Unexpectd lie

Well, this is something that happened on March 3, 2011. I could not publish this at the time because I could have been in serious trouble with my company. But, I did write this on March 17, 2011 and scheduled this for a year later.

On March 3, 2011; I was scheduled to fly to US for the second leg of my assignment that started in July 2010. Since July 2010, there has been a lot of unrest within me and with my family over my travel. Of course, I had never been away from home for more than week, this was for about a year when it started. Now, it had come down to 5 months until July 2011 when my assignment ended.

However, I got ready with bags packed and everything. Dad and Preeti (my wife) accompanied me to the airport. I left my daughter home crying because she wanted to go with us to the airport. It was late in the night so no point bringing her along. She was 3 years back then and did not really understand that her Dad was going away for a longish period and she would only be able to talk on phone or a video chat.

I had left home in a state of flux and unrest, but this time it was more than what it was in July 2010. As I was driving to the Airport, everyone was silent and thinking something. I knew what I was thinking – “What can I do that this trip can be canceled?”.

As we were walking from the Parking I popped a question to Preeti – “Can we manage our household in case I do not go and get fired?” She was not sure. However, we continued to deliberate on this. We reached the Gate and then I asked the same question to Preeti and Dad. And next 20 minutes were hay-wire. Eventually the following happened:

We decided to cancel the trip and communicate on medical grounds to my boss. To safeguard my position, we spoke to Amit and Aparna who recommended that we go to a hospital and report the situation and get a medical certificate of the checkup. We started our trip back to the hospital and my dad called up Krishna and informed him about the same.

However, the events for the evening were not to end there. When we reached the hospital and I had my blood pressure measured (I have been recording a high BP for a week now); it was 160/110. And it was alarming. Eventually, the doctor suggested an ECG; which came to be normal. I was recommended some medicines and I came back home.

Since, then there has been a lot of thinking around should I go or not. The Blood pressure eventually normalized. I guess it was because of anxiety for last few weeks. These two weeks gave me time to think what to do and also to search for various jobs and see if there are opportunities for elsewhere to find.

I have never done this in my entire career and it took a lot of courage to do it; however it never went away and until now this comes back to haunt me – like I did something wrong.

I do not know, if what I did was wrong or right. It seemed right for my family. I am not sure, if it can be right for someone, if it started as being wrong.

P.S.: If you are wondering what happened after that, that is a story for another day.

Coming Home

After what happened yesterday, when I saw that weather predictions in Chicago are still Thunderstorms for the day, I was worried what is going to happen. However, I was not as much worried as I was yesterday. However, given that I did take up a flight that gave me a 5+ hour layover in Chicago was an insurance. I started my day early and reached at the Airport at 7.15am. It was well in time and I did bring in the bag that I was leaving back yesterday. I did bring in some more of my clothes than I was thinking off.

After checking-in the bag, when I reached at the Security counter, I met Alex. We first met at the Marriott last year, but he left the job in January and we have kept in touch via Facebook. We did talk about meeting up at the airport but his was a morning shift and yesterday I was going at noon. But, today I ended up being at the same spot where he had his duty. He did come up to meet me after his shift was over – it was nice catching up with him.

I had a 2 hour wait at the MSP airport which got extended to 2.5 hours because the flight got delayed. Flight was initially delayed for an hour but luckily it was cut short by 30 minutes and we were airborne. I did watch Episode 14 of Season 8 for House MD. I had wanted to complete the series in US itself a couple of months back, but then I got hooked on to Lost and never got around to finish this series. This was an interesting episode where I found Gregory House (the lead character) take an unexpected turn. But, the way it ended, I have a feeling the Lisa Cuddy will break-up with House after what he said to Lisa. Next episode in the flight to India.

I reached Chicago Airport in about 50 minutes of flight which was all smooth expect the last 10 minutes of turbulence. The plane taxied for 15-20 minutes at the airport and the attendant informed us that it had taxied at every taxiway that exists in the O’Hare terminal – that was something. I did notice that place crossed a bridge over roads and railroad tracks – that was cool (don’t get to see that happen in India). At the airport, I found my way to the Gate – K16 and once I had located the same, went over to Starbucks and got a Mocha and Banana Cake. I also paid up $7 for accessing internet at the Airport. I don’t know why people say it is free at the airport!! It is not. And, here I am – writing this blog post which will be updated when I arrive in Delhi. Time to go and find some other stuff to do on internet :).

