Saturday, December 29, 2007

The festivities have kept me from being active in this space. Now I am determined to get back and key in my thoughts at least once a week. Another activity I had fallen behind in, is my walk in the park. This morning I was determined to restart both the activities, for a starter I got to the park after breakfast and hit the walking track. I love walking and as I started on the park's walking track, I felt the usual excitement I experience on a walk. It starts with a peace that touches every part of my body and ends with an awesome personal delight. Most of the time I end the walk reluctantly due to time pressure. Personally for me the walk is not so much about burning the excess calories but it is an activity that I enjoy and reap instant benefits. I start slow and then pick up speed but I never loose sight of my surroundings. My walk, I suspect is most of the time an opportunity to admire nature and praise the Creator. At other times my walk is about switching on my 'Thinking Times' and I come away solving a problem that I have been wrestling with or end up with a bunch of new ideas. As I walk, my eyes feast on the birds, flowers and the greenery around the park, I like what I see and soon I end up rendering silent praises to the hand behind these beautiful creation. The walk is always very relaxing as the mind is completely occupied in admiration and adoration, and shuts out the regular pressures, worries, and fears that is generally fighting for residence. This morning towards the end of my walk as I started experiencing the awesome personal delight, a thought stuck me, if I enjoy the walk so much, what keeps me from doing this more often ? I did not get an immediate answer to satisfy me but the thinking cap was on and I continued to wrestle with the question and later as I relaxed after the walk, some answers came to me and I was ashamed! The walk involves some amount of effort. . . the first part is saying 'No' or delaying some other activities that is now and here. For instance reading the newspaper from the front page to the last word on the last page or jumping into your mail for an early start or even chatting with a friend on phone etc. All of these activities I can do without leaving my bedroom but walk means I need to get dressed, go down to the garage and drive out into the traffic for 4 to 6 minutes before I can get to the park. Often there are other 'easy' activities that will keep you busy the whole day and stop you from doing something that you enjoy so much and benefit from ! At the end of the day there is only regrets or guilt and you promise a better tomorrow, which may never come.So what is the way out ? I thought on this question too and I came away convinced that, prioritisation, discipline and consistency were needed to make some thing a way of life. I am now listing down what I want out of my days and then I will put a time plan to make all that happen. Yes, I want to walk everyday and it is on my list. Something has to go from my daily schedule to find walking time. The choices are to shave the time off the TV minutes or the net surfing. . . I will let you know where the time came from and how I am doing. How about you, do you want to do something that you enjoy but don't find time to do? Let us work on it together...

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Home Sweet Home

It is been more than a week since I posted the details of my weekend in
New York. On Monday evening I got on a flight out of JFK and arrived home in the wee hours of Wednesday. It is great to be home, sleep on my own bed and have my loved ones around me and never having to worry about where my next spicy meal is coming from ! The weather too is great after the freezing wet weekend I experienced in New York. It is good to be home and I rejoice at the privilege of having a home where I am loved and cared for, a home where everyone in the family is happy to to get back after a trip or at the end of a hard day's work. A home where every one loves each other and bond well. I believe a happy home is the outcome of our attitudes, beliefs and practices. We will only succeed in our goal of creating a happy home if we are ready to sacrifice our egos and selfish behaviours that is wrapped around 'I' 'Me' and 'Mine' rather than 'You', We, 'Us' etc.

A happy home may not be a must to succeed in life but a happy home sure accelerates your success and what good is success if we have no one (Folks who genuinely care for you and love you) to celebrate it with?

Happy homes are a Blessing and results from our unselfish motives and unconditional love. Tough to do but a great investment for your future and your children's future. I am very happy to have a happy home.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Weekend In New York

I packed and checked out of Hilton as soon as I finished my work on Friday morning. I had some deadlines to be met and so I spent the morning closing out all that. The logistics for my meetings scheduled for the day was daunting. I had to get to Somers office for a meeting at 12 Noon and then the next meeting was at White Plains 2 PM. After that I had to travel to New York to Issac and Susan's home for the weekend. With no one one to drive me around and no taxi to hail I asked the hotel to organise transport for me. Initially they were only successful to arrange for a drop to Somers but later we got the whole thing worked out. Just after my meeting in Somers at 1 PM, I got a message that the meetings in White plains was called off. The meeting was to be held in Crown Plaza Hotel. As the Limo had already come and I was to be picked up from Crown plaza by Issac after my meetings, I decided to go there. A 60 minute drive took me to Crown Plaza, White Plains. I walked in with my luggage very confidently and made myself comfortable in one corner of the lobby. I spent the next 3 hours there working on my laptop and when the battery ran out I sat back and caught up with my reading. For about 20 minutes I had company, some of my colleagues who were camping in Crown Plaza came back from work to get ready for a evening in Manhattan.

