The British Asian Blog

Life as it is @tbablog

Tag: Bangalore

Life is a darling adventure, or nothing!

Just a quick note:

I know I’ve been absent lately from blogging – I’m sorry.  I haven’t blogged as much as I liked to and I have my valid reasons why.  If this blog was an actual human being – I’d probably have had a number of fights due to neglecting him/her.  I’d prefer it to be a ‘her’.

Unfortunately, this little note is to add to my absence from this platform for a little while longer – well five weeks to be precise.

That’s right; I’m hours away from embarking on a long business holiday, where the first leg is a (series of connecting) flight from London-Heathrow to Florida.  In theory Florida is my official first holiday home.  The plan is to spend four nights there, mainly to complete outstanding ownership paperwork.  Once done, I’ll be heading to Bangalore, India.  There I’ll stay till September 16th.  Long time – Yes I know and it’s purely intentional and desired.

Most of you will know why I am engaged in India so much.  I wrote about it here, an earlier post back in December 2012 about Change.  In short, I have business interests out in India, a place where I find to be another great place for opportunity.

The business venture which I have been working on with my acquaintance from South Asia was launched in the UK on July 31st and August the 1st.  My acquaintance, although in London for another project, managed to pull it off remarkably well and to perfection and it all it went extremely well. The soft launch had already been in flow few months earlier.  My visit to India is to complete this launch and this will be my final stage of launching the venture.

The hard work will then start.

This venture isn’t about producing a product or selling to a mass market.  It is, in fact, a service for a new elite group of young people who have a ‘seven figure disposable income’ and who reside around the world.  Since the soft launch to the day we went live in London, this venture has exceeded all expectations.

So what does all this mean:  Well, in short, it means I won’t be available from next couple of hours (8pm today) until 16th September.  My personal phone will be switched off for this duration and my international number will be used instead.  It also means that I won’t be blogging during this time, well, I think I wont, but if there appears to be an opportunity then I may drop a line or two.  That said, I do, however, like to switch on my twitter GPS and location option – so you guys can check out where I am – so watch out for my tweets.

When I get to India, and in the care of my acquaintance it will be more hard work to get the final stage of the venture live.  This, I’m sure, will go as well as it did in London.

…and on that note, I wish you all the best and I hope to catch up with you guys sometime soon.

Remember:  Life is a darling adventure, or nothing!

Rapid Progress: Leeds, London to Bangalore and Mumbai

I’m less than 24 hours away from flying out to India only while being back from India less than 3 months.  This is what I call ‘rapid progress’ and why shouldn’t it be, as time is of essence as always.  You may recall, I wrote about change in my life and the reasons why I am now engaged in business in India.  This visit to India is going up another stage for the venture I am involved in.

Now that this will be my third visit to India in less than two years means that I have already established a solid base and network in India – and I must extol thanks to my acquaintance who has put her heart and mind in accommodating me and in ensuring that all my expectations, requirements and desires are met both personally and for the venture we both are involved in.  Our relationship has grown ever so strong, more so recently, and on that basis our foundations together are becoming more and more solid by the day – what does help is the exchange of large amount of cash from both parties to kick start this venture literally done on verbal agreement, despite my banking portfolio-manager raising his eyebrow at the arrangement.  Had either one of us been dealing with someone else, verbal agreement would never cross our minds but a written agreement, so the trust element of our relationship is at an all time high.

My stay in India will be mostly business with some pleasure, and I hope my stay there for 8 nights mainly in Prabhadevi with some travelling to other cities back and forth will be enough to complete some objectives – mainly getting the ball rolling for recruiting staff for our new venture.  It’s going to be a tough task.  The elite customer base (who have to go through a stringent vetting process) has now topped 4,600 members only in Bangalore and Mumbai alone not to mention numbers in other cities like Delhi or cities in UK and US.  This is prior to our launch date pencilled in for July this year and well before a marketing strategy has been designed, let alone advertising this new venture through a series of private clubs and networks.  This achievement is a mini success.  Something I predicted when we discussed this venture prior to my involvement.

I must say it’s amazing how the word of mouth along with the reputation of my acquaintance in India can achieve all this effortlessly.

So the recruitment drive, in my view, is a big deal.  Any progress in this space needs to be right the first time.  Once this is well under way in India, a similar recruitment drive will be conducted here in the UK.  I guess in the UK it’s more stress-free or less stressful, especially when the various recruitment agencies are prepared to do all the donkey work for you.

This week also completes two months of working in London.  If you are up to date with my change post written prior to my last visit to India in December 2012, you will know the reasons of why I relocated from working in Leeds to London and in particular Vauxhall where I continue with my existing career and Knightsbridge where the offices for the new venture has been established.  The lifestyle change meant that in the New Year, once I got back from spending the entire December of 2012 in India, I had to continue with my existing career and establish a firm base for our new venture, but from London.

It’s been an interesting change with new experiences and where some experiences stretched far longer than what I’d experienced previously.  Travelling by train from Leeds to Kings Cross every Monday morning, then to return on a Thursday afternoon/evening each week for two months has been an interesting experience.  It’s my preferred method of travelling between Leeds and London, where the alternatives are to either drive or fly between both locations.  I’ve tried all three options but I do prefer the train commute, the very least it gives me just over 2 hours of much needed productivity time where I can conduct my business and attend matters which require my attention, where otherwise isn’t available with the other travel options.

