Life has been very difficult in the past few days. It has been diffcult to breathe, let alone live, walk, talk. Write. It is as if we have been constantly under siege.
We have two professionals coming in from Afghanistan for advanced GIS training and we need to arrange for their boarding and lodging as well. This is freaking us out.I mean the bit about ‘boarding and lodging’. We are thinking along the lines of maintaining a small guesthouse on behalf of the company which could host people from outside the NCR region for a few days as and when required. Chandrakant is leaving for Mumbai this week for ground truthing and collection of GCP’s. We would like to wish him best of luck.
It is always diffciult to draw boundaries. To stand up for what we believe in regardless of what the others think. It is always easier to give in. To belong. To go with the crowd. I think this is why our life will always be difficult. On many fronts. For me and for Appu. The cops, the landlords, the un-deserving, the immature , the system will always try and crush our self-respect.
The bankers are also breathing down our backs. The instalment and the interest is being paid every month but now they need more transactions. Maybe we should sell a few grams of cocaine. That is the only way we can make money overnight and give them the transactions or the turnover or the money. Any which way. That is why so many scams happen and then we wonder what the hell is happening and why.
‘Normalcy’. Are you mad? What is normally normal?
Maybe the abnormal is normal. And the sane, more insane.
Still looking for ‘normal’. Keep looking buddy. It does not exist.
‘The normal normal’.
Appu has finished her exams. The rats in the office have been taken care of. Now it is the ants causing nuisance value in the pantry. And there is this long list of rations to be bought for the office. And another list of bills to be paid. But that is another story in another reference frame. Need to let go of the fear around ‘money’ issues. There was enough yesterday. There is enough today and there will be enough tommorrow. ‘Money’ and ‘self respect’. Tough combination. Its difficult for both of them to live together. One is very quick to leave when the other arrives. Or let us say, one always comes at the cost of the other. So trying to have them both is a formidable task. One we have been trying to achieve for a very long time now.
Father has sent me a mail. Acknowledging that the ‘family’ ‘deserted’ me when I needed them the most. It is the truth. And now it is in the open. But what can I do with this acknowledgement? Does the acknowledgment of a crime take away its consequences? The damage has already been done. And what is done is done. Cannot reverse the time clock unless of course Einsteins’ theory of relativity could be applied here.
The online shop is in shape. The payment gateway is still in the testing stage and there is concern about it, but there is nothing much we can do about it. Time will take time. Just keeping our fingers crossed. Hariom and Ashok are struggling with the basics of the software application. ‘Struggle’. A very familiar state of being for us.
Nothing earth shattering as of now. Just the same routine. Just following the routine is taking all our energy, all our time. If we can keep up the routine, it will be a huge achievement.
Just being alive is an achievement. That is the bottomline.
‘Being happy’ would be too much to ask for. A topline so to say.
Too much to ask for.
Chandan, Om Prakash and Ashok stayed back in the office last night. Kuch to ho jayega. I do not think we will die. With a committed team one cannot fall. But I do hope that this committment, patience and perseverance can last. Till the mission is achieved. Even after the infatuation with the job is over.That is until we become completely self supporting. emotionally, spiritually and financially.
Are we a brand? Or an anti brand? People ask me: ‘dhandha vanda karna hai ki nahin? itni honesty se kya hoga?’ I do not know. maybe this is not the way to run a business. But I do not know of any other way. Or let us say that any other way would mean losing out on self respect which is what we wanted in the first place. Cannot trade ‘self respect for ‘money’. So if that means that we live and die on the battlefield, so be it.
Still ‘looking’ for work. ‘waiting’ for a miracle.
Open the shop. Suit up, boot up and show up. nothing more. nothing less.
Interviews, accounts, pantry, admin,plants. Like breathing.
An everyday job.
Maybe we have taken on too much. The Chennai project (which is the only paid project as of now), ‘the online shop’ and the ‘software development’. There is tiredness. All the five working days of the week extend late into the night and still we are not being able to get a grip on all the projects. Adam and Paul are too busy to integrate the shop with our website. Ankit and Bhagat are yet to become fluent in cartographing the maps using Illustrator, hence the rate of finalization of the maps is very slow. Ashok is also grappling with the surfaces so there is a long way to go before we are ready for running a spatial query, leave alone the launching of the software.
Running the house and the office is getting more and more difficult. House help is becoming increasingly expensive and arrogant. The maids for all their helplessness are quite aware that the functioning of the house or office depends on them and have no qualms in using this to their advantage as and when required. Ditto for the office. Thankfully, Ramesh has come in today to get the rations for the office. So at least that tension has been taken care of. The rains are causing havoc in the office. The water is entering from every window and door. It is going to be very expensive to get a false roof welded to all the doors and windows and we are hoping that the landlord will get it done (a high hope we must say).
My thoughts are running in all the directions at a crazy speed. Appu is going through some emotional turmoil. I am not able to reach her or connect with her. I am sure the stress of living on her own (since I am mostly in the office) and being alone all the time has taken its toll on her. Her admission has been done but the classes are yet to begin.
Honor, money, self-respect, knowledge are all mixed up for me. The team is motivated but we are dealing with years of conditioning here. It is difficult to get the best out of them. The work is done but not in the best possible manner and that is a sure sign of being a loser. To do a job just for the sake of doing it. Its being neither here, nor there. And then we turn around and blame anything and anyone for our ‘not being a success’ in the outside world. It is exhausting to get each one to give their best.
