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A Chapter of my Life

Sarabjeet D Natesan

Author: Sarabjeet D Natesan

Date: Mon, 2016-10-17 20:08

A lot of searching and thinking has finally resulted in these few words (actually a lot more than a few).  About ten months, ago I left the comfort of my home, my peaceful and familiar life, and above all my family, to try out a new position here at SPJIMR.  A new city, new place, new surroundings, new faces new challenges.  Transactional Mumbai! I was overwhelmed. My experience, my age, my maturity (or lack of it), nothing prepared me for this move and the recurring question that not only others but also I asked myself was, ‘Why’? And most of the times I did not have any answer. But I had agreed to a new responsibility, there was a job to be done. And I had to steel myself to adjust to a new place. 


I travelled home as often as I could; I still do. That helped. A lot. My husband and kids visited me often, it helped even more. Then I made some friends, some kind fellow guides and some generous learners who reached out and included me in their circle of friendship. They were not judgmental of me or embarrassed by me, of being seen with me. I met other travellers doing similar things; their journeys similar, their stories different. I spent my spare non-travelling time with them; taking care of and in return being taken care of. Even at this age, I grew up. Understood the randomness of reason and the clear patterns behind the dreams of life. Developed a deeper appreciation for my family; for my husband, who has not only encouraged me to try new things but also stood by me (always); for my daughters who miss me, need me and cry for me yet never ask me to give up. I also learnt to count my blessings when my eldest child took up a job in Mumbai just to be close to me. I realise that there is a lot to be grateful for and a lot more to be thankful for. 

Very early in life, I developed an intrinsic respect for music. My parents, trying to erase the traumas of a cleaved land, filled our house with music. Once again, music has helped me find peace and calmed me, just as it did for an earlier generation. That I never took it to some kind of systematic learning has always been a disappointment of my life. But life compensates. 

The biggest blessing of being at SPJIMR has been the extraordinarily musically and artistically talented young people I have met here. They carry this divine gift so nonchalantly. Their genius is extraordinary. Their goodness is touching and humbling. Their spirit impresses and their brilliance outclasses. Their grace is infectious and their energy palpable. They just want to be happy, have fun and enjoy life in the midst of all other things that they do to live it. For the three cultural events that were orchestrated, they were enthusiastic participants to celebrate our 70th Independence Day, respectful at the Teacher’s Day homage and free-spirited and unrestrained for their Cultural Day outing. 

My team, my band of students, my ADMAP companions; sometimes happy, many a times unhappy, yet never complaining, have been with me for the past three months. Gave me much-needed company and some attitude too, but made this discovery very enjoyable. My deepest gratitude to all of them. And I, at this point in time, I could not be happier and more proud even if I wanted.

 

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Firstly, I would like to thank you ma’am for such a wonderful and vivid description of crossroad faced by you in journey of your life which transcended me to a similar phase in the earlier stages of my life. I am sure it would not have been easy for you to leave behind your abode and your family to undertake your new assignment at SPJIMR. Heraclitus has rightly said that “Change is the only constant.” Often circumstances around us change which could even be daily. Winner is the one who can adapt to this change at the earliest – the same clearly emerges from your account in this blog too. After completion of my post-graduation, juggling the early days of my career I was at a similar cross road whether to move in along with my parents to a different city where my dad was posted or to continue back in Mumbai in my present job. I choose to stay back. Initially it was difficult, coming from a very protected environment of home to stay with a bunch of girls in a flat whom you had never ever met before in your life! The insecurities of the new environment both at home and at work place was immense like the ones faced by you. However, as rightly iterated by you the support of family gives the strength to tide over any adverse situation. This experience helped me appreciate the small nuances of life - something as trivial as the routine chores done by my parents to keep the house running which were probably taken for granted by me earlier. It taught me to appreciate the value of people in my life. It was also a route to self-discovery. I was amazed to decipher the side of mine which was strong, independent and responsible. It also gave me a chance to pursue my interests which I had probably neglected due to other priorities in life. Thus, every choice and every situation in life strengthens you into the person you are meant to become.