Enjoy this until I update this on other side of the planet.

Update

Read the update here.

Road Trip – Trip back home

Day 3 started with a hurry. I had not unpacked my bags, but some stuff did have to be packed back. I was late in getting up and was in a hurry anyways. After being late by 30 minutes, I left bhua’s house and was on my way.

Wierd Tomtom and Cops

As I joined the interstate 65 and was running Northbound, it was all fine until the point when my GPS threw me on another state highway. I was not sure why this happened, but was sure this was going to take longer even with so little traffic. But then I saw a truck behind me with lights flashing. And, I knew I was busted for driving fast. This was a first time and I had no choice to pull over. I stopped the car and waited for the cop to come over. He took my license and car rental details and came back after 5 minutes. Then after a few questions like where I am coming from, Where I am going, I was warned that I should slow down. Lucky for my he did not issue me a ticket and let me go. With a sigh of relief, I went on my way only to find myself driving in an industrial neighborhood which was completely deserted. And then I realized what could have gone wrong. And then I turned over to my GPS and saw that I had selected “Avoid Tolls”  and thats whay GPS was all over the place “What an Idiot” (for myself). I corrected it and I was back on Illinois Tollways. After another 45 minutes I was at Ashi Bhua’s place. Meeting her was very nice and after another hour I was on my way to next stop.

House on the Rock

It was 4.5 hours drive from Bhua’s house. 3.5 hours was on interstate I94 from Milwaukee. But then I turned on to another state Highway. With a speed limit of 70mph, it was not crowded at all. I just put the car in cruise and was cruising on the highway all the way. I did have another car with me – a Red Dodge Durango that was around me for almost 70 miles on that route. We were in front of each other overtaking cars and just flying. We parted ways, as I took exit to the house.

Section 1 has 3 main attractions – The Gate House; which is the entry to the house, The Infinity Room and then the Original House. As I entered the house my first reaction was “hmmm – this is different” and as I progressed I was just amazed and ended up speechless as I exited the house. I was told to take approximately 3 hours for the entire house, but I guess they under estimate the capability of the house. I was alone and still took like 3 hours; I am sure if I was in a group it would have taken anywhere between 4-5 hours to do the entire thing. I loved this so much that I have dedicated an entire blog entry to this. Read my experience here.

Final Drive back home

As I left I almost made it to the “Cave of the Mounds”, but decided it as it would have meant that I would have reached back home only at midnight. So, I asked my tomtom to take me back home and it sure did. However, it did take me to Maustan instead of the route I took while coming in. First 90 minutes of the drive back home was middle of the Wyoming Valley with twisting and turning roads and steep inclines and declines. It was just so wonderful to drive – I could not have beloved that I was able to experience this just at my last road-trip. Along the route, I passed only 3 towns (believe me – 3 towns in 90 minutes of drive – thats was very new for me) – Paine, Loganville and Reedsburg. They were very small towns and LoganVille has population of just 276 people. The street view of the town even though it was like 300 yards was just so different and pleasing to the eyes. Once I touched the interstate (I94) it was a trip back to home with expected areas and a couple of stops for coffee. However, as I joined the interstate from Black Hills, a Green colored Acura sports car joined me and as we overtook other slow moving traffic. We were next to each other for almost 100 miles – taking turns in leading the way. It all ended up around 10pm as I drove into the parking and rested from a wonderful experience.

Why I am going to US?

In last few weeks, I have managed to turned my life into a living nightmare of some sorts. I guess it all started when I took up an assignment on July 2010 for a year. I came back into India for a period of 3 weeks to get Aabhya’s admissions in nursery and get her started on her 14 years of educational journey.

Here I am still in India – for a period of 12 weeks; way more than I could have ever thought about. I have canceled my travel plans twice now and I am staring at travel on March 25 – just 3 days away. And once again, I am going through a phase of seeing Preeti sad and will be seeing Aabhya crying when I am leaving for Airport.

