01 January To 31 December 2015 – A Journey Of 365 Days

00:00-hour marks very significant time in our clocks. It marks an end of one day and beginning of new day. This is routine. It happens every day. But 00:00 hours on 31st December has a bigger significance. This is a moment which is celebrated across the world. It marks an end of one year and beginning of New Year. In the life of an individual, 365 days between 1st January and 31st December can change the course of life. In these 365 days, one can live and relive his entire life. These 365 days from 1st January to 31st December changed the entire life of my friend – Sameer Suryavanshi.It is quarter past midnight and as I am returning after welcoming New Year with Sameer and his wife with a dinner party hosted by him at Level 12 – Double-Tree by Hilton Hotel, Pune; I know that the night is not yet over for me. Too many thoughts in my mind are bothering me and I need to scramble them down in my diary. In last one year, I might have spoken to Sameer on several occasions and met him a couple of times but not even once he gave me any hint about the turbulent phase he was going through. He always appeared positive, hopeful and a man full of energy. Behind that positivity and vigour, he was hiding his vulnerability and his pain. It might appear like an act of bravery but it is not. He tried to stay strong for too long.For Sameer, the first day of 2015, 01st January began very positively. New Year wishes were sent to and received from friends and families. Later he and his wife went for prayers at Dagdusheth Ganapati Temple, Pune, which has been a ritual for them since the time they have relocated to Pune in 2007. In the evening, Sameer hosted a dinner party for his friends at Sen5es – Oakwood. Sameer likes to celebrate even smallest of achievement and this time, he has a bigger reason to celebrate. He has received 17% increment in his annual assessment and 86% of his performance bonus. I remember talking him later that month. He mentioned to me the need venturing into his own business or to start looking for new job. Over last FOUR years, his total compensation has grown manifold for an organization of the size of 300 crores but he was certain to stay with his current organization till the end of 2016. For the year 2015, his plan for to focus on his own training and development and getting ready for bigger and challenging role.

In the first half of the year, Sameer went for two holidays to Mauritius and Kerala to celebrate his wedding anniversary and the birthday of his wife respectively and attended FIVE workshops and certification programs, including PMP and Six Sigma Black Belt. It seems life had some other plans for him. Life wanted to him to learn different lessons and probably in a different way.In May 2015, Sameer lost his job. He was sad yet very hopeful and positive. Very soon his positivity and hopefulness vanished into thin air. He approached job consultants and several influential contacts in his reference but none could help him. Some said that his compensation package is too high and others said that he is too qualified for jobs they have. The inflow of cash into his saving account has frozen but outflow has increased. He has to travel for his job interviews; he has some SIP investment plans, and he has to pay his monthly EMI on car and home loan and all these were sucking his savings. By the end of the 3rd month after losing his job, he was on the verge of getting bankrupt.More than financial bankruptcy, he was heading for an emotional breakdown. His friends and erstwhile team members began to distance themselves from him. When he was working, he did take care of them and supported them emotionally and intellectually but in his time of needs, they were nowhere to be seen. They stopped every communication with him. In fact, they began to create problems for him by spreading negative stories and rumours about him. And this has hurt him very badly. He was stuck somewhere between emotional and financial turmoil. Day by day he was becoming weak and vulnerable. He had no idea where he is heading for.He had no other option but to start his own venture; his own start-up company with a focus on reaching out customers for Six Sigma Projects and generic projects. He has over 12 years of experience in project management. Along with project management, he began another start-up, which was into video editing. He took out his old videos, which he has captured as a part of his hobby, and began to share with the online audience. He is good with video shooting and editing but never took it serious enough to create some wealth out it. None of these could have given immediate financial relief to Sameer. These were long-term assignments. Few clients showed interest in his concepts and ideas but no one gave him any work. They asked him to wait for 3-4 months. It was the time that he was running short of. His confidence was low and his self-esteem has nosedived.Being surrounded by dependent family and related financial commitments, he had no other option but to stay strong and look at the positive side every aspect. Every time someone asked him, “Is everything okay”? His response was, “Don’t worry. I will manage. Everything will be alright”. But inside him, he was becoming weak and vulnerable. He smiled, when he wanted to cry. He carried on when could have given up. He waved to people when he wanted to extend his hand for help. By the end of September, he reached a stage of nervous breakdown. He had to see a psychiatrist and take treatment.

In November, he got a job offer from TWO companies. Though smaller in revenue size but he got projects from THREE of his clients. His video editing website has begun to generate favourable vibes among viewers. He has made a comeback.Today was not New Year Eve party but his comeback party. Throughout the evening, I was feeling guilty. I couldn’t help my friend. How did I miss to see the pain and turbulence he was going through? I always saw him smiling, full of energy, motivating and inspiring people who were around him. Even strongest of trees get uprooted. Smiles on the face and positive body language can be misleading. Look beyond. Look through their eyes.At the end of our dinner, he told me, “Sanjeev Sir, whatever happens, happens for good. Had I not gone through this phase I wouldn’t have started my business. I might have delayed it by few more years. And most importantly, I would have identified my true and real friends. All those who I was treating as my friends and part of my family were not friends to begin with. I am glad I have gone through this phase. Sometimes, nature teaches us in a hard way”.I am mesmerized by what he said. Bad times help to identify good people. Bad roads force you to create new ways.Please share your feedback.