Firstly, I would like to thank you ma’am for such a wonderful and vivid description of crossroad faced by you in journey of your life which transcended me to a similar phase in the earlier stages of my life. I am sure it would not have been easy for you to leave behind your abode and your family to undertake your new assignment at SPJIMR. Heraclitus has rightly said that “Change is the only constant.” Often circumstances around us change which could even be daily. Winner is the one who can adapt to this change at the earliest – the same clearly emerges from your account in this blog too. After completion of my post-graduation, juggling the early days of my career I was at a similar cross road whether to move in along with my parents to a different city where my dad was posted or to continue back in Mumbai in my present job. I choose to stay back. Initially it was difficult, coming from a very protected environment of home to stay with a bunch of girls in a flat whom you had never ever met before in your life! The insecurities of the new environment both at home and at work place was immense like the ones faced by you. However, as rightly iterated by you the support of family gives the strength to tide over any adverse situation. This experience helped me appreciate the small nuances of life - something as trivial as the routine chores done by my parents to keep the house running which were probably taken for granted by me earlier. It taught me to appreciate the value of people in my life. It was also a route to self-discovery. I was amazed to decipher the side of mine which was strong, independent and responsible. It also gave me a chance to pursue my interests which I had probably neglected due to other priorities in life. Thus, every choice and every situation in life strengthens you into the person you are meant to become.

Life is a journey with problems to solve, lessons to learn but most important of all experiences to enjoy When I began my MBA program, my son was just a year old and the decision to pursue it leaving him back home with my parents was a difficult choice. Many of us are not bold enough to take the initiative to study after having kids. We presume that children will be a hindrance on our way to excel. Nevertheless, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. When I started my journey here in SPJIMR the guilt of not spending time with my son would always haunt me. But when I think of it now, If I had settled to continue working and not taken the leap to study further would I be able to give the time to my son that I am not able to give him now. The answer is no as I would have to leave my baby in a day-care whilst I was in some corporate office far away from him. At least today my son is his with his grandparents, nurtured, pampered by them and surrounded by his own people all the time. I do not live in the fear of a stranger mistreating my child. This stint away from home has help bring out a stronger and independent side of me and taken me on a route of self-discovery. The time away from home has also made me more thankful to my parent for all the sacrificed they have made to help me achieve my dreams

While reading your blog I went into a flashback. It was July 2011; I got admission in my dream college in Mumbai for chemical engineering. I was very happy as I accomplished my dream. But, the thought of leaving home was haunting. Till my HSC I have been into adventure camps and had to live away from the house for coaching classes. But, that wasn’t more than a month. I never encountered the real world outside, as my world was limited to family and few friends. I was pampered as a kid in almost all things. Be it my likes and dislikes about food to my demands. I don’t remember I had to go to a shop alone to buy any stuff. Mom or Dad always used to be my side or they used to get things for me when I needed them even if they had to go again after coming from the office. It is not that they never wanted me to be independent but I never bothered to take things in my hand. And thus my initial days were tough when I landed in Mumbai. Right from opening the bank account, buying snacks, maintaining track of expenses were the things, which made me realize that I have a lot to learn. I made new friends at college and slowly I started moving into a comfort zone. However, I used to miss home many times. This is when I used to go to my second home- Uncles place. The place where I feel homely. The times when I couldn’t visit them, they used to visit me with homemade food. They were the ones who helped me and were always there whenever I needed. It took me a couple of months to get into the flow and of course the feel of Mumbai. But today when I look back, I feel proud of myself that I completed six years in this wonderful city and now I have many homes to visit over weekends.

Such an inspiring piece of writing this is! Thank you, ma’am, this blog has made me reminisce my days when I left home for the first time and took refuge among friends and hobbies. It has also made me aware of changes in my attitude towards dealing with change itself. I totally agree that it is good to be among the pack than be a lone ranger. In fact, the new world order has made it even more evident that entities (businesses) that do not collaborate and adapt to change quickly run out of business. We do not know if this trend is here to stay, but while we are here, we might as well dance to its tunes! I remember my mother sobbing and my sister morose as dad and I left base to get me admitted to my engineering college. I tried to be strong and hid my tears only to cry later in the arms of my grandmother (she lived in the same city as my college). Winds of change were making their way into my rather soft life. I had to face a lot of uncertainties and used to fear almost everything. Having three familiar faces as room-mates helped a lot in first year. Second year onwards it was the unnatural alliances I made with people and how some of those connections turned into friendship was insightful. I understood that we need a pack of our own while not giving away to the herd mentality. My friends and I looked after one another’s back and we stick together even now. Fast forward to my life at SPJIMR, I have done all things similar except one. That is the reason why I made friends. I have made 5 very good friends but it was not because I wanted a pack. It was because I found my frequencies matched with equal energy and vigour. They are not a necessity in my life, but when they are around, they bring out the best in me. Be it humour, sarcasm, academic excellence or philosophical overtures. I am grateful that I found friends as such. Moreover, as opposed to Facebook as a hobby in engineering, I have taken up the art of analysing people and events as a newfound love. Reading books on strategy and personal development have taken over the watching of romantic and often unreal TV series. These are signs of maturity I believe (please guide me how I can do better) and it makes me feel so lucky to be here at SPJIMR. Every day I wake up, I have no regrets going about my day and admiring the awesome people who are my classmates and my professors. This is a positive change in my life and I hope more of such changes come my way in the future. I completely agree with you ma’am that family is a huge support and our friends are a big motivation for us. They are our rainbows in the storm of life. Thank you once again for this brilliant and insightful blog.

