The other day, I had an interesting conversation with a friend I dearly love. He is a success at work like you won’t believe, is devoted to his family, and has friends who would gladly give their right arm for him. In my humble moments (I do occasionally stray, damn it!), I do believe he is dog’s b*******’s.
Yet, just before meeting him, I had added a thick layer of the finest fang polish to my er…fangs.
You see, either side of the 1st leg of our trip, Farah and I have been on the stand quite a bit to explain this sabbatical business. You add ‘homeschooling’ to the mix and it’s pretty much equal to a conviction for a presumed serial killer caught at the scene of the crime with a dripping dagger in one hand and his calling card of a cat’s ear in the other, even before he can open his defense.
Parents and siblings can be especially brutal in their kindness.
Fact is, these kinds of things are not easily explained, and not just in our culture, but especially not in our culture. You have to be a little crazy to take this on. So how coherent a response would you want from the crazy one’s?
So like a warrior living on reputation alone, and who has left his sword at home, I leap to a sort of see-how-it-goes counter-aggression strategy. It’s just one life…and so forth, you know the arguments. And in no time, we have either descended to armed conflict or worse, some polite talk about the weather.
I braced for the same from my friend.
Knowing him, I need not have worried.
He was neither judgmental nor especially convicted on this issue. His points were simple – who if anyone, is ever truly happy at his or her work? Who is so in love with his job that it becomes his life? And who does not want to chuck it all look for true meaning in his life? Fact is, people are willing to live with their work because they all have a present – with all its many struggles – to protect and a somewhat assured promise of a bright future to go after. This is not to say that the current job does not have moments of real stimulation or any real meaning for the wider community, but that is rarely the uppermost inspiration.
My response to him was just as simple. Everyone has to choose his own path of life and I have chosen mine, or if I am brutally honest, am in the process of defining mine.
Later on, upon deeper reflection (I do occasionally stray, as I said), I did what any self respecting corporate type would do when evaluating progress of a project – I traffic lighted it.
Given below is the itemized Q1 progress on the 6 KPIs for our Sabbatical initiative for your kind perusal and action:
Travel The World, Live Like Natives
Of all the goals, this one is probably the easiest to achieve, insofar as the dictates of willpower and money allow. Living long stretches in each place, especially those away from city lights, has revitalized us and is now our new road map for the upcoming leg.
A solid Green in my book.
I dithered on this one between green and Amber. Ultimately it’s a green because the first step has been taken. My first ever consultancy project is now ongoing, which is not only intellectually stimulating but it also pays for our time in Dubai. I don’t know where this is going yet and if this is the future, but as long as I am on it, I am determined to do justice to it
Blogging and Website
Blog writing has not been easy – to be readable, you really have to give something of yourself to the world – which does not come easy to a someone who has always hidden his heart behind starched Cotton and Cotton shirts. Besides, our programs evolve quite a bit on the fly which means the Beliebers would take their pound of flesh before they engage with you.
On the other hand, the website work is only just beginning – I found taking time out for it during the trip way tougher than I thought – but I am determined to see it through.
Amber it is.
Children’s story, what children’s story. Leave me alone.
Times…they will not come back. So while I can, I’ll grab on to them and them to me, with frequent sanity breaks in between.
A well wisher once told me: Plan your sabbatical so you do not waste it.
I shot him.
This year is all about chaos. I have done my time on the other side.
I cannot promise you that I am not racked with self doubts. I cannot promise you I know when it will end. I cannot promise you I have options when it does end. I cannot promise you I sleep easy each night.
All I can promise you is this – I wake up each morning with a smile on my face.