It has taken some time for me to pick up this post. Boston occupies my mind. Yet life goes on. The people of Mumbai and the business operations resumed after 2008. So must I.
Dateline: Mumbai J.W. Marriott April 11, 2013
The calm dignity and service mindset of the staff is refreshing. As the facilitator for these days of meetings, they constantly respond to my every request. There is always someone present outside the room should I need anything! The meeting room is set as if we were at a wedding with covered chairs tied in silver ribbons. Each roundtable has a beautiful arrangement of white roses and stargazer lilies. Platters of cookies constantly appear on the table. Memo pads are 8 x 11 sheets sitting on top of thick leather portfolios.
Ahh the food! Expansive lunch and breakfast buffets defy description in both their presentation and their quality. If only I knew how to eat the various Indian delicacies! Over here is the table of salmon, cream cheese, capers and red onion: assorted imported cheeses surround the salmon. Pastries of infinite variety stare me in the face. An egg station affords any kind of breakfast preparation I would care for. Chefs wait to prepare dosa and samosa with everything from vegetables to chicken.
Our “snacks” at meeting breaks are like small meals: doughnut sandwiches made from doughnut bread, not fried or glazed, but soft and sweet and stuffed with chicken. Little puffs filled with eggplant and lentils. Herbed bread with pesto and vegetables. Burp. I wish I were like a cow with two stomachs!
Mumbai offers rainbow of colors. Every female—even children— are wrapped in the brightest of hues: turquoise, pink, gold, green. Saris range from irregular patterns to embellished silks. And despite the dust and dirt that rises from hoards of people, white pants and shirts are mostly spotless.
When we take the team for a few hours to a local market, our guide, Deepa, points out the Hindu temple next to the mosque next to the Christian shrine. She explains that India is generally tolerant and accepting of difference. Deepa explains traditions in marriage, traditions in celebrations, and traditions in food. Surely this is a country that simultaneously lives in the past, present and future.
She gestures to the vendors in the crowded market stalls who rent space to sell everything from coconuts to mangoes; from chilies to Ayurvedic herbs. She points out that even the poor vendors on the street who put produce on a cloth have traveled two hours at 4am to buy what they can and come to sit and sell what they can. They will sit in the heat all day and begin the process again tomorrow.
Such moments. Such magic. It is replicated threefold by the work of the managers who gather with me. They are open, reflective, good-natured, and dedicated to exploring how to advance themselves and the people whom they manage. In a morning meditation, they practice mindfulness, and focus. I am so proud of them!
Enjoy the pictures. The Magic. The Moments. Believe in the power of exploration, adventure, new experiences, and the wonder of learning from others. You too can have Moments of Mumbai and Management Magic. You don’t have to leave your office. Look. Pay Attention and Listen. It is all here!!