken “properly” handle the front office, know all the wines in all the regions of the world. Three months in, I knew it was wrong. So I quit. Especially after within the first month at the Head Office, the VP HR expected that I “escort” the HR folks visiting us from our Egypt Office to shopping Delhi. Hmmm. And I was “told” to be “more appropriate” when we dined with Mr. Oberoi.

OK.

Chapter 3: That first “campus” recruitment lasted four months and I found myself in Baroda. Where my sweetheart was. The one who was a friend and became a sweetheart 8 years on. No one knew what XLRI was. So from being coveted by multi-nationals, I went a beggin for a job! I landed and quit about 6 different jobs in about 2 years. I quit again when we were expecting our first baby. And a year or so later landed a job with IPCL, a large petrochemicals business in India. 5 years there and then, thankfully, there was an opening with Larsen & Toubro who was setting up in Vadodara at the time. Those 10 years were fabulous experience, where I was very lucky to be inspired by a few brilliant leaders. Until I got restless again. What am I missing?

Chapter 4: Australia. My boy was 10 & girl 6. We decided to pack a bag and move. If we got a job that recognised our experience & qualifications, we would stay. If not, go back. That was in 2000. 13 years later. I was starting to get bored. I am most proud of engaging senior leaders and securing their commitment to investing in their own development and creating enduring processes that create the environment for people to do their best work. What am I missing out on though by coming in and out of work everyday? What about travelling? What about doing something different? Every time I went to India, there was a tug. I feel disturbed about the fact that some women don’t get to have a shower in private. That people are displaced from their homes in villages and don’t get a decent quality of life when they migrate into cities for work. I quit work. That was 2013.

Chapter 5: 2016 Feb. Here I am. What happened in the last two years? Can’t quite account for it except to say that there hasn’t been a single day that I got bored. I cannot say either exactly what I have achieved? I had no goals. No plans. I have woken up each morning and done what my heart desires. I have studied. Read books. Written a few blogs. Or not. I fell into making soaps. And learnt how to do Facebook 🙂 I learnt marketing. And whilst I was doing that, I kept nursing my desire to bring EI education into schools. To make sure every woman has a private place to shower. And late last year, I decided I also want to keep consulting in the area of my expertise.

Because in the end, I am a catalyst. I thrive on change. I absolutely, utterly love any chance to make a difference. However small. Hence why, perhaps for me, turning upside down, slowing down, waiting for what’s to emerge is best. No ambition needed.

Except, I absolutely want to do the Masters in Science Coaching Psychology. I wonder where that might take me 🙂

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LIfe, Natural, Travel

Hangin’ Out

  
We are in Queenstown. The four of us – being lazy. Annoying each other and just hanging out. 

 Each of us is so different. We like eating different food. Like doing different things. Even our taste in music is different. 

And then, we still find a way to gather. 

Bike riding across 5 bridges from the picturesque Arrowtown in sweltering heat. And not being able to walk without groaning next day 🙂

  Walking around the beautiful paths. Talking. Eating. Sharing stories. Being quiet. Playing with our phones.    

   
And that will be a Christmas I will remember. And hold in my heart. 

Xx

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Inspiration, Travel

Soaring red cliffs and mysterious blue ocean

This was my fantasy… spend days in the wild wild Kimberley … shatteringly beautiful sunsets, remote stretches of road, boab trees, husband, blue ocean, a lighthouse manager’s home…

So many of our friends warned us it will be hotter than we think, and was it!

No one told us about the Bungle Bungles … close enough to the Tanami desert for the temperature to fall to zero ahem…

Fancy going to bed in jeans, sixty five layers of clothing and a beanie?

And then waking up to a beautiful crisp morning where you could only wear a singlet and shorts to gear up to walk into the red domes….and then, layer up again, sit by the fire talk to strangers about your kids as though you had known them for decades…the stories were so the same… 

The farmer and his wife, the couple from Switzerland, another from Victoria… 

The endless dirt roads and the miraculously sturdy tyres that survived the rough gravel…where time stood still and we came back to our lives a bit like zombies…ImageImageImage

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