Our balance sheet is healthy this time. ‘Healthy’, you must be joking right? I mean we were barely surviving a few months ago. Actually, we were on the verge of extinction when the miracle happened. so our genre of species has been saved for now. And we have a better looking balance sheet (just like gettng good marks) and the world (and the bankers) will allow us to live in peace. Thank God!
I need to be with the trees for a while. This whole ‘chakkar’ of bills, money, balance sheets, manipulation is emotionally very exhausting. It devalues human spirit like nothing else. And yet, there is no running away from this. What would a ‘normal’ life mean? What is normally ‘normal’? Or is there any difference between the ‘abnormal’ and the ‘normal’ anymore?
‘Aaj ki ‘dhyadi’ (daily wages) ki baat socho bhaiya. The rest is all ‘intellectual garbage’.
That is all that matters.
‘Aaj ki Dhyadi’.
‘Back off’. This is the message we sent out to a real estate client who was breathing down our back. Allow us to breathe. We are here to offer our services. Not to sell our ‘self-respect’. Actually there is an inversely proportional relationship between the two. The more self-respect one is willing to give up, the more money one can make. And more often than not, the choice is extremely difficult, specially when there are bank instalments and salaries and rent to pay.
The bank, the bills, the salaries. All are here to stay (of course). Appu’s exams begin from tommorrow. We have finished the Gurgaon project and the Chennai work is on its way to completion. We have yet to clear the adhoc limit sanctioned by the bank and the service tax also needs to be paid. Can’t one just live. just be. Just breathe without the system, the rules, the regulations, the pressure to ‘do’. ‘to perform’ so to say.
I guess, we should be OK for a month. That is huge. we were earlier talking in terms of hours and days. The catch is that people think we have become big (bigger than what we were) and that is not true at all. We are just safer than we were in terms of our bread and butter. But since everyone just looks at the ‘outside’, there is absolutely nothing to be done. So we are appearing to be ‘successful’ (compared to when we were on the verge of being thrown out by the landlord). But ‘success’ is a very relative and fleeting term in this world.
So here we are. The ‘underdogs’.
Are we trying to prove a point? No. It has already been made.
In place of ‘trying to live’, allow us to just ‘live’.
How does it feel when an ongoing war is over? How does it feel to see the loss, the dead bodies littered all over the battle field, the loss of relationships, of sanity, of self respect? Even if the war has been won? Does the victory matter anymore? or the fact that we have survived? I do not know.
Is there a sense of relief? Maybe. Is there a sense of loss? Definitely. Overwhelmingly (is there such a word?)
What would the survivors of a concentration camp have to say? That they were glad they lived. Or they wished that they had died before seeing the cruelty of man against man? What can we say? That fnally we are not banging our heads against the ‘sarkari wall’. That finally the banks are not after our life. It does not matter where the money is coming from. We could be selling drugs or ourselves. The banks give a damn. The money should come in somehow. Theek hai. Take the money. Then what is this preaching about white and black money? we should just be talking about money.
Shikha and Mehtaab are back. There was a possibility of them running out of money and we requested Silakari of Akar consultants to chip in if required but he flatly refused. It was not his reponsibility to pay for the tickets or the hotel. The ‘smallness of men’. It never ceases to amaze me. I should have been used to it by now but like a die hard optimistic, I continuously keep searching for the basic goodness in men (and women). All the data has been submitted and we have about 60% of the due payment. Of course it will go towards clearing the adhoc limit taken from the bank (where else can it go?)
My laptop got stolen long ago and I have not been able to replace it. But it appears that I may be able to get one out of the term loan sanctioned to us by the bank in the next fortnight. That would be quite a releif. I have been using the PC meant to be a server and it keeps shutting down ( just like me I guess). And it has been tough asking the clients to arrange for a laptop for making presentations in front of AAI (Airport Authority of India).
Exams, rations for the house and office, bills (Ah the bills), plumber, the car repair, payments,clients, the online shop. OK. Deep breath. Tackle one thing at a time.
The weekend is here.
Once again, Thank God for small mercies.
Our plotter has started working. Can you beat that? Its nothing short of a miracle. After lying for more than six months at the service center, its back and its functioning. No more ‘chakkars’ to Nehru Place, no more conversion of files to jpeg format for getting into a ‘print ready’ mode. And best of all, no more worries about the shop getting closed. We can print what we want, when we want in the office. Thank you HP (Higher Power).
I love the morning sun rays streaming in through the window panes. It seems as if goodwill and abundance is flowing into our lives after a very long time. Appu has her dance performance today at the Talkatora stadium and I will not be able to go to office today. But I am not worried anymore. Narendra and Dimpi can look after the projects and Shiva can take care of the office and accounts. Its OK. There is no need to panic. Sandeep is back after the survey and all we need to do now is superimpose the HT-LT data and the municipal boundaries on the base map and prepare the layout of the maps for printing (in-house of course)and submission.
Thank you God. For letting us live with self respect. For allowing us a way of life where we can work and still be free. For giving us an opportunity to create an environment where each one of us can be a leader.
For letting us be fully human and fully alive.