If 2009 was one of the worst years we have had in recent times, largely due to my wife’s illness ; 2010 was a great come back year, due again to her improved health. Deepa’s myasthenia now seems to have ,thankfully, gone into remission .She withstood a two day off site event we had conducted with the Nokia senior leadership team & their spouses, at Samode Bagh, in February ; her first one to many contact in the last two years. A trip to Cochin & Kotayyam for Nitish’s wedding and an arduous seven day trip by road to Dharamshala, Dalhousie and Amritsar were other events she withstood well. We sold her old Maruti Zen that had been in disuse for over the past two years and purchased a Maruti Swift. It was one of the nicest features of the year to see her back to her confident self, driving around on her own as before, and as always helping others. Thanks to the Almighty and the professional care of Dr Vinit Suri, her illness may be a thing of the past.
On the professional front the year gone by ,was a mixed bag .As I had resolved to do at the start of the year ,I threw myself into managing the computing side of the business & ensuring the tough integration of the sales teams across other lines of the distribution business took place smoothly. We disrupted many people and caused the usual heart burn that accompanies any major change. We faced problems in management of the field operations that needed ironing out and over a couple of months did manage to bring order into the new scheme of things. Many long and tiring days of travel to distant parts of the country were needed for this. But the expected out comes eluded us and in July the Company switched back to the earlier mode of a separate Computing division , now integrated with the SME and B2B laptop operations . This isn’t the place to go into a detailed analysis of what needs to be done to “fix” this business area , suffice to say that many changes where needed to get the lap top business back on rails and unfortunately even now one doesn’t see these investments and efforts being made.
Business in the other segments of the distribution operations went on reasonably well .We had a great Nokia Gears sales conference at Gleneagles, Scotland .I had always wanted to visit Scotland and this was like a wish come true. Though we didn’t get to see much of life around Scotland, the settings at Gleneagles and the country side surrounding it were out of the world. An enduring memory will be the Conference dinner, where we were all lead into the dinning hall by a Scottish piper with all of us dressed in Scottish kilts!! I have lovely photos and a few videos of this event. I was surprisingly awarded the prize (a bottle of single malt Scottish whiskey) for being the most improved novice at the clay pidgin shooting gallery!!
Other business trips took me to Dubai and Singapore .Both interesting and different meets .I was particularly happy with both, more so the elaborate preparation and out come of the Singapore meet. I missed the annual Nokia Sales Summit, held this year at Australia, as Shirish, Corina and her parents were in town at the same time as the conference. Missed this trip quite a bit as I was looking forward to meeting the old St Mary’s “gang “ at Melbourne .I would also have got to witness the Melbourne Cup if I had attended the conference. More about the St Mary’s gang a little later!
Some of my year start resolutions included getting started with bicycling and photography as part of my post retirement activity preparation. Bicycling went off to a great start. I bought a Schwinn Searcher sports cycling and after pottering around by my self for several months, was introduced to a more professional group, the GK Bikers, through Vijay Dhawan from HCL. Since then it has been a great experience. I have ambitiously enrolled to participate in a 300 km cycling event in Rajasthan, a 3 day event in mid Feb 2011 .I will need to practice & train like hell and in the spirit of adventure, I am going all out to make the grade for the event and to participate creditably.
Likewise I purchased a Canon 1000D Digital SLR camera and have made forays into more thoughtful and serious photography .In 2011 I would surely join a couple of photo safaris organised by the Canon Edge Photo Club. I do love photography and together with my love for the out doors, hiking, cycling & photography seem a great combination of activities for me post retirement.
Travel and leisure was an important part of 2010 .Shirish, Corina & her parents, as I said earlier, come to be with us for a 3 week vacation. It was a pleasure having them with us .The early days were a challenge as Sheikh Sarai was jam packed with people , so we had to put them up in a near by Motel .There after they came down to Sheikh Sarai and experienced the flavour of living with an Indian family. Family engagement with the larger family was at its peak all through 2010 starting with Nitish’s wedding and subsequent visit to Delhi and then the visit by Chitramaman & Sheila and the Hensens.
Partying with the extended family was the order of the day for the first week of the Hensens stay .The highlight being the Tequila shots many of us had, in special glasses for the occasion, all courtesy Leksmi & Nitish .Thereafter it was a week in Dharamshala, Dalhousie & Amritsar .Bit of a tough and tiring road journey this was but I felt it did give our foreign guest a feel of an India they may not otherwise have got to see. Our OSA Partners helped at each place to enable us to see places of tourist interest .At Amritsar we got to see the ceremony at the Wagah border and the Golden Temple, both of which moved our guests quite a lot.
A very heart warming occurrence this year was the old class mates of St Mary’s batch of ’64 getting in touch .Many of them are in Melbourne and with the commendable initiative of Rodney Waples, Cedric & Srivatsa, a large number of our classmates are now in email contact .We have a yahoo group for our “gang” and have posted many photos of the old buddies. Very many of them are difficult to recognize given that over 40 years have gone by since we last met. I am really glad we can be in touch and I hope to do my bit to be a catalyst for the reunion of these old school chums.
All in all 2010 was a great year and we do hope 2011 will be equally good for us with good health, happiness and prosperous circumstances. My corporate tenure is moving to a close, with about a year or so to go. My successor has joint a few months back and it will be my responsibility to see that he settles in well and takes over from me in a phased manner. This will mean that I have to recalibrate my roles & responsibilities in the office and transit into a new and final phase. What I would like to do is to spend a great portion of my time on human resources development and mentoring for the company as a whole .I will also need to bring to a successful close certain very key programmes which have great strategic importance for the company and will be a brilliant note to end on, for me. How I conduct myself and engage in the operations of the company will need to be far different than hitherto .I hope I have the wisdom to carry out these changes and engagements for the good of the company.
2011 will continue to be a year of preparation for the post retirement phase. Before the first month of the New Year is over, I will finalise what precisely I would like to do post retirement and use the year in preparation for the same. So help me God!!