The Sweary Cab Driver

I got off the railway station this morning and stood in the cab queue.
I got into my cab and asked the cabbie to take me to my place.
‘What the f&*@?’ – He swore
‘What happened?’
‘I wait for 1 bloody hour and you ask me to drop you in the next street! Bloody disgrace’- He yelled
In a flash, I fully understood and empathized with him. He had waited for a long while in the taxi queue and he had gotten a passenger who would only earn him 5 quid.
‘I’m sorry.’ – I apologized. I didn’t know what I could have done differently.
‘It’s not your fault’ – he said gruffly as he turned up the music and continued muttering to himself.
We reached my place (in about 8 minutes). The fare was 5 pounds. I had only exchanged some cash and gave him my 50.
‘Bloody hell. This is an insult’ – He yelled.
‘How am I supposed to have change? I am only getting started this morning. Go. I don’t need the money.’
‘I can pay you by card.’ – I offered immediately.
‘No. It’s a bloody disgrace. Insult. Insult.’ – he yelled as he drove off.
Now, really. That WAS uncalled for. Some unfortunate cab driver would have gotten a person like me who had to be dropped close by.. and it turned out to be this bad tempered old man.
But, at this moment, I was left amused and amazed. Amused because all I could do is smile.
Amazed because of the wonderful ‘utility’ of having a daily learning blog. As I go through my day, I am extremely happy when I am treated like crap for no reason, or make a hideous mistake – because it is a wonderful story for this blog and as a result, wonderful learning material.
And so it is, isn’t it?
(And on that note, I felt well and truly welcomed to London. Considering I had a horrid immigration officer and a mugging in my 1st 3 days, I’m hoping this is all there is for this time.. haha)

Why ‘Caring’ is as hard as it gets

It’s really hard to care.
Really really hard.
And here’s why – Unconditionally caring for someone often means many disappointments. It takes a lot of effort to align continuously with these people you choose to care about (as we all change), really make an effort to discuss things that matter and then, of course, put in all that effort to stay in touch, stay connected etc.
It takes a lot of time, effort and commitment. And what’s worse is that it also requires us to commit to being the ‘bad’ person at times – because true care is not just about patting someone’s back, it’s also about asking the tough questions every once in a while.
And, after all that, it tends to hit you hard because, often, your care (if constant, and over a sustained period of time) is taken for granted. And then the relationship is toast of course.
Many months, years.. feel like they have just been washed away. Oh, and that aside, you, more often than not, walk away hurt.
After all this, it’s hard to truly open your mind and heart and care again. The ‘should I/should I not dilemma’ is the toughest of them all.
People close to me have often accused me of being very ‘cold blooded’ in terms of not spending time with people I don’t care about and focusing wholly on people who I do.. It’s just that over time, I’ve realized that I am happiest with a close circle and even that close circle is always in flux – always changing. Some people last for a reason, some for a reason and yet some others for a life time.. and over time, I have learnt to accept that.
Let me correct that. I am learning to accept that.. It’s work-in-progress. And I felt this whole gush of emotion as I felt let down again. But, there’s no ‘should I/should I not care’ questions though.
I know that the good times were worth every bit of all that effort.. and this is a reminder to myself to always toast to the good times.
There’s always a positive.

When/How do we learn best?

Is it through hardship, trials and tough times?

Or through success, encouragement and growth of confidence?
This is a question to you. Any thoughts?
My experiment with this (with myself) will continue and I guess I will link back to this a few years from now.
Until then, would love to hear from you.
I posed this question to a couple of ‘wiser’ friends.
One of them replied with –

‘Whenever I am faced with such a dilemma, I ask myself [very deeply] what it would take to replace OR with AND…’

1 year of work-life

It HAS been one year. Hard to believe at times. Thanks to a-connect, I have memories of Singapore, Oman, India and the UK to dot this year. And what a year it has been..

And as it is my 2nd last day in Singapore for a bit, I had the first half of the day dedicated to running some errands and fittingly, I decided to do lunch at the Indian stall at Science Canteen in NUS. I’ve had god-knows-how-many meals there thanks to having worked at a start up that was incubated at the Faculty of Science. And the food there always reminded me of home.

And of course, it didn’t disappoint. (It never has). It was great to share it with a close friend from university, chit chat with the canteen owners who were thrilled to bits and of course, feel the student buzz at university.
And, it was also fitting that I had another close friend give me 10 Sparkz bookmarks. The story behind this one is interesting. Sparkz was a talent show I was a part of at university and it marked arguably one of my most memorable times. Anyway, one of our team members had a great idea for the design of our voting sheet and it ended up becoming a voting sheet + bookmark.
Anyway, I had almost forgotten about this till I noticed it on one of my friend’s rooms. And, of course, I wanted it! But, as she refused point blank, I decided to request for 10 more ‘collector’s edition’ copies and I received them right after lunch..
(The front on the left. The back of the book mark my essay (typical..) and then you have the voting sheet. This one made us feel pretty smart, all in all!)
And following that lunch and a token from one of the best memories from university, there was a little celebration with my great boss and then over to work.
Best of the past to the present.. and future.
Very special.
And in true ‘A Learning a Day’ spirit, what is the biggest thing I have learnt from 1 year of work life?
The dots always connect backward.
Any hard work ever done in the past always comes back to help. I’ve had a wonderful year at a-connect and while my mentors, colleagues and support system had a huge role to play, itis due (in big part) to a lots of hard work put in university. And long may it continue..
There is a lot of talk about ‘smart work’. My view is that you have got to work hard first, to know how to work smart. There is no substitute to putting in the hours.
The first of many years. Looking forward to many more wonderful years.. 1 day at a time.