It was the day next to Diwali when I thought of spending the remaining three days of holidays with my family out of Delhi. The idea was to relax and spend some time with my wife and son. Diwali period is generally hectic and the idea of taking a vacation after Diwali was tempting.
I asked Anu, my wife about the idea. She also sounded excited but then due to some family reasons suggested it might be difficult for her to travel during that period. I was still keen to go out and spend some time out of Delhi. Whilst I was thinking how to make it happen, suddenly a statement by one of my very good friend Varun stuck me. He had once suggested that fathers should go out with their children for vacations and that too without wives, i.e. no mothers.
This idea was good and how exciting and different it would be to go out with my son (aged 7 years) without Anu. Spending time with him exclusively had never happened and the more I was thinking about it, it sounded a very good idea. I immediately told Anu about this idea to which her obvious response was – “will it work, I mean how can Rishit (my son) stay without her and you would face lots of difficulties without me”.
When Anu made this statement, I felt that this is actually a very good way to do something different. Children spend majority of their time with mothers and spending exclusive time with fathers is something unheard or rather, not very commonly done. And what Anu mentioned that I would face lots of difficulties managing Rishit alone now seemed to be like a good challenge. A challenge that would involve me and my son together, something that was sounding too cool and exciting.
I decided I should do this because it was different and no one in our family had attempted to do something like this – a father taking out his son for a two-day vacation without his mother. I decided to talk to one of my other very close friend Lokesh if he would be interested to come along with his son (aged 4.5 years). Lokesh also liked the idea, spoke to his wife and she agreed, though a little reluctantly (all mothers think alike J).
So the plan was finalized and it was like this – Two fathers taking their sons along with them to Jim Corbett for two nights vacation in a beautiful resort. I called up my travel agent and asked him if he could get a hotel booking done. Since it was a long Diwali weekend and we were asking for bookings at the last moment, wasn’t too sure if this could be done. But knowing him, I was hopeful he would do something for us. Finally, Thursday around 3PM he confirmed one room booked for all four of us at the Hridayesh Resort in Jim Corbett for our travel on Friday.
The next two days were completely fun-filled with boys having good fun with their dads. It was not only moments where boys had fun with us, it was also the moments when we were doing things that generally we don’t do in our daily lives. Some such things were making glass of milk with bournvita every day (morning and evening), helping them take bath and get ready, changing their clothes when they got wet, making them sleep at night considering that both of them didn’t want to sleep easily, making them eat their meals on time and remembering when did they eat the last time to ensure too much time hasn’t gone by without eating and ensuring they don’t fight too much etc, etc. When we went for the jungle safari we had to ensure they were fully covered with clothes and that they shouldn’t get cold and cough, otherwise our wives would have taken our case accusing we didn’t take good care of them.
If I now think back it was quite surprising because majority of the above activities are generally done by Anu and I rarely participate with her. Either its because of the lack of time or may be a habit. Barring few days when she’s out for some work or not well, I would have helped her, but not much. And here, I was doing all these activities full time for almost three days without any lady’s help J.
The reason of writing this article is not to prove that I could manage Rishit without Anu’s help and therefore, it’s a great job done. I know that I could have done it only for a couple of days and thereafter, both Anu and Rishit would have started missing each other. Because no child can stay away from his mother for too long.
The reason I am writing this article is the fact that I did something that was unusual, something different, something that not too many people do frequently. And I thoroughly enjoyed doing this. Doing different things in life is so much fun and it adds to spice in your mundane or routine life.
This also reminds me of the incidence when I was putting my resignation from Ernst & Young (EY) because of a better opportunity elsewhere. It was the day when I was to meet the Partner and let him know that I was thinking of leaving. The discussion I had with him is something I would never forget in my life and I think I would have narrated this to everyone who leaves our organization also.
He asked me – “Nimish what are you going to do after you leave EY and where are you going”. Since I had been doing indirect taxes since the beginning of my career, I told him that I am joining the indirect tax team of XYZ Company. He smiled and made a statement that was quite unusual but very practical. He said “Nimish I would have loved if you had told me that Sir I am leaving EY because I want to join a radio channel and become a radio jockey (RJ) or would have told me that I want to paint this world beautiful and therefore, want to go an do painting”.
Continuing, he said “you are saying that you would do indirect tax with some other firm, that means you would do almost the same work only difference being your team members would change. And after a point of time even in the new organization, all things would start to look same as previous organization. There is no substantial growth in your career, except for few additional lacs that the new organization would have offered you. I can say this with my experience”.