Starting Feb 7, 2011 – till date; I have been thinking about going or not going and I have been oscillating back and forth many times and several times in a day. I had to cancel my trip early March because I just could not take the pressure and thought maybe I can stay back. I was risking termination because of my action of canceling at the very last minutes. However, all things turned out well and currently, I do have an option of saying No to travel for this assignment `at least`. But, once again I am inclined to travel.

Preeti says – she can only see one reason which is “Money” – that I want to earn more money. Well here are my reasons:

  1. Sincerity and Honesty: I have been always sincere in my work – never said something that I could not do and never lied. Until early March when I did lie so that I do not have to travel. And somehow, I have not been at rest since that day. I feel that good things have happened to me in past because I have been honest in what I did; but this time dis-honesty is something that is not cut-out for me. Somehow, inside of me I want to make amends and get done with the assignment that I committed 8 months back
  2. Complacent and Fear: I have reached a point when I have started to find excuses for my doing challenging work – This project makes me work with some of the worst people; who are very politically influenced. I knew this from the start and never wanted to work with them. Last time around, I was kind of forced by fear of termination into this project and when I reached the ground i did quite OK. But, this time I see a chance of getting out and I was inclined to get out of the mess and do something else.
  3. Practicality over emotions: Last week my decision changed because I was offered a set of responsibilities that will provide me an opportunity to work in areas where I have not worked before and may lead me to a promotion by end of this year. I told this to Preeti and she asked me – what are the alternatives; if you do not do this, how long will your promotion be delayed? – I think it may be about another 1 – 2 years. Preeti is right in some sense if I can not sacrifice 2 years for a promotion than leave her and Aabhya for a a period of 4 months. I do not wish to do so because I believe in taking decisions on what I see in front of me right now. I can not foresee any part of the future and hence do not know what is going to be offered to me in upcoming next 2 years. I may or may not get what I am getting now. I do not think I can deal very well seeing people around me grow at a rate faster than me because they lick their boss’s ass and I ca not do that. Hence, my options are fairly limited and this is one opportunity that is going to get me to that place – hopefully.
  4. Career move: After a lot of hunting around in Indian markets, I have realized that there is no future for Architects. That role does not exist in a leadership role – CTO or CIO unless you have your own company or know someone in that position in an Indian company. I have to move over to a Program manager role and the responsibilities I am being offered in my current role, provide me with a very lucrative opportunity to move into that role and still get promoted without loosing any time. If I was to switch into this role now as a PM, it would mean another 2-3 years before I get into a PM stream.

I do see the point that I am going to sacrifice 4 months of my life with my wife and daughter and I am going to loose Aabhya’s early school life. I missed her start of Kindergarten and I am going to miss on her 3 months of Nursery too. I will miss Preeti’s birthday and any other occasions and events that will happen during this time. I will be able to speak to them daily and do video chats as and when possible. I know from past it will not be too frequent given our schedule.

And this is where I get emotional and conflicted. Career over Family? I do not think I am choosing Career or Family. I do feel that I am still choosing my Family over Career because this is step is going to get me to a position in a company where

  • I can continue to work just 8 hours in any given day;
  • Reach a leadership role where travel is limited to once of twice a year for about 1 week at a stretch and;
  • I can not live by a lie and teach my daughter to be of a principle. Although, the lie was for my family  but is a lie nevertheless, a breach of my integrity and ethics. A legacy I do not wish to leave for my daughter. I hope when she grows old she understands me and is able to pardon me for not being for her.

It is not about Money; Money is just a bi-product of what is happening. However, it is an important bi-product and can not be taken out of the equation. In all ways, however I look at it – Family always comes first. Nobody gains by leaving their Family behind to become CEO of a company and get lots of money, big houses, fast cars. All those are crap if you do not have your loved ones next to you when you die. And by no imagination do I want to earn that kind of money and give up the opportunity to spend a life with my family. But, then I can not also ignore the part the there are basic needs and we are at a point when those basic needs have found a way of evolving by themselves and we can not control those – Dad is going to get retired some day, Aabhya is growing up and she will have her own demands. Mum, Dad, Preeti and I are getting older and our health will have certain demands too – both time and money. I am not at a place where I can afford to take an average path and still be able to satisfy all those needs. This is one opportunity that will take me to a Sr. Manager position and will put in a place / position where I can move ahead with a slight advantage and deliver what my Family needs from me.