Sunday, April 20, 2008

Defining my Nemesis: A meeting with the Devil

They deem him their worst enemy who tells them the truth (Plato)

Every man constantly goes through some defining moments in his life. These acids tests are a means of high powered education, to constantly modify one's opinion of life and get better with each passing day. How and in what stride we take these entirely depends upon our intellect, adaptability and maturity.
Now there is no set way be prepared for eventualities and despite all our best preparations, there comes a time when we are rattled to face the ultimate reality during the course of time and it is better best to randomly shape oneself at every given instance and take the learnings of life well into our intellectual being.
The last couple of months have been acutely rough for me; having not kept well for an extensive period of time, I decided to call it quits at the harrowed organization that I worked for and headed home southwards. So rapid were the turn of events that I had little or no time to account for even my personal belongings. I headed for Ooty on the 28th of Dec 2007 with mixed feelings.
While I was homeward after a considerably long time, the worry of presenting myself with incredibly frail health to my Parents persisted all along. Much to my dismay, my coming home was shadowed greatly on account of my health and the initial joy of meeting with folks dwindled almost instantaneously!
However, home is where the heart is. I began recuperating the moment I stepped into home.
But my troubles were far from over. To begin with, my former management was ganged up against me in the fear that I might hold them accountable for my health and state of mind, considering that they had been extremely irresponsible in paying my dues.
Thus began a long and protracted battle to recover my dues and my relieving letter. I had to spend a great deal of effort and money calling an extremely shady HR department in my previous organization. They say misery is man's only company during bad times. Slowly and steadily so-called freinds started staying away and began circulating rumours which were in bad taste. These tough times saw me well supported by my parents and my elder cousin and his family. Perhaps, it was one of the most real lesson I had to come to terms with.

Idling away at home while shaping up health is not easy for someone who had accustomed himself to long work hours and sharp deadlines. It began taking an immense toll on me and I was riddled with the guilt that I could not provide for myself. It was one thing to fit myself into Dad;s business, quite another to achieve something on my own, and it was the latter that I was gunning for.

I spent an immense amount of time reading, reading everything that could lay my hands on , from philosphy to Tintin and attempted to ease out while time inched ever more slowly.
Comparisons and uncalled for counsel ricocheted often and it took great courage to abstain from them and not taking them personally.

The new year came unannounced and I spent time with folks, doing some reading and being absorbed in music. The Narayana Gurukula offered me great sanctuary to ease myself and collect my thoughts and re-analyse them from the perspective of what really is needed in life.
Swamy Tanmaya & Swami Vyasaprasad, with their immense knowledge of life itself, were a great source of comfort and inspiration.
As we progress, I was told, we always encounter the horizontal and the vertical depths of life.
While the horizontal side is our existence in the social and official apparatus, the vertical side (being the important of the two), teaches us the ways of life by experience and knowledge, and thereafter presents a more clear picture of reality as we go on.

Come the close of February, I began contacting people for suitable openings. Despite a great deal of opposition from some friends and associates, I decided that I needed to find a place in the Corporate world and perhaps much later assume the reigns of Dad's business.

All this while, I somehow recounted a gut-wrenching feeling that my personal belongings at Delhi (which included many original testimonials received while at work) were being pilfered.
Many a times, I shared this apprehension with Mom, who did her best to comfort me by saying that they were as a result my feeling unable to control the situation. It was only later that I would realize the sinister turn of events and how true indeed that 'gut-wrenching' feeling was.

