A few days ago, I got a mail from a friend in Dubai, talking about her potential move to Singapore. It took me a second to read and register as she is someone I thought who always belonged to Dubai (because of her work, her length of stay there), and then I felt maybe I was in the same boat a few years ago...and today I can say I survived it!
When we first moved out of India to Dubai in 2004, the feeling then was more of 'an opportunity' out of India. Though I don't think Dubai was the most favoured destinations then, it was just kind of opening up. Apart from my husband's job, I was probably more excited that I had also managed to get a job through the same firm I was working with in India and was going to be setting up their Dubai office. For those who don't know me (well enough), during my PR days in Bangalore, I was part of the founding team of two PR firms, that today are rated amongst the top 15 firms in India. So I was pretty 'bitten' by the start-up bug and I think it was only an impetus that I needed to start my own!
So when we landed in Dubai, there was too much excitement about settling in a new country, new job, new challenges that came along. For me professionally, it was probably the best five years of my life. While there, I had the opportunity of starting my own PR firm (watermelon pr), that taught me everything about work (from being an efficient office assistant to an able boss).
I still recollect that coffee meeting I had with an old (journalist) colleague-cum-friend at the end of which he had convinced me to start 'watermelon pr'. Every client and every employee we added, was probably our biggest high! The numbers at the end of the year, felt just like a reward for all the hard work! Those 5 years at work and every campaign we handled (big or small) taught me true lessons of what it takes to build a brand and this time it was our own!
And then one day, I was told that we needed to move to Singapore. The feelings were mixed this time. Though I had my elder daughter by then, I had a firm that I had built from scratch and parting from it was equally tough. There were fears that it shouldn't fail, all the hard work mustn't go waste. But there was also a 'hope' somewhere, that this would probably be the true test of 'my start-up'. Has it really matured? Can it survive without me? That was anyway always my 'ultimate' goal. So it was time to look ahead and move on (atleast for me).
Though when I moved to Singapore, our plan was to set-up a Singapore chapter, I wasn't so sure this time (of myself). We seemed a bit late for this market and I felt a bit tired too! But nevertheless, we tried. And even those two years (of frustration after seeing a lot of high's) probably left me a better person!
I had some 'tough' decisions to take for myself. Is this what I really wanted to do all my life? Could I have a life out of work (considering I had never had one), could I survive it? And yes, now when I look back, I can say I made it!
I can proudly say that Singapore has given me my best 'personal' phase! A phase where I did so much for my home, my kids, myself (my weight loss phase, my running phase and now my writing phase...). A life I had never thought of while working. Probably, I thank the many moves I made as a child (due to my dad's nature of work), that gave me the ability to adapt and move on and never look back!
And, when I replied back to my friend's mail answering questions on Singapore, I felt I belong here and I am ready to call this place 'Home'.
And while I write this blog, soon watermelon pr will enter it's 10th year, and for me this is the biggest victory.It is today probably rated amongst the top 10 PR firms in Dubai and is 'not' resting on me!