Few days back…I was spring cleaning my old drawers. No surprises, the bottommost shelf was the most neglected one ...since the last 4 years never touched, never cleaned . I sat down on the chataai…and started pulling things out one by one. The first ones waiting there - were all my CAT MAT SNAP practice sheets and MBA books. It took me back to the days of life - when every moment was about “competing” and getting that 99 percentile and cracking the CAT. Today these sheets were being eaten by the small red cockroaches …I went back to those days of life when Life depended on clearing an competitive examination …I smiled and started making a pile of papers which will today reduce the burden of my cupboards by a few kilos.
The next ones were the numerous companies profiles I used to print in my 4th MBA Sem for the campus placements …It Read ..Microsoft , HCL, Infosys, RBS , Satyam…I went back in memory of the days of my campus placements …The days which were about clearing a GD and a PI, where every morning at my college canteen started by asking people on the breakfast table – “Placement Hua Kya” ? “Kitna CTC?” I went back to those days of life when Life depended on clearing an interview of a Brand which would put a price tag on me …I smiled and added the papers to the pile , 900 grams added !
Then came my 3 years appraisals sheets…A…B…A…B… I saw the column between the GOAL Description and Appraisers Comment. The column was about “Appraisee” which I used to fill– I read amused at my “convincing” skill…”I have been instrumental in achieving targets, Employee Grievenaces Handled… I completed my Six Sigma Poject and the project report will be ready by end of month”…I went back to those days of Life ...when life depended on the Bell Curves of my company … I smiled and added the papers to the pile , 775 grams added !
After around 3 hours of retrospection, I got up....my knees sore, I collected all the papers and put them in a bag , opened the door and left it outside the entrance for it to be cleared next day morning. As I sat back and had tea – a thought crossed my mind . I grew up always wanting to be academically brilliant, I achieved a 9.46 CGPA at MBA, I cracked campus interviews and my bosses always liked my work. I was the person who saw Madhur Bhandarkars movie “Corporate” and fell in love with the plush glass cabins n top floors of high rise offices in Mumbai. My aspiration managed to kept me on the first two slots of a Bell Curve wherever I worked. I wondered how and why did I give all that up ….. and I started observing every passing thought …. Over the next few days …I started writing down …
The next morning was my flight to Bangalore for business. As I stood in my torn jeans and osho chappals for check in – Two very “corporate” grey haired gentlemen stood next to me…reading the “Economic Times”. Stern look on face with golden rimmed spectacles, black blazers and white shirt covering the expanding belly . They discussed the Economic Policies of Arvind Kejriwal and with 291 MBA jargons concluded that Kejriwal does not have economic sense. Then they started talking about their company (I am refraining from quoting names here). I was getting entertained now…I think they were HODs of a revenue centre in their organization. The talk started with Bottom Lines, Utilization, Core Competencies, SLAs and Sustainable Revenue Growth through Strategy Implementation (PHEW!). The winter morning made things even more entertaining …. The flight got delayed by 3 hours …Now these two men started frowning. The depth in the stressed out lines of their forehead deepened. They argued with the ground staff about their “Annual Review Meet” and started throwing their weight around . They used 4 complex words , said how they HAVE TO BE ON TIME but lastly sat down like all others drinking coffee on the benches before Departure Gate no 3 A. They spoke for next 3 hours about bottom lines of the company , where they were employed …they spoke about “business” and the strategies. I smiled, took my small white towel , removed my spectacles covered my face , smiled and dozed off . I understood 34 percent of my decision…I never wanted a life – where I knew all the Complicated Jargons from SLA to Maslows Theories but all this was for someone else’s organization. Never wanted a life where someone else decides where and when I have to reach . I love Botton Lines, and I love Revenues too – and all I know is it just requires one simple word – GUTS to do it for myself. This word for me replaces all other jargons.
It was a few days later , where I got the opportunity to be with myself and enjoy a good quite lunch at the “Café Bean Garu, Powai”. It was a lovely afternoon and became special with A steaming bowl of sambhar and steamed rice. As I sat on the wooden chair and table , three suited ladies came next to me and sat . I assumed this would be their lunch break. They sat and started taking about the famous “bell curve”. I guess the appraisals were just around the corner. I assumed they are all from my ex fraternity of “HR” J. The discussed the Band As…The Band Bs…the disagreements and the dissatisfied ,Band Ds and Es…They cribbed about how many stories they have to make and somehow convince the Band D that he is a loser …lol..and the next year he can be Band A…From Band to Band…The “Band” was lyrical and I went back to my old days…I took up a tissue paper and calculated…
10 hours everyday *5 days a week*50 weeks minimum a year*40 years of corporate life = 1 LAKH Hours !!!! One Lakh Hours of perception management , of diplomacy, of gossiping, of justifications, of wanting promotions, of waiting for appraisals. I smiled …finished my sambhar and paid the bill. As I walked backhome…I realized the rest 47 percent of my decision.
I was still 19 percent away from reaching a conclusion. I realized I never had issues with anything as such as I performed everywhere and enjoyed the corporate life too. Infact when everyone used to crib on a canteen table …I only used to smile because I knew what I was building in the background. I never even related to the bitching about the bosses ….in fact I feel I have always been blessed with the best friends, best collegues, best teachers , best bosses and super bosses in life and I love them all whether they understood or did not understand my decisions, whether there are hush hush talks in those high rise cabins about me or not. But I understood to live differently I need to travel an unknown territory. And I am happy to have had made my choices.
The past one year has been a life changer…Not only Life has changed – the way I Live has changed. From a time bound schedule to enjoying the 11 am nap. From coming home at 10 pm to dancing in middle of a highway with buddies at 2 am (the pic is about that BTW..lol). From managing perceptions to laughing about perceptions being made. From bell curves to a life of abundance. From complicated presentations to speaking my heart out. From a world of judging everyone to a world of understanding judgments. From a world of being “mature” to letting my hair down and being a kid again. From a world of fear to a world of confrontations. From 10 hours of Strategic Meetings on Monday to 15 mins of sensible introspection. From a world of doubting everyone to a world of love.
For the 19 percent of my decision ….I looked back at my cupboard …It looked cleaner, lighter, brighter and happier. I smiled and understood.