Last week while discussing on our School Whatsapp group about some of the positives that have emerged out of this Covid crisis, one of my friends mentioned that the free time on hand due to lockdown had given him the opportunity to think whether so much of material things in the past was really out of habit, necessity or just being part of the rat race. This made me think and realise that what he was contemplating now during lockdown was exactly what I did a decade ago. But I didn’t just let my thoughts remain thoughts, and actually put them in action. It changed my life completely. With this Blog post I am sharing the changes I did in my life, post realisation that being part of the rat race was simply not worth it and that life was meant for living and enjoying and not just earning money.
I used to tour for business around 15-20 days in a month. Over the next 5 years, I slowly and consciously reduced this to 3-4 days per month. By then I had realised what most people and Corporates are realising today, post this COVID crisis, that business is possible with minimum travelling and working from home is not entirely impossible. In the subsequent years I reduced my travelling further and since last couple of years, I attend only the Seminars, Conferences and important workshops in my trade. All business is over phone, email and WhatsApp only. All this helped me to spend quality time with my family and it was quite noticeable, that they enjoyed it too. Most importantly I could derive the simple pleasures of life, like spending more quality time with my parents, staying in regular touch with my school/college friends, dropping and picking up my kids from school and tution classes, attending my Kids extra curricular events, regular household shopping with my wife and indulging in our weekly romantic Bullet ride to the picturesque Assolna and Betul villages, to purchase fresh fish. All of this was a welcome addition to my life , apart from the 1 or 2 yearly holidays we used to take earlier as well.
I increased my daily exercise routine, from 30 minutes to 60 minutes. This helped raise my fitness levels to put in more work hours and also allowed me to continue indulging in all the choicest food items, which being a foody, I really loved to eat. I also started visiting temples more frequently and attending the various festivals and Utsavs there. This helped me achieve extreme peace of mind and confidence that the Almighty is there to take care of my problems. .
I strongly believe that life is incomplete without hobbies. So I decided to pursue my hobbies, which had got lost somewhere on the road to my career. I had learned Tabla during school for 3 years, but could never take it forward. But singing has always been the closest to my heart and I always wanted to learn that. So I joined Hindustani classical Vocal Music classes at the age of 39. Initially it was tough, leaving my factory at 5.30 pm to attend classes at 6 pm, thrice a week, but I managed somehow. That is when I learnt the concept of work from home as I used to come home from my classes and then spend a couple of hours before dinner to catch up on the lost work hours. Been learning Hindustani Classical Singing for 10 years now. Feels nice to be a Businessman and still be able to go on stage and sing in front of a 500 plus Audience, with a live Music Band comprising Goa’s best Musicians. For that matter even the routine Riyaaz I do in my Car, while driving to work or the occasional humming I do in private, really helps me relax. You will agree that the overall experience of singing, even for that matter, in the Bathroom, is extremely invigorating and de-stressing. .
My desire to excel in singing came from my drive to take my Mom’s legacy forward. She is an exceptionally good, trained, Classical Singer, who has learnt Hindustani Classical Sangeet for 15 years and sung on All India Radio and even won Competitions on AIR. My father on the other hand is a damn good actor, but his acting career never took off beyond our Sanvorcatto ( that’s our local Wado) in our Cuncolim village of Goa. Well, but he surely inspired me to restart my acting hobby. Today I act regularly in dramas conducted during festivals at our Kuldaivat, Shree Ramnath temple in Ponda, Goa. The rehearsals are time consuming, but they are usually on weekends and most importantly they help me be in touch with my Acting friends. Believe me there is nothing greater than the feeling of putting on makeup and going on stage with the Lord’s idol in front of you. Most of the temple stages in Goa are set in front of the deity’s idol. The photographs and videos are a bonus and serve as long term memories.
I had joined Goa State Industries Association (GSIA), the apex body representing MSMEs in Goa some 16 years back, to try and solve the problems of our Cuncolim Industries. Over the past decade or so, as my business stabilised, I have increased my involvement with the Association and today I am the Hon. Secretary of this vibrant and dynamic Association. We have been actively involved in resolving the issues of the Goan MSMEs and are striving to create an Industry friendly climate in Goa, implementing Ease of Doing Business in the real sense of the term. Through GSIA, I have been actively involved with various government bodies like Goa State Regional Board of ‘’Employees State Insurance Corporation (ESIC)’’, Hospital Development Committee of the 250 bedded ESIC Hospital in Margao, Goa, which now serves as the COVID hospital and has helped save so many lives in this crisis. Also got the opportunity to be part of the Institute Management Committee (IMC) of the ‘’Industrial Training Institute’’ (ITI) at Cacora in Goa and the Board Member of “Goa Labour Welfare Board” and “Goa Minimum Wages Board”. Involvement with all these non profit organisations is indeed time consuming, but it surely helps develop your personality and helps you grow as a person. Plus you are now no longer sitting on the sidelines and cribbing and getting frustrated that government should do this and that and are actually facilitating the implementation of all the concepts, ideas and welfare measures that you actually feel are needed to change the system and the society at large. Yes its a difficult task, but with efforts and perseverance, it is certainly doable.
Overall I would say that the fact that I have left the Rat race long back has enhanced my creativity and has helped me focus and develop the most wonderful fragrance products which form part of our Brand Susegad – The Fragrance of Goa. Just yesterday one of my friends reminded me of the age old saying by Ralph Waldo Emerson, ‘’Life is not all about the destination, its about the journey’’. So ‘’Keep Smelling, Keep Smiling’’ and Lets spread ‘’Wellness Through Fragrant Living’’.