Friday, March 20, 2015

Start A New Life - From Kolkata to Chennai

It was a hot & humid sultry afternoon in May 2000 when my cousin gave me this news. My dad was getting transferred from Kolkata to Chennai. I was 19 then and at the peak of my youth. I did not know how to react to this at that time. I am basically born and brought up in the "city of joy" and hence for me Kolkata is my hometown. Culturally I am a bong but racially a Palakkad Tamilian. I don't know to write tamizh but I am well versed with Bengali. Because of this homogenous mix I was quite popular and the Bongs loved me. It was a huge matter of pride when Bengalis appreciated my diction and love towards Kolkata. With a huge set of friends I was quite settled.
Then came this transfer bomb which created ripples in my life. When you are in first year of college you have your own set of friends and way of life. With 19 years in a place, you would have figured out how to live, way of having fun but this location change derailed it. While in the beginning I was against this move and I decided to stay back in a hostel or at a relative’s place, later my dad's emotional blackmails impelled me to reconsider. Finally I decided to move to Chennai tagging along with my family. 
In June 2000 we reach Chennai. Fighting the hot and humid conditions we reached our new den, our new house. I hated it... 'Hated' was an understatement. I wasn't comfortable with the people around in our colony. I just wanted to get out of this place. 
Next was the college. In Kolkata I had completed my first year B.Com and getting admission directly into the second year in Chennai was a difficult task. Finally I chose a college which was close to my house with help of some influences. The first day in college gave me a culture shock in the form of girls and boys sitting separately. I hated Chennai more! 
My Tamizh was bad especially not local and my accent was like Palakkad'ish resembling the Kameshwaran of Michael Madana Kaamarajan! People used to make fun of me and I hated it. 

Adapting to this change was hard. It was getting tougher and tougher day by day! I had to do something about this because as the famous life-coach Tony Robbins said - Change is inevitable, progress is optional! I had to lift myself up. I starting looking at what best ways should I adapt to bring this change? I got the first cue when I realized I need to do something to keep myself happy. Immediately I started to play cricket with a club close by. My neighbor used to take me out for some prominent leagues and that kept me quite happy. Next step - make friends. The question was how? It was sheer coincidence that I friend of mine suggested for some part time work. Wow! that was a great idea! I immediately got placed in MusicWorld for a part-time job especially because of my multi lingo skills. This move was a great one. Not only did it keep me busy but also was I making friends and was also learning business, customer service plus getting paid as well. My team, customers loved me there and I think that was a changing point in my life. From there I never looked back.
This approach changed my life. I got good scores in academics, and then got placed in multinationals with a decent pay.
Today I look back and think what would have happened if I had been in Kolkata? or If hadn't changed to the situation in Chennai? Life would have been difficult!
From this entire experience, I think the best and most important parts to manage a change are:

1) Are you aware of the need to change? Now I call this as "Awareness". I was in a different city Chennai, talking a simply different language, with a different thought process, living in a different culture but was I aware that I need to switch to survive here?
2) Do you really want to change? Is there a need? What is the benefit? I call this as the "Need" step
3) "Capability" is the third step where one needs to understand if he/she has the capability to manage the change. Here how do I read Tamizh? How to speak local Tamizh? If I don't have the capability, then how to develop? This is the third part of the phase
4) Finally for every small achievements, celebrate and reinforce! 

Making a big life change is pretty scary but, you know what's even scarier? Regret!!! #StartANewLife