I travelled to Coimbatore and Chennai for interviews and meetings but decided to keep off Bangalore owing to its excruciating cost factor. Meanwhile, I was also associated with the Earth Trust in Ooty which focused on organic farming, environmental conservation and climate change.
I was placed there in the Capacity of a Manager who had to liase with several agencies and governmental organizations for policy making and proliferating the mission of the trust.
It was one of those rare times when I got a first hand feel of how the changing environment had its adverse effects on the climate, people and their environment. We travelled to local schools to infuse in students the message of conservation and environmental upkeep. Often travelling to interior villages, with little or no transport facility at all, we chanced upon the crude scale of poverty that affected these children. It was hard to fathom their lives, burdened with problems more than you and me could ever imagine. My hardships immediately dwindled in comparison to their suffering. Strikingly though, they often were a committed bunch of students much unlike the city folk who were lapped in luxury. India is a sad nation, with an extensive bridge between the poor and the well-to-do. When I hear political honchos making tall claimed that this insidious gap will be closed, I scoff and think, years later, despite all the development jazz, there will still remain a huge population that cannot get themselves a decent meal to eat, basic medical facilities and a roof over their poor heads! God help them, for there is none truly born of this wonderful nation who can yet solve this predicament. Today, when the buzzwords of corporate social responsibility and government assisted are at large, it seems that they dont really perculate to the very bottom. Or perhaps as in many cases, they are merely etched out in paper for purposes of eyewash only!
Incidentally, I got an understanding of how schools in rural areas suffer due to lack of infrastructure and inadequate manpower combined with the burden of lack of financial resources. The government, mired in bureaucracy and red-tape shows no interest in augmenting these educational bodies and thus students who depend on such schools due to their economic troubles, are in the long run forced to compete with a bunch of skilled others against whom they find themselves unmatched and lopsidedly pitted.
I had never before witnessed face to face the hardships faced by rural folk in their day to day lives. Strangely, what was in store for me, in the next coming days would shock the living day lights out of me.

It was close to the end of March 2008 that I got an offer from an IT Organization as a Research Analyst. Having been a Business Analsyt before, I decided to enhance myself in the field of Market Research by accpeting the offer. My former Asst. Vice President Tony and his wife were largely responsible in squaring this opportunity for me and I was required to travel to Pune to operate out of there.
Shortly after I accepted the offer I decided to travel to Gurgaon, Haryana, where my baggage and documents remained over the last couple of months. Or so I thought!
After a harrowed start and having missed my flight, thanks to the all-curses-deserved traffic in Bangalore, I reached Delhi during the first week of April. I was told by the so-called friends that I entrusted my belongings with that my luggage was now split between two people who had custody of it in their respective places.
After having painstakingly aggregated most of it, I found, much to my utter horror & dismay, that many of my files & testimonials were missing. Apparently the 'safe-keepers' themselves had in fact plotted to destroy them for reasons I have no knowledge of. What had been a tremendously well accumulated repository for years was now missing. My wardrobe was broken into and many other personal belongings along with money had gone missing. Sadly, there was nothing that I could do. It is indeed strange and disgusting how certain people readily assume somebody else's belongings to be theirs. I thank my Parents for the wonderful upbringing that I had been taken through which has greatly help shape my character and moral values which I consider intact and non-negoatiable under any circumstances. However, when one steps out into the real world, one notices at length how easy it comes to people to pilfer and loot. Often jeolousy and the need for quick growth spurs an animal instinct in many people, with them often resorting to thieving. I had literally come to meet my worst enemies here.
People hailing from some Indian states where gun-running and criminal politics are the order of the day have spread themselves out in large across this once superb nation and are steadily corrupting every sphere of what remains a moral environment. I wouldnt be very suprised to see many well educated and sensible people leaving this country to seek a better and much more cultured living environment in the future (me included).
It will be very interesting to watch the upcoming generations of this nation!
In many ways, I had seen the devil itself on my trip to Gurgaon and attempted to come to terms with my tragic loss. Maybe this was God's way of telling me that misplaced trust can be nothing short of a disaster that one would regret for a lifetime.
For good reason, my stay in Gurgaon was very short and I returned to Ooty in the coming days after which I began to prepare myself for another relocation, this time to Pune.
I had not visited the central Indian region and was keen on doing so. Having heard a great deal about Pune, I looked forward to the assignment. Boarding a train from Coimbatore, Dad & I reached Pune on the eve of Vishu, the Malayalam New Year.
I do not remember a time when Mom & Deepu have been by themselves at home during this celebrated occasion. My faith in God was renewed with each passing day despite the hardships that I had faced in the past. Perhaps as is said in the scriptures, it is the virtuous who are repeatedly tested in order to gauge their faith.

So then I begin a very new chapter of my life in Pune while tremendously missing my family.
I must thank them for the wonderful pillars of support that they have always and unconditionally been, for without them I would have been terribly lost on life and devoid of any support and good conditioning.

Thank you GOD!

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