Travelling by train between Leeds and London, I have experienced some interesting encounters with people, most are worthy of a dedicate post – like for example, the two teenage girls sitting opposite me on the first class cabin seeking advice from me on their trouble teenage relationships and then having to speak to another girl friend of theirs over the phone to repeat my advice, or the gay guy who burst into tears after falling out with his boyfriend over the phone and then confiding in me the whole duration from London to Leeds, to the racist chap thinking he was a smart arse who I then shredded into fine bits after he made a racist remark to a black student on the train or to the Australian women who was convinced I was a close friend of her ex husband and that I was following her.

The relocation during the week to London has meant having to sell both of my cars in January.  As part of my relocation to London I have been given a company car, this for the time being is sufficient for me to drive around.  It also gives me the opportunity to order a new 4×4 on a 2013 registered plate with my personal choice of colour (Diamond White), interior and gadgets which is scheduled for delivery come end of April this year.

So, with this rapid progress, I bid you farewell for a short while and I hope to catch up with you guys once I touch base in India in two days time.

Change

The British Asian Blog – Change

The combination of ‘change’ and ‘life’ is a weird one.  As life goes on second by second it’s also changing at the same pace.  In fact, if I dwell on this deeper – no two seconds are the same and can never be.  Some changes in life are obvious and appear on our life radar and we learn to deal with them, because change is something we simply cannot stop or avoid and some changes happen in small increments, and if we show patients and pay enough attention to the detail in our lives we’ll notice them.  I guess, in dealing with change we either try fighting it, or, do what I usually do, make it into an opportunity and take advantage of it – because whether you like it or not, change is going to happen.

This time last year, I was preparing for some changes in my life on virtually all fronts.  I guess, I had ventured or steered the direction of my life into a path that was less threaded on.  By that I mean, I jumped out of the rat race that our lives are so glued to in the system we live in and decided that going through a path which hasn’t been threaded on much, would, of course, be very turbulent and unpredictable but at the same time, more rewarding and more satisfying the very least.  There could also be the possibility that it could all go horribly wrong.

So almost a year ago from today when I write this post, I made some tough decisions in my life for the future, knowing full well that change was inevitable on all fronts – be it my profession, my PhD research and education, my family, my friends and relationships, on the entrepreneurial level, in my businesses and future ventures.  Change was to happen and I needed to be prepared for it, both mentally, physically and emotionally.

What I write here today isn’t about describing and explaining change in every aspect of my life – that will be explained, I hope, in future posts as and when ‘change’ happens.  This post, I wanted to dedicate to, sharing with you guys some of the stuff that has happened or is about to happen in very brief description – I guess to set the tone for going into 2013 and beyond.

In less than 24 hours, I will be well on my way to India.  This would be my second such visit to a country, which prior to 2012, I hadn’t even contemplated I’d visit twice – let alone in one year.  India as a country, has taken me by surprise.  I’m in love with it, with its people and with its culture.  It fascinates me in every way – and I’d like to thank that one special person in my life, who took me under her wing and showed me the ‘true India’.  In my view, it’s a place where the future is, or at least, the future is for business and future entrepreneurial ventures – and I’m jumping on that bandwagon early.

About 8 months ago, that special acquaintance who resides in India approached me with an idea, a brand new venture on a very large scale.  Prior to her approaching me, she had worked alone on this idea for well over a year.  I must add, her profession and assignments usually occupy her entire time, but when she could afford the time – it was dedicated in recuperating and on this new venture.  So, 8 months ago or maybe a little longer, she made a decision to take this idea of a new venture to the next level and bring in a partner or an investor.  The idea behind bringing another party (or individual) was that it could continue on its own merit and where she could continue on in her profession and career.  I use the word ‘investor’ loosely and if there is one thing there is no shortage of, and which usually is a core ingredient for all ventures, then that is finance and money.  Access to money is not a problem and this is key.  In part of taking this idea to the next level, she put together a list of people who she would consider to approach and bring in as partners.  As she did a SWOT (Strength, Weakness, Opportunity and Threats) analysis on the few people she had in mind, I was the only remaining potential that ticket most of her boxes.  If I failed in any area then that was my location.  I reside in UK and she in India.

Due to her profession and career, this new venture couldn’t be associated with my acquaintance at any cost – simply due to legal reasons and complicated career contracts.  It was ideal for a new face, someone who, to the world, would appear to be fresh, energetic and most importantly an entrepreneur from the West, i.e. UK or USA.  So we engaged and she broke this news to me, I felt privileged, excited but at the same time nervous and a little tense.  As my rule in life, with any acquaintance has always been, just that, an acquaintance is just an acquaintance and no relationship or friendship would come of it, and definitely no business ventures.  When I asked her why me, her response was out of the world and in that description of me she used the words ‘passion’, ‘determination’, ‘creativity’, ‘disciplined and confidence’.  If any of you know me in person, then you would know that new challenges attract me, they turn me on and I can’t resist but to take on the challenge.  I guess that hunger to succeed takes over.