Dear Madam, It was a pleasure reading your story and want to thank you for sharing the same. While I was reading your blog, I could sense that the writing came from a very emotional space. I can only imagine how hard it must have been to take the decision to move to SPJIMR. It takes great courage at this age in life to be willing to sacrifice comfort and family, and move to a new city in order to pursue something you believe in. I have always lived my life away from home and can to some extent relate to your experience. My education and my career choices set me to a path where I was mostly on my own, away from the comforts of my home in Kathmandu, Nepal. I have done my schooling till 10th standard from the hills of Darjeeling, my 12th from the capital New Delhi, and my graduation from the hot city of Warangal, Telangana. My subsequent job at Hyderabad and my current decision to pursue an MBA at SPJIMR Mumbai sees me adapt to different cultures, people, weather etc. My family has been of great support and has always pushed me forward and sacrificed a lot to help me succeed. It gets very emotional every time I am heading back from home. I use these emotions to work that much extra hard so that there is a time when I am successful enough and can afford to bring my parents to live with me and make up for all the time spent away. It was really nice to know the immense support your husband and your children have given you. It is this support that keeps us going. I am sure that, like me, you can relate to the phrase “Absence makes the heart grow fonder”. While this journey of ours keeps us away from family, it also gives us the opportunity to new experiences and new people. You get to meet so many different people, each with a different story to tell. Some stories stick with us and we end up becoming good friends with them. These friends become part of our support system and help us through our highs and lows. I am glad that you have found some comfort in the friendships with your fellow guides and your ADMAP committee members at SPJIMR. Three months into my SPJIMR journey, with all the stress of deadlines and examinations I too have relied on the bonding with my newly made friends at SPJIMR to keep myself going. In the end, all the hardships faced and the friendships formed help up grow as a human being and enrich our lives.

Thank you so much ma’am for sharing your story and your experiences. Reading this reminded me of the time when I left the comfort of my home and family for the first time. In today’s world, most children in our country shift to hostels at the age of 18 to pursue various courses. However, I was lucky enough to be enrolled at an engineering college in Bangalore, the same city where I had been living since childhood. Soon enough, I graduated and luck favored me again. I got a job at a company in Bangalore where I worked for 3 long years while living in the comfort of my home where I always had my family to bank upon. But fate had something else in store for me. I decided that I want to pursue a degree in management and obviously my aim was get into a good B school in Bangalore. However, I got admission at SPJIMR and I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to study in one of the premier B schools in India. I was upset over having to leave my home, my family and my friends whom I have known from so long. I was scared to move to a new city where I knew no one. But over and above these emotions, was the excitement to study in a premier B school, meet new people from diverse backgrounds and make new friends. I was very anxious and nervous, and soon came the day when I had to leave to Mumbai. For the first time in my life, I was alone. I did not have my family around. I was very scared and anxious, but soon enough I realized what a wonderful place I have come to! The professors, my classmates and batch mates made this journey fun and exciting for me. I learnt and got to do new things that I have never done before. I made close friends. I made friends with whom I can brainstorm on new ideas. I am very happy and content to be here. I realized how quickly one can make new friends in a new place and also find comfort in their presence. Staying up the whole night, working on assignments and competitions, time management etc made me realize that there is so much more to learn that what I had previously done. PG lab gave me insights on my abilities, my strengths I can leverage and my weaknesses that I plan to work on in these 1.5 years. The journey so far has been mesmerizing and insightful and I look forward to more and more fun on this campus. I would like to thank you once again for making me relook my journey to SPJIMR.