About 7 PM I breathed a sigh relief as we drove into Issac and Susan's drive way. Susan was at home and she busied herself to get us Tea and snacks. Later we went out for dinner to a Indian restaurant. Saturday was at the Mall, my contribution to the US economy. The highlight of the day was our Lunch at a Thai restaurant. I was bent on having some spicy food and I was confident that Thai eating houses won't let me down. We found it in Issac's GPS and set directions to get there . It was a cute little restaurant tucked away in one of the New York suburbs. The decor was authentic and the food even more authentic. It was not only spicy but delicious as well . I loved it! Issac and Susan went to the international mart brought fish and tapioca (Yuca) and cooked me another delicious meal for dinner. I did not want Susan to spend her weekend in the kitchen and so I had told them that we will eat out . She did not listen and she ended up cooking many meals at home for me. God Bless her!

Sunday I woke up to see the first snow fall of the season! I stood by the window looking at the snow flakes coming down. Soon a blanket of white covered every thing and I rejoiced at the whole experience . Although the snow kept falling and the roads were slippery we went to Church. Issac and Susan attends a AG church. There are two services in the morning as they cannot accommodate all their members in one service. We choose the second service at 11 AM and got there just before the the first service got over. I didn't think that there would be any one at the service as it was too early and the weather was not commuter friendly but to my surprise it was full house. The 11 AM service was no different,it was packed, every seat in the 300 plus auditorium was taken! As we had arrived early I decided to attend the Adult Sunday School class. I learned a lot during the the 45 minute interactive session, the church service too was a blessed experience.

Lunch was at Charlie Brown, a stake house, I had fish and Chips. The salad bar helped me get some chillies to spice up my food. Lunch was followed by more shopping. The snow ploughs were out on the streets to clear the snow and driving became a little more easy. The snow was followed by a light drizzle sending the mercury down. Fortunately I was well clad to meet the biting cold. How much better it is when we are prepared !

Friday, November 30, 2007

New York Post IV

I woke up a little late this morning, after making myself some coffee, got down to work. Curtains came down on the business meeting yesterday late afternoon. I was sorry to see my colleagues leave one by one in their rented cars to catch their flights. Fortunately there was one lady from the extended team at the meeting, who stays in Danbury and was able to drop me back to the hotel which is in the opposite direction of the airport. Before leaving, Bob a colleague of mine was ready to drop me to the hotel about 25 miles away ! I thanked him for the offer but did not want to take advantage of his big heart.

I did feel a little lonely when I got back to the hotel, it looked empty ! Although the weather was not at its best (Wet and very cold . . . ) I decided to venture out to the mall 5 minutes away from the hotel. I had planned to have my dinner there but by the time I finished shopping, I was worn out and decided to head back and have dinner at the hotel. I enjoyed walking around browsing through the Christmas wares and listening to Carols at each of the outlets. The mall was lit up and ready for Christmas. That lifted my spirits . I love good old Christmas and the real message of this festival. Unfortunately to be politically correct, all reference to Christmas is now limited to the word 'holidays' here. Soon every one will be wishing each other 'Happy Holidays'. Recently we received a note from the Headquarters to remind us that any events or parties held during this season should not be referred to as Christmas parties etc. but the word 'Holidays' could be used. I am amused ! Well there is another perspective to this and I respect that view, whether I agree with it or not . . . Looking from the organisation's view point the note was sent out so that we do not offend others who may not be celebrating this festival.

I am involved in lot of Christmas events at home and in my church. More about it another day . . . I was happy to hear Bina's voice this morning. It is already Friday evening in Bangalore and she was feeling a little lost as her date is 7000 miles away . For years we have been having a date every Friday. just the two of us, we window shop, hang around in Malls, have dinner at our favourite restaurant and come back home late at night. I too miss her, I wish I was in Bangalore for our Friday date.

Got to go now, I have couple of one to one meetings today and will have to get to the office for that. Looking forward to the evening and the weekend with Issac and Susan, my friends who stay in New York. I met Issac in Kolkata, the city I grew up in. When he got married, I was his best man and later when I said, 'I do' with Bina, Issac was my best man !

It is a beautiful day outside. The sun is at its best . The tall trees minus their leaves look a little forlorn but they still stand majestically refusing to cry over some thing which they know is temporary. I feel they are more wise than Men and Women, who complain,worry and cry over temporary setback!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

New York Post III

Day three was another great day, weather wise and other wise ! The bug that had closed down my official mail box got fixed and all my mail came through. Every time I travel, I pray for my daily bread and daily byte :) With out connectivity I feel marooned in a unpopulated Island. The good thing was that my personal mail worked and so I was in touch with the rest of the world . Another great thing that happened yesterday was hearing Bina's voice ( The women I fell in love and married 25 year's ago ! - we are still in Love!)

