by Surya Prasad, Director, bfsi consulting
Yeah, you read it right! What?
These days it is not a common sight, but years back in villages and small towns, a palmist going from house to house asking for alms and offering her insight into your future, used to be a notable sight. One such old palmist-lady told me 40 years ago that I will travel great distances by an airplane. That being not such a common thing those days, I thought, “Really, wow!” and looked forward to it. I do not remember anything other than that fragment from that conversation. In fact, I never gave a thought or recollected it for the next 15 years. Just when I completed my engineering, a Japanese giant interviewed me and offered a job, only if I had a passport or could get one in the next 30 days, as there was an training starting immediately at Singapore, and then continuing at Japan. I was really excited and suddenly remembered that old lady and thought how true she was. Maybe I should have asked her for more details ! Sadly, I could not manage to get the passport, and they refused to extend my joining time. I thought, there goes my flight – jumping to conclusions!
Years passed by! I became busy at work, family, responsibilities etc. Around 2005, some of my friends and family circle knew I was switching jobs and thought I would be grounded given the profile of the role I was taking up. Again, how wrong we could be! I had almost forgotten about that lady till one dinner during that period. One of my friends asked me whether I kept track of where I had travelled or where I had not! Though I had a vague idea, I never really tallied the number. That night, I opened an Excel sheet and started listing the countries, grouping them by continents, just so that I don’t miss any. That list came tantalizingly close to the 50 mark! That’s some Globe Trotting! Then, I thought something must be wrong; I had 5 passports and all of them full with stamps (i.e. approx. 30 * 5 = 150 pages). Taking out some 30% for stickers, it is still around 100 pages each with at least 4 stamps – i.e. 2 INs and OUTs! Approximately 200+ travels and only 50 countries?
I did a quick check and found on some pages there were more than 7 or 8 stamps, not counting stamps on the visa stickers! So, I revised my numbers – there must be 300 travels. What am I missing? I thought, let me make an Excel with info on all travels – just took some 15 mins to give up the futile exercise. The stamps were so jumbled up that, just couldn’t figure the dates out at all. So, thought let me just list down the countries and count. I was surprised, realized was going to the same set of countries, again and again! Thus the term GLOBE ROTTING!
Am I sick of that? A big No! Unlike lot of my friends who work in IT field, who keep going to East Coast or West Coast, my work took me to the corners of the world – including some highly unlikely places like Swaziland, Cameroon, Israel, and exotic places like Myanmar, Mauritius, Costa Rica, Swiss, Austria, Jamaica, and yes – couple of times even to East Coast and once to West Coast and once to Central too!
No, I don’t fly planes or work in Merchant Navy! Most of my career, I worked in Consulting, Implementing, Business Development, and Pre Sales of one of the extremely popular Core Banking Solutions called – FLEXCUBE. Yes, it is Made In India! It’s ironic; I moved out of Oracle after about 11 years, and couple of years later, I started the current journey of bfsi consulting! So, back to FLEXCUBE and travels.
So, what does it mean to travel across the globe – work always? No, as an adventurous guy, apart from meeting several people of varying cultures, customs, understanding banking practices across countries, I am always on the look out for those opportunities to explore the places, especially a big fan of history and nature.
Just to sample here are some things etched in my memory; just to make it easy to follow, I will try to link those places to events or movies –ice caves in Werfen, Austria (Where Eagles Dare movie), Attending a mass in Vatican on Easter Sunday, walking on those long winding trails between those amazing monasteries of Meteora, Greece (For Your Eyes only),
reliving Mira Bell Gardens, old town of Salzburg (no points for guessing the movie!), soaking in F1 race at Monza with Tsifosis, trekking in remote Ghana forests near Wli water falls, several parks rides in Kenya (its another story, even with some 25+ trips to Kenya, haven’t managed to see Masai Mara), bungee jumping at Victoria Falls, swimming in Blue Lagoon in Jamaica, unbelievable Rain Forest trails in Costa Rica, trekking up to Lake Guatavita, Columbia (aka El Dorado lake), flying over green carpet-like Amazon forests and Kaieteur Falls in Guyana, floating on Dead Sea, and dream city – Jerusalem, Petra city (one of my all time favorite, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade), Shwedagon Pagoda in Myanmar, the list goes on!
That old lady, just a fleeting chance of crossing paths, has been in my thoughts several times, though I just can not recollect anything else now for several years. I just can not express why we remember things like that and not remember someone with whom we had interacted several years – like some school friends?! Similarly, we do remember some songs learnt in very early years, not the stuff supposed to buy in super market! – of course, I do use tools like Evernote for that!
Finally, couple of questions I get asked several times – are you seriously vegetarian?– yes! How do I still manage? Well, I don’t find it so difficult. I do enjoy different kinds of cuisine – as long as, its veg! And it is certainly not a problem to find vegetarian stuff these days.
Aren’t you tired of traveling? No. As long is there is business potential, and a new country to explore (BTW, the count now a days is crawling at 64) – why not? Always go for the road less traveled
Another question friends and family keep asking why don’t you blog about your travels, experiences (good and bad)? Have been postponing – what is the excuse? Lazy? – May be! This could be the break I was waiting for! So, watch out folks, I have warned you already J
Yes I am a Globe Trotter as I enjoy it!!