As we continued to discuss this in more detail, which included some physical engagements in Florida and Singapore – it was clear to me that this girl meant business and it was going to be simply between me and her.  If you like, she would be a sleeping partner and I would be the face of this new venture.

So in the 8 months that I have worked on this venture, I have conducted further in-depth market research and the more I do, the more convinced I am that this venture is going to be something big, and failure is not an option.   So on that note, I plan to spend the entire December in India, Bangalore (short of a few days) in which I hope to accomplish three things:  1 – to secure contracts for this new venture, where the head office will be in London, 2 – to help her on another assignment which is due to go live in late January 2013 and 3 – to network with some high profile people who will ensure this venture takes off the ground in the right way, I guess I could add a 4th point here which is to explore more of this beautiful country with my acquaintance.  So tagging along with me will be my barrister who also is a close friend (from childhood) and forms part of my crew including a business partner for another one of my business.  Since the new venture requires a head office to be based in London, in theory we are trying to give this venture a foreign and western layer – which is more recognised in India, so my barrister will guide both myself and my acquaintance in getting setup.  Although my barrister’s visit to India is only for the duration of 13 days, it’s the first time he visits India so that will be fun.

This then brings me nicely on to my career and profession.

Working on the new venture means establishing a head office in London, and for this venture to really become a success, there needs to be an office in four major capitals two of which are London and Delhi.  Right now, my crew are working on securing offices in London and in particular Knightsbridge.  On this basis, a few weeks ago, I wrote an official email to my employers, in particular to my assignment manager and department director.  As an IT consultant and a Project and Program Manager in the healthcare industry my profession is tough and very demanding.  So, I expressed my desire to take a career break or a sabbatical for a period of one year.  Considering that I have been with the same employer for just over three quarters of a decade, I envisaged some raised eyebrows.  The thing with my company is that I work for is that they are a renowned international company and their IT consultancy expands to Nuclear energy, Military, Banking, Formula One and NASA aerospace just to name a few, and they, for sure don’t like letting go of people – as they see their staff as assets not cost.  So hours after I officially sent my email of intent, my assignment manager immediately called me and expressed his views and demanded, with all due respect, to make that official email an ‘unofficial’ so that a solution can be found which would benefit both myself and the company.

So, a few days later a meeting was setup between HR, my assignment manager and department director (who flew in from Germany to attend – which is the first for such matters, so I have been told).  During this unofficial meeting, I expressed my desires and aspirations in wanting to focus my attention on my new venture, which would require some foreign trips mainly between Delhi and Prague, and also meant living in London to oversee this venture.  My employers expressed their desire to keep me, and offered to go away and work out a solution so I could continue with my employment and yet fulfill my desire and aspirations.  Thinking this would be impossible, I somewhat agreed.

Few days later, the following simple solution was proposed – which surprised me:  I didn’t have to take a career break or sabbatical, I could relocate to London and work from our company offices in London, where once a week I could travel to our Leeds offices.  This would mean that I would simply continue working for my employer and I could be relocated in London and yet I could still continue working on my current projects with the same resources and team in Leeds.

This solution was perfect for me, although traveling between Leeds to London wasn’t ideal but I guess I need to compromise a little here, and in some respects I’m killing two birds with one stone – so to speak.

So come January or February 2013, I will officially be living in Vauxhall in London, working both in Vauxhall and establishing my new venture in Knightsbridge.

As for my life in Leeds, well, most of my crew members (another name for close friends) will be supporting my businesses in Leeds – as I have worked hard in recruiting business managers who will report to me directly on a daily basis for each of my business.  My family, as usual, continue to support me in this major change.  According to my business plan for my new venture, my relocation to Vauxhall in London, should only last for the duration of one year – after which, it will be time to focus my attention to Leeds or wherever my life decides to take me.

So, these are the changes taking place in my life.  I hope to write when I get to India as well as tweet, but I’m not going to make it a priority as my time in India is going to be my time.  I think, considering the graft I have put in this year, I deserve some rest and pleasure and on that note – I wish you all a very ‘cold’ and ‘wet’ December if you are in the UK or in the west and I’ll be thinking about you guys from India.

Note:  I have written this blog post in the last 6 hours in very small snippets.  As always, there is a mad rush to get my affairs in Leeds in order and my travel schedule is hectic and goes like this:  Outbound from Manchester Airport to London Heathrow, then connecting flight from London Heathrow to Doha International, from Doha International to Bangalore International airport – which means 2 stops and a duration of 24 hours and 45 minutes and arriving in Bangalore for Friday 7th December at 02:55 (according to my e-ticket).  So, the post may have appeared a little rushed but I guess you guys get the idea.

Oh one last thing:  Last few days I was on skype with my acquaintance in India, I could hear a strange and weird song in the background.  So I asked her what it is – when she put the volume up and later sent me the link to that song – I basically had had multiple fits.  My visit to India is all summed up in this one song.  Note:  although the words may sound like Hindi, they are not, they are in fact English but pronounced in Hindi style – sit back and enjoy:

 

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