We don't even own ourselves anymore, paying "mental rent" to corporate presidents (i.e. working 9-5). I want to be in a position of making a difference - in my own life and other people's life. Wishful thinking perhaps. But I will do everything in my power to get there one day.
Yes, it's true. Friday morning, I resigned from my job; gave my obligatory two weeks notice. My boss didn't see this coming, so he was shocked when I gave him the resignation letter. He asked me to reconsider my decision. He said "it is a big loss" and they will have "big shoes to fill" given my "business and technology knowledge". I thanked him for the opportunity. At the end of the day, he called me into his office and asked whether I considered that I will be forfeiting my yet-to-be-determined end-of-the-year bonus. I said yes without any hesitation. This was never about the money. He then asked me to give them more time and stay at least one more week, but ideally more. I said I'll think about it and will let him know on Monday. I'll probably extend my stay by one week. I won't be able to stay longer. Why? Because life awaits me! I'm flying out the following week.
So, what's next? I'm taking a break from the mundane 9-5 life for a few months. I've planned a major Himalayan expedition in October; my first! I'll be doing the spectacular Yuksom (1600m) - Mt. Dzongri (4050m) - Goecha La pass (~5000m) trek - the most beautiful in Sikkim (India). The trek is famous for its spectacular close-up views of Mt. Kanchenjunga - the third highest peak in the world. I'll also like to do some more rock climbing in the Western Ghats (known as "the Himalayas of South India"). Nothing gives me as much happiness and peace of mind as my mountains. So is it any wonder that I keep going back to them?
I hope my mountaineering passion stays with me for the rest of my life. If something were to happen to me, as was almost the case in my last two expeditions, I will want to be remembered for this.
Apart from pursuing my mountaineering passion, I'll also visit Dr. Prakash and Dr. Mandakini Amte at Hemalkasa. This has been my dream since I met the couple last year. They gave up all worldly comforts and settled in a remote forest in central India to help the forgotten Madia Gond tribals. Over the last 35+ years, they have started a hospital that treats 40,000 tribals a year, free of charge; a free residential school for tribal children, some of whom have gone on to become doctors and teachers; a wild-life shelter that looks after orphaned wild animals, including leopards. I was lucky enough to get to know them personally when they stayed over at our place for a few days in 2007. Last year I donated Rs.10,000 to their charity. This year I want to see for myself the great work they've done and help out any way I can.
The only problem with going to Hemalkasa is that it is located in a region controlled by Naxalites (a violent communist rebel group - like the Maoists). I spoke to the Amtes about this and they assured me it is a safe place to visit. Apparently, the Naxalites only have a problem with the government and the police; however, many innocent people have died in the ensuing gun fights.
While I'm away from the typical work-life for a few months, it's not as if I won't be making any money. I'll let my investments work for me. :)
I've no regrets about quitting my job. I know this was a big decision, but also the right decision for me. If I don't do this now, I know I will look back one day and regret not doing it. For the same reason, I had driven to NYC all alone last month. The trip was eventful to say the least. It reminded me of this famous line from a movie - jo haar ke bhi jeeta hai usko baazigar kahte hai! hah
One thing that I have learned is that these are some serious times we're living in. I don't know who I can trust in this cold world anymore!