Dear Ma’am, thank you for sharing a very interesting and inspiring chapter of your life. It is definitely not easy for anyone to leave behind family or friends and take up new roles & responsibilities at a place which can be culturally very diverse. It must have been very difficult for you to take this decision but your “never give up” attitude and the use of music as a source of motivation is truly inspiring. I could instantly connect to your experience as this is the first time in 25 years that I am away from my family for more than 4 months now. I was born in a family of teachers and completed my schooling and engineering from Hyderabad. The city being a hub to a large number of IT companies helped me land up with a job in Hyderabad. My school, college, and the workplace were all just a few kilometers away from my home. All through my college days, I wondered why most of my friends who stayed away from home would not participate in a holiday plan and instead prefer to go home and spend time with their family. To my mind, it is important for every individual to have an experience of living away from family. It does teach you a lot. Being independent, taking care of yourself and understanding yourself at a deeper level. With all these thoughts in mind, I moved out of Hyderabad and landed in the city of Mumbai at SPJIMR in June 2017 to pursue my MBA. I started this new journey with great enthusiasm and a little nervousness of meeting new people. The fact that I will have a new home and a family at SPJIMR added to my nervousness. The bonds of friendship did form quickly and helped me settle in no time. However, as time passed, I also learned what family really means and started appreciating little things. I realized how my mother, despite having a hectic day, was always patient enough to have a conversation every night on how my day unfolded. With all the stress of the assignments, exam and getting out of bed to attend the 8:30 classes, I make sure to call my mother every night and talk for some time. This small talk with my family makes me feel good and close to getting a hug. I can now relate to all the students in my undergrad college who always wanted to book holidays more often to see their family than to hang out with their friends. However, with such amazingly talented and friendly people around at SPJIMR, every day brings in something new to learn and explore. It is not just helping me grow as an individual but also providing me with the right motivation to value the presence of my family.

Thank you, Ma’am, for sharing your story. I can totally relate to it as I have lived with my family for the last 23 years, that is my entire life, and coming to SPJIMR to do my post-graduation had all the fears and anxieties going inside me. First of all, taking the decision to leave the job that I had been doing for the last 2 years and getting back into academics was a big change. I was worried whether I will get admission in any good college or not. But that change was very important for me and I had to adjust to it as it was going to decide my entire career. Then after getting the admission, I was worried if I will be able to adjust in the new city, will I make good friends, how is this hostel life going to be were the questions that kept coming in my mind. But today I know one thing for sure, I am in love with this change. I love Mumbai, I have made some amazing friend and this MBA life is not so bad either. I am loving this journey. I am sure it would have been very difficult for you to leave behind your husband and children and take up something completely new. It takes a lot of courage to make a new move altogether at later age of your life. Not many people can actually come out of their comfort zones and start something anew out of the fear of non-acceptance by the new people and failure in the new field. But Ma’am, this goes on to show that if you are passionate about something in your life, your family, your age, your circumstances can never act as a constraint but only as a support, an anchor, that holds you, supports you and moves alongside of you to see you accomplish your desire. The only thing constant is anybody’s life is change. Be it in the form a people, relationship, jobs, or any external factor, change is bound to happen. And those who can adapt well to the changes are the ones who achieve happiness and success in their lives. Change is not only important at the personal level but at the organizational level as well. Taking example of Nokia, we all noticed, that a company as huge as Nokia could not survive because they could not realise that the world is changing, consumers’ demands are changing, the competition is changing. Adapting to change is difficult but is very important because when you face new challenges, meet new people and deal with new situations, not only it helps you become stronger but also shapes your personality. In SPJIMR, I am learning how to adapt to change. Every day, I do various activities with different groups which have different sets of people. This is making me accustomed to the change as I get to experience difference in opinion and perception. It helps me bring necessary changes in my behaviour. This change will help me in shaping my personality and ultimately making me a better person.

Dear Ma’am, Thank you for sharing your story. I was really inspired by the fact that in order to embrace change and hence seize new opportunities, you were willing to step out of your comfort zone even at this stage of your life. While reading your blog, I was reminded of my past experiences and how difficult it was for me to cope with new locations, diverse cultures and most importantly different people. When I was in my 3rd grade, my family moved to Australia and with that everything changed. I had to leave behind my friends and find my way in a completely different setting. Due to the lack of proficiency in English, basic communication became an issue. Also, I was an introvert and that only exacerbated the situation. Cultural differences and racial discrimination also played their own part to add to my troubles and challenges. I felt I was backed up against the wall at every moment and I think adverse moments like these help make or break a person. Luckily in my case, it transformed me as a person. I realized the only reason I felt challenged by my situation was because of the fact that I feared defeat and hence was sceptical about change. I hence used this very notion as an inspiration to change myself. My family definitely played an indispensable part in this. The continuous discussions with my parents and my elder sister only bolstered my confidence levels and helped me absorb the new environment. I emerged as an extrovert and indulged myself in conversations with people from diverse cultures and backgrounds. In the process, I built a strong and a dependable network with some very dynamic people and their stories have only stimulated my hunger to explore newer avenues in life. After my 7th grade, my family decided to move back to India but this time around there were no insecurities. I had already realized the importance of change and was only excited by the new opportunities that would come my way and further help in expanding my network. I studied in four different schools across two countries and I think that really helped me hone my adaptability skills. I think every new situation that I faced in my life strengthened me as an individual and also made me more independent. But at the same time I confess that this journey would have been twice as hard without my loved ones continuously around me. It is really commendable that you decided to come to SPJIMR, leaving behind your family. I completely agree with your point of view of how friends and family can help you adjust and make the new journey worthwhile. I too am really looking forward to my next two years at SPJIMR as I am sure it will be nothing short of an adventure.