On this trip I am having difficulty with the international phone lines and was not able to call home every day. Now we have found a simple work around and I am able to connect home again through Mr. Bell's invention !

The team dinner at the Indian restaurant was the highlight of the day. Forty of us crammed into one of the private dining rooms and ordered every thing on the menu.Often I was consulted on what should be ordered . . . For many of my colleagues this was a first time experience with Indian food. Unfortunately some of the food that we ordered did not have the authentic Indian touch to it but no one seemed to care , the togetherness was more important . I had taken along my Cannon IXUS to get some good pictures of the event but the lighting was very dim and I ended up with some poor images. The spicy shrimp curry that I ordered was disappointing but on the whole it was a good evening. Well that was all about yesterday and now the new day is here, 5 minutes past 6 AM,US Eastern Time . . . Wow, the precious gift of another day! It is up to me how I use this day, the choice is mine, I can put in my best into the day to find solutions for my Customers, touch lives, be a Blessing to people around me or stay put in my corner complaining and whining about endless list of things going wrong. I don't know about you but as for me, I am excited about the new day and rejoice at the immense possibilities the day offers and the many Blessings that I enjoy!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

New York Post II

I am loving it here in New York. . . Technically I am not in New York, I am in this beautiful city of Danbury , an hour and thirty minutes drive from JFK. After arriving here, I found that it is actually in another state altogether - Connecticut . Well it doesn't matter, I will continue with the heading 'New York Post'. The weather, ( the sun came through yesterday, it was a bright and cheerful day. I loved the chill too) the scenic beauty, the cleanliness and orderliness all around has kindled in me a happy feeling. My US colleagues are amazing,they go out of their way to make sure that I am comfortable . They are always there to help . . . rides to the meeting venue, drop back to the hotel, ready to include me in their dinner plans and even willing to drive me to the super market to pick up a bunch of bananas!

One of the things I dread about my US trips, is the bland food. I love spicy food and miss it when I am travelling in US. However this time, I have actualy enjoyed the food . I am looking forward to the team dinner tonight at a fabulous Indian restaraunt. Last night we were at a stake house with my American friends and I actually enjoyed the experience . The rustic decor, the buzz of people talking ,laughing and enjoying their meal transported me to a happy state of mind. I normally avoid stakes, in fact all red meat, for pro-active health reasons. Last night was different, even though I had a choice, I ordered a stake!
While waiting for our meal, we were allowed to raid the salad bar and heap our plates with a interesting selection of salads. I was thrilled when I came across some seasoned chillies . . . my evening was made ! It didn't end there, at the end of the meal,when I was getting ready to pay my share, we were surprised to hear that the tab was being picked by our project sponsor . May be there are no free lunches but I had a free dinner ! Later at the Hiltonflected on the day, I realized that I could not have asked for a better day ! I did have my share of woes, but I decided to focus on the brighter side and that helped . . . Yes yesterday was a great day and I am sure today will be as good or even better !

Monday, November 26, 2007

New York Post I

The Delta 17 touched down at JFK as promised at 7 AM eastern time. I lipped a quick 'Thank you Lord"and looked out of the aircraft at the gloomy scene outside. The sun was clouded out and a light rain was falling but the weather didn't stop me from rejoicing . The thrill of being on land after a 15 hours and forty five minutes flight, 7000 miles covered safely and arriving on time were all things one has to be grateful for.

It took us almost 30 minutes to Taxi and get to the gate and another hour for immigration and customs! The wait was unusual but I checked myself from complaining. In all of my many visits to New York I have been out of the airport in 15 to 20 minutes. Don't know what happened today, may be it was too early or may be it is the Monday morning blues (the Monday after thanksgiving)that slowed down the proceedings ... Seeing my Samsonite waiting for me was another occasion to rejoice for on many visits to the US, my luggage played shy and stayed put in some transit airport and only showed up a day later. The sight of the Limousine driver with my name on a hold up card, was another reason to cheer. He was to pick me at 7AM, I did not expect him to wait an hour and thirty minutes for me.

Soon we were in the bumper to bumper traffic trying to get out of New York, headed to Hilton Garden Inn in the the small town of Danbury . Half way into the journey the traffic cleared and we were able to accelerate on the empty road. The drive was beautiful ... The well laid out roads, the green landscaped borders,the tall trees with their glorious multi coloured leaves and the occasional attractive subdivisions that we passed by with beautiful homes,were all a feast to my eyes. I love nature and always cherish ocassions such as this when I can enjoy it. Later as I checked into Hilton for a week of Business meetings, a thought stuck me, even though I had travelled around the world with very little sleep and acute jet lag, I had a great morning and was excited about what we can achieve this week with my US colleagues. I wondered if it would have been same if I had given in to the natural urge to see every thing from a negative context and ask the question 'Why Me?', complain and wallow in self pity.