The conversation between us was moving away from my resignation (to which he was least bothered) to a small mentoring session where he was trying to give me some important lessons of life. I could feel that he was sincerely interested not that I change my decision and stay with EY, rather take a decision that is good for my life and my career and something that would give me substantial returns over a longer period of my life.
He then expanded the discussions and said the real growth of a person happens when you change your city. For example you move from Delhi to Bangalore and the efforts that it will take for you to move and shift and manage new things and things that are different in life would make you a different person all together. That is what real growth is because you would have to deal with a different place, different culture and manage everything from scratch. Something you are not used to doing and by doing something different, you would grow in life.
He then said the next level of growth happens when you change a country. For example you move from India to UK and by doing that you would deal with all together different people, cultures, society, language and so many other things. Surviving in those different situations would make you tougher and obviously much smarter than what you were before.
Though, I did leave EY and joined the other firm but I implemented his advice of not only changing the city but also moving out of the country. I moved from Delhi to Mumbai to work with PwC and later moved to Ireland to work with KPMG. And I can tell you these two actions definitely made my wife and me all together different people because we could now handle any situation with ease and a smile.
I would like to ask each one of you who is reading this article – What new things are you doing in your life? Are you habitual to getting up at 7AM then rushing to office and returning home at 9PM only to spend time with wife and kids for a couple of hours and sleep to repeat the same routine? Are you habitual to working the same way in office as you have been for the last 5-10 years without even a single change? Are you working on projects and executing them the same way as your seniors, without any improvisation or enhancement? Do you keep discussing with your friends about the goodness of life in your college days and how difficult the life is now, without taking any initiative to improve that lifestyle?
Few years back I started writing my blog www.nimishgoel.com because I had always wanted to do something different and meaningful in life. I believed that students and professionals need constant mentoring and guidance and perhaps my blog can achieve something in that direction. That was a new thing I did and I am extremely happy continuing it. I also started writing my daily journal to record the activities of my life and write my dreams and aspirations and how I would like to achieve them. This was a new thing I added in my life and it has completely changed the way I am now. You can read more about writing a journal on http://nimishgoel.com/write-journal-or-diary-daily-why-how/
I would sincerely urge all of you to start looking at life a little differently from the way it is now. You might want to do small things like:
i. Send a thank you letter to someone who you feel helped you but you never got a chance to thank him/her; or
ii. Start classes to learn guitar or a musical instrument; or
iii. Take your wife/ girl friend to theatre rather than for a movie; or
iv. Prepare a presentation on some recent legal or tax provisions which you feel is relevant for your office colleagues and present it yourself without anyone asking you to do; or
v. Think of taking your children for a movie or a restaurant without any advance notice, just by surprise; or
vi. Think of sitting on a different chair in your office than the one you sit normally; or
vii. Learn to ride a bike if you don’t know it yet; or
viii. Get up early morning one day (http://nimishgoel.com/why-i-joined-the-5am-club/) and go for a jog to enjoy the early winters chill; or
ix. Compliment your office colleague on the way he/she is dressed; or
x. Take out your parents for a weekend vacation. Just you and them; or
xi. Call up to wish someone you haven’t spoken to for a long time on his/her birthday; or
xii. Record your voice and make a video and upload it on You Tube.
Let me tell you when you would attempt to do something different, your inner voice would oppose it, you would hear sounds like – are you mad, what is this stupidity etc, etc. But that is where the signal is that you are on the right track. Our mind and body has gotten used to daily routine stuff and any change obviously is resisted. But you shouldn’t stop doing the right thing because that is where your real growth lies. It is important to wake up and make a list of things that had always excited you but couldn’t be achieved. Make that list and take action to tick off the first item in that list. And don’t wait for the right time to come, just DO IT NOW. Take action NOW.
Whilst writing this article I didn’t realize it has become such a long article. I thought of first deleting some portions of it, but then decided not because this one is straight from my heart. And I think its important too.
I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing this. Stay blessed….
Authored by Nimish Goel (www.nimishgoel.com), a qualified chartered accountant who’s passion is to coach young chartered accountants and aspiring students achieve the best in their life. Nimish used to work with EY and PwC in India and has also worked with KPMG in Europe. He now runs his own consulting company and runs a blog www.nimishgoel.com. He can be reached for any queries and issues on his blog.