Dear ma’am, I’m in love with your blogs! Read all of them. Thank you for sharing such an inspiring chapter of your life. Generally students can’t relate to a teacher’s life since it is at a very different stage, things, events and situations are not relatable and even the state of mind is not. However, post reading your blogs, I’ve started relating to you so much. The present blog made me realise that parting ways and starting new chapters of life can start at any point of our life. It’s not just the student life or the initial work life where we have to travel and leave behind people, things and familiar surroundings. The article teaches us a lot. Generally after initial 10-15 years of work people get into a very calm and relax mode, their attitude towards life changes and the zeal to grow and learn is no longer present. However, your story is truly inspiring and teaches us to never stop learning. It must have been very difficult for you to take the step of moving out leaving your family behind but your “always challenge yourself” attitude didn’t let you. You’ve always inspired us to challenge ourselves and do things which we don’t like or which requires extra efforts on our end. This personally reminds me of the time I approached you with my committee change request for medical reasons and you gave me reasons to why I should not do that. You gave me the strength to face the new challenges and gave me a sneak peek into future where building on the “never give up” attitude would help. I have always been a person who has always lived in my comfort zone, with my parents to pamper me. Being the only child for 10 years, I’ve received a lot of attention and care and it was indeed very difficult for me to move out of that zone of mine for the first time when I was coming to SPJIMR, Mumbai. For 21 years I’ve stayed in Delhi with my parents and hence leaving both my house, my city and my family was very tough. However, just like you I found good friends here to take care of, to be taken care by and to hang out with. Also, the MBA curriculum is so busy that I don’t get much time to miss or talk to my parents. However, I miss my 11 year old brother a lot. Being an introvert he hardly talks to me over calls. My parents force him to, but in vain. I somehow feel that I’m losing that connect with him which we had. We used to talk about his studies, his teachers, new types of food which I used to make him taste (and later getting scolded from my mother for making him a fan of all the unhealthy things). But since I’ve shifted to Mumbai, I’ve talked to him for hardly 15 minutes in total in 3 months. (Or maybe even less). I do realise that I cannot be at the same place as he is, always and hence I’ve to make this relationship work, the hard way. After reading this blog there is a sudden motivation in me to take on this challenge. I’ve a few ways in mind already. Hope the tables will turn soon.

Subject – A Chapter of my Life Author: Sarabjeet D Natesan Date: Mon, 2016-10-17 20:08 Reply: Dear Madam, Thank you for sharing an interesting part of your life. First of all, I would like to appreciate the fact that you stepped out of your comfort zone at such a stage of your life when you could have easily chosen not to and lead a much easy and comfortable life. While I was reading your blog, I could actually relate it with my mother’s life. She used to work and at the same time take care of our family. She could have easily chosen to be at home and just take care of us. Not saying that being a housewife is easy. Normally, it happens that students/kids do not understand the hardships a teacher/ mother undergoes and are not able to relate to that. It is very difficult for not just the women who is going leave her husband and children and pursue her career in a completely different city, but also difficult for the kids and the husband who would have to manage on their own. Glad to know that your family supported your decision and encouraged you to carry on. This goes on to show that if you are determined and passionate about anything and that too at any stage of your life, everyone who are close to you will definitely understand the same and will stand by you as a support and not as a deterrent. The other thing which I liked about your story was that you not only took the challenge but also enjoyed the journey. The emotions which you have shared with your office colleagues, your band of students or your ADMAP companion’s helps us understand that it’s not just about accepting challenges, but also about being positive and enjoying such moments too. Your story is indeed inspiring and motivates me to take on some new challenges. Thanks again for sharing your story.

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