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.