The prior week had gone by and what a week it was as well. The emotional roller coaster was in high pitch throughout. It started off with me getting to work on a mind that was rueful. I was the brunt of an attack when it came to resourcing. We had proposed a timeline that went beyond the expected delivery date. The manager had just come back getting an extension a few days back and now upon hearing a need for another extension was all the bad that he could be. He wouldn’t take the end date as reasonable and wanted the timeline compressed. Else it would mean replacing onshore resources with as many cheap offshore resources as needed. And between those onshore, I would be the most expendable. It certainly hurts to hear that you are expendable when you have finished three months laying the foundation for the project and onboarding nearly 10 resources including the manager. Bringing up to speed on two projects of which he had no knowledge of either the client or the technicals is no easy task. And when this is done without a thought of turn-protection, you would think that will be on the back of one’s mind before deciding expendability. But that certainly wasn’t the case.
Thus I had gone back home pretty upset but not having had a chance to let it out. As usual, the weekend was an opportunity to put things in perspective. I like to go out to mother nature to seek perspective. When you look at the magnitude of her and her creation and maybe the problems she has, one’s own will look much lesser or even trivial. I had gone out onto the Misery trail at Valley Forge Park. The trail was a great workout and very picturesque. We covered it in about 90 minutes burning maybe 700 calories. I made a note to make use of smartphone’s tracking app better next time. What is nice about the Misery trail is that it is right about 15 minutes drive from home and abounds with nature – lots of tall birches, an abandoned bootlegger setup into which we even ventured and quite a bit of elevation change.
The hike did what a good psychologist would have done to me sitting on his chair or maybe even a good dose of a psychiatrist’s drug. It calmed me down quite to an extent. At some point in a challenge, you have to stop fighting it when you know things are beyond your control. Accepting it isn’t the right battle to fight is also a good general’s decision. So I had gone back to work thinking I will live it out and let it reach a logical end whenever it happened.
The Monday was as crazy as ever with the latest call finishing around midnight my zone time. The same Wednesday turned out to be a good surprise when during a call at the end of the day, the manager calls me and says he wanted to have a word. Then he goes on to apologize for his undue remarks and state if there was anyone not needed on the project, it was he. That put me at much-needed psychological ease. I had also caught a cold virus somewhere and the four days away from home was quite miserable. This made me work from the hotel for three days. Imagine travelling nearly three thousand miles to work and then you have to stay away from the workplace only to work from the hotel. It is a waste of effort and money, but such are the overheads associated with travelling and work. Wait till you get to winter season. Many will be sleeping at airports and missing flights and schedules.
Back from San Francisco, I wanted to do the Red Trail at Green Lane Park. The directions weren’t well researched and I ended up by the Blue trail. This was an excellent trail as well and I managed about 4.2 miles in about 2 hours burning 800+ calories. The trail ran by the Green Lane reservoir and was refreshing all along with some difficult sections. Many a small hill covered with trees starting their Fall season was inviting to the mind.
It was the Papal week in Philadelphia. The Pope was in town and it was truly a historic event for the city. And it meant a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I wasn’t as keen to see him as my wife. But she was very enthusiastic and I wouldn’t want to curb it. I offered to drive her to the city. With many routes leading to the city cordoned off, there were few choices. We were afraid the only open routes to be grid locked, but that wasn’t the case. We were planning to see the Pope the Sunday, but the weather forecast had predicted rains and hence we changed plans. It took the regular 50 minutes or so getting to our son’s place in the city near the University with a small detour. After resting for a while we started the 2.5 mile walk. The streets were deserted but as we got closer, we could see this stream of people all going in the same direction. It was a rare event to see deserted city streets. Few streets were lined with public toilets – hundreds of them literally. Paramilitary forces were everywhere with their humvees and we even saw a bomb disposal unit.
It took a good half hour to go through the security at the expense of a nice Voss water bottle. Logan circle was teeming with people and huge television screens. A comedian was cheering up the crowd with his monologue – people were laughing in bits. Some young folks were trying their luck at tap dancing to the music. The evening was cool – maybe even a bit chilly, but I was prepared. Going out into the open is best done with some layered clothing or additional clothing. Never take a chance with nature or exposure to so many people. The onset of the cold season makes one even more vulnerable.
We made our way as close to the Art Museum as possible – about 1/4th of a mile away!! This was at the Logan circle’s edge closest to the museum on the parkway. At this point, you could not see the podium where he was supposed to deliver his speech on immigration. We were told a lady, who had come from Florida, that the Pope would drive around the circle and hence the wait. After about 45 minutes, the fanfare started and we started to see the motorcade. The security was the tightest I had seen whether on television or in person. Many more flashing red-n-blues and finally we saw the man in white. The crowd was ecstatic and cheering. Many were hoping he would stop and walk up to the barricades. In anticipation, we saw a baby – probably a month old – in front. When the Pope did pass by, the person in front lifted up his little daughter onto his shoulder. Many more lifted their smartphones to get a picture. Between the raised hands and the child, I caught a glimpse of the holy man in refreshing white, with his robes flying to the wind. He certainly looked angelic. Chants of Papa went around and he soon disappeared from my sight. Nobody was more ecstatic than my wife. I saw a few with tears in their eyes, but they joy in her eyes made it a double win for me for the day. I don’t think I will ever forget the joy and sparkle in her eyes. And wait – there was another thing – in order to reach up and see, boy, did she lean onto me and press my shoulders down. I sure thought of Lord Vishnu’s avatar – Vamana – pressing down King Bali Chakravarthi into the ground. This also felt welcome and I wasn’t going to be bothered if I hadn’t sighted the Pope.