Thursday, 20 October 2011

The Gap

There comes a time in life, when a gap happens. Sometimes by choice, sometimes not. This is the harsh truth, unpalatable as it may be. Especially if it involves your career.


The Gap

My last contract involved being the Marketing Manager for the Asian Beach Games, held in December 2010 at Muscat, Sultanate of Oman. Interacting and working with Asian nationals from 45 countries was equally a challenge and a pleasure. I was on board, till February 2011, wrapping up the post-Games reporting. I am happy to recollect that despite, being the 2nd edition only, of the Olympic Council of Asia owned Asian Beach Games, it was an astounding success considering the challenges. I was proudly part of a great team that made it happen.

Took me about a month more in Muscat to wrap up some of the personal and professional matters, ended up reaching India in April 2011. And where else to go, but back to the only place I could call home. So Kerala it was. While leaving my second home Muscat was painful, the initial few months, were heavenly, to say the least. By the month of May, the rains had started and reached a crescendo for the next couple of months. Wet, windy, cool, green - paradise on earth. Bettered only, gastronomically by the fact that my mother creates some amazing Kerala cuisines.

What a life! Relaxed, easy going, wonderful. Took the opportunity to sort out some family concerns which could only be addressed with my physical presence. Also travelled around within India and managed to make it to Hong Kong as well, which I wrote about here.

That broadband internet connectivity existed in this idyllic rural countryside was something I have mentioned in the Kerala post, recently. While, it ensured that I was not isolated from the rest of the world, even more importantly, it has also meant that I have been able to sit here and actually learn, interact, evolve.

Gasp!

Kerala has a rather high level of usually non-resident population. So, by now it has become the local norm that when the non-resident folk visit, first question is "when did you arrive?", immediately followed by a "when do you leave?" and this is where the first stumble happens - if you do not know when you are leaving. I usually try to bat it away by saying, have not decided. But that is not enough. No way. It has to be investigated, drawn, quartered and hung. Irrespective of whether I like it or not. All the way downhill. Throw in a dunking into the icy river, for good measure. No stopping this inquiry garbed in the robes of social civility.

So a full fledged oral third degree inquiry results in the answer of it has been a few months. I dare not say, 6 months for then the earth might as well open up and swallow me! And this leads to the inevitable gasp, immediately followed by a "how come?" question asked in a voice laced with concern or merriment or rather difficultly concealed scorn, depending on how positively / negatively and closely / distantly related, the person is to you.

Now, this is the moment of decision...
  • Flight or fight? 
  • Calm guru reaction or swat the pesky fly mode? 
  • Maybe a sophisticated explanation on the linkage, permutations and challenges of location versus break versus career direction versus choices? 
  • Or should it be a subtle but well aimed ironical attempt at 'it's not really your problem' communication? 
  • What about a full blown verbal shock and awe assault which would in all probability lead to complete and utter rest-of-the-life disengagement with that individual? 
  • How about a more honest reality check explanation combined with a request for help? 
...Gosh, so many angles and choices to make.

I usually take a path which is directly proportional to the relationship and comfort level I have with that questioning individual. If it is a friend, they get the friendly response. With the others, it is more of a 'thank you for asking, am in the process, will let you know when I know' answer that is bland enough to salvage some semblance of mutual respect.

So what next, really?

I am a marketing professional. I have used this break period to learn and engage more with the world through social media. I have managed to spend quality time with the folks. I have been able to help around at home. Individually, this blog has come alive. My posts, tweets and status updates are immortally out there in the ether. Sometimes even liked, enjoyed and shared. I have made new friends and re-established contact with old friends.

Combined with the management and marketing techniques that both Indian and British qualifications have instilled in me as well as skill sets evolved over more than a decade working in different countries and organisations, I am largely confident there is still much that I could contribute to making a difference. Maybe one of you could give me a lead. Maybe one of the discussions I am having will come through.

Meantime, I still do need to ward off my local inquisitors, wanted or not. What a life!

6 comments:

  1. As they say in London dude, MIND THE GAP. Hope things are heading in the right direction. At any rate, take the time off to compose and find yourself. I'm in a gap myself at the moment. Have left Apex and am heading into the freelance ether. Looking forward to it but also importantly looking forward to realising some money - you know how that goes. Keep in touch with me at jayant.jayakrishnan@gmail.com

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  2. Thank you Jayant, am indeed minding the gap ;) Right or wrong, only time will tell, eh? Glad to see you are on the track to self-sufficiency. Noted your email. Will be in touch. Good luck.

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