My luck, helped immensely by the numerous opportunities that various employers of mine provided me to travel to different parts of the world (30+ countries), is the foundation for starting this journey of “The Trodden Paths”. Before going any further, a small but firm disclaimer. What follows, is my experience with various places and people. Leveraging this as a Travel Guidebook may be fraught with unforeseen risks! Please treat them as work of expression from a simpleton’s wide eyed comprehension of changing surroundings.
Although I have visited countries like Nepal and Bhutan in my “Young Adulthood”, I could never consider them as “Foreign Trips”! They seemed to be just an extension of my Country, and hence, while leaving me with plenty of pleasure and fulfilment, they did not graduate to being “Foreign Land”, probably because, I did not have to cross any sea! The first Overseas Nation that beckoned me was Singapore, that too, with me in truly dire straits!
Just to give some credence to the “dire straits”, I would like to set a prelude to the actual travel. Have taken some liberties in exercising my “imagination rights”, and have desisted from using the names of my friends and acquaintances, as I have not sought necessary permissions from their kind selves.
Here goes the prelude……
Deserted in Desert, called life.
The first impact of the information was that of a rude shock to my self-esteem! What the heck! Only a month back, my Employer considered me good enough to accord “Outstanding Employee” Award! Did I really made such a hash of my official tasks in the past month to be considered as redundant! The shock was somewhat numbing. As minutes ticked by, the numbness got replaced by an outrage of humongous proportions! I kept frenetically looking for some scapegoat(s) to channel my anger! The nearest available (in my mind) was obviously, my reporting manager! Immediately hit a road-block! He happened to be a handsome person with gentle voice. Had to get my imagination on an overdrive to make his nice smile feel like demonic, and his mild voice croak like a toad! Not satisfied with this little transformation, even imagined his future, where I made him beg me for a job (in a toad like voice, of course!)! Only after I derived the sadistic pleasure out of denying him the job, did I search for the next victim!
After continuing this exercise with a few more individuals (HR, Higher Management etc.) at the receiving end, even my imagination started getting tired. Hence had to revert to the real situation! That is when reality struck back with vengeance! The first reality was, my sacking owed to my whole department being found to be an appendage! Hence, it was not just me, but another 50+ people, who were probably running their imagination wild by now! Almost forgot about my state of affairs and started fretting over my other colleagues and their hardships!
While the company graciously tried to compensate for this brutal act with 2 months’ salary, I was not sure, if the Banks would be too gracious in calculating the interests and late payment fees for the loans and Credit Card outstanding amounts in the coming months, favourably! With money matters into play, the imagination again took control, and darkness descended, yet again! This time, I was the protagonist, and saw myself in tattered clothes, singing in the local trains, assisted by a broken harmonium, which had additional assortment of other sound making utensils attached to itself, one of which was a sizeable bowl to collect loose changes! Deliberated a lot on the size of the bowl, which kept shrinking proportionately with my rising pessimism. Finally decided on a tiny-winy bowl of approximately 1 feet diameter and 1 feet depth. Also contemplated extending the bottom of the bowl in case of exigencies (read, overflowing compassion of the fellow passengers!)
A severe pain shot up my left big-toe to yank me out of my “Star Beggar” avatar, reminding me of my plastered feet. Just couple of days back, while I was waiting on my motorcycle for the traffic signal to turn green, a benevolent Policeman took the liberty of crawling from behind in his Jeep and put the front wheels on my resting left feet! The benevolence bit owes to the fact that it was only my feet, and not the bike itself, which I looked after as I would look after my own kid! This act necessitated a visit to an Orthopedic Specialist, as the left foot was pushing the walls of my shoes with renewed vigour without my permission! By the time I reached the Clinic, it had become painfully difficult to take my shoes out. The Doctor had a look at the feet and ordered for an X-Ray, while informing me with zero emotion that he suspected a fracture! His words turned out to be prophetic! Fracture it was! Thus, my long harboured curiosity was satiated, and I got a majestic white cast for the first time in my life! The experience was not as royal as I had anticipated! In the ensuing audio visual bonanza, the audio (tapping feet) was not telling the whole story of the limping gait!
Anyway, the reminder of my cast clad leg ensured that I can’t be an active “Job Hunter”, with a bag laden with copies of my Resume, clocking miles on my bike, scouring all possible Companies for a suitable employment! In my 12 years of professional life, Jobs were kind enough to approach me, rather than me approaching them! This change in situation made me feel like staring at a black-hole, contemplating the goodies that I would find, once I got sucked into it!
That is when I realized that my home computer has been enjoying idle days for too long, owing to the fact that most of my productive hours were spent at the office! With great effort, I shifted my focus from the black hole to the Computer and got thinking on my fingers. The result of those thoughts were a Resume, to start with! Once I had a documentary evidence of myself staring at me, the gloom started receding! After all, it was not such a bad read! Next was finding out people who would be gullible enough to share my love for myself! The search led me to Naukri.com and Monster.com.
After a flurry of applications, suitable and unsuitable, the phone rang a couple of days later. Apparently, some people shared my love for myself. Time for another avatar! Now, that of a Salesman! While making the Sales pitch, I kept on discovering myself and my evolving prowess! The initial call was followed by another 3 satisfactory ones over a period of next 3 weeks. Finally, got a call from the HR, asking me to travel to Singapore to appear for the Final Interview. That laid the platform for my first overseas visit.
To be continued…..