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: