It is Thanksgiving 2018.
I have lived a fair bit of life already.
I have observed a fair display of human drama.
A few thoughts come to mind, as I sit down to write this piece.
When I was young, I used to think bad things happen to other people.
I don’t think that anymore.
Plenty of bad things have happened to us.
So, in theory, more can happen.
I certainly do not feel entitled to a no-adversity existence.
But I make it a point to focus on all the things that make my life wonderful.
I read a line from Tagore a long time ago that stayed with me forever:
“Boshe achi potho cheye, dite chahi, nite keho nai …”
It translates, roughly, as:
“I sit around with a full heart
I want to give –
There is no one to receive.”
I have not read a more poignant description of loneliness.
Entrepreneurs tend to be lonely.
CEOs tend to be lonely.
Powerful women tend to be lonely.
Strong personalities tend to be lonely.
I am all of those.
And yet, I have been blessed with a most beautiful relationship – a true partnership of equals.
My husband Dominique Trempont and I met in 2001, got together in 2003, and have enjoyed a wonderful 15 years together, despite many curveballs that life has thrown our way.
As Sheryl Sandberg pointed out in her famous Lean In manifesto, whom you marry is one of the most important decisions you would ever make. An enormous amount of luck is involved. Also involved is some judgment.
When I met Dominique, I learnt that he was one of the very few executives in Silicon Valley who had earned the respect of Steve Jobs, and that he had a reputation of working well with difficult people.
Well, I am very difficult.
I have always known that I am very difficult.
So, I thought to myself, “Well, if he can handle Steve Jobs, maybe, he can handle me!”
[You can listen to Dominique’s interview with INSEAD, his alma mater, about his experience working with Steve Jobs, here, by the way.]
Well, we’ve had fifteen wonderful years.
And I am deeply grateful for those, no matter what lies ahead.
I am also deeply grateful for the work that I have had the privilege to do for the last decade or so in building 1Mby1M.
My father meditates every morning.
I wake up, and at least twice a week, I get on Webex and mentor entrepreneurs around the world.
This has been my routine for the last decade.
It is no different from a profound meditation, an intense spiritual practice.
And I hope that life will give me more years of peace and health to continue doing this work.
I am grateful also for having the opportunity and the internal compass to be myself without compromise.
I live amidst the mercenary blitzscaling culture of Silicon Valley. And yet, I have had the internal certitude to follow my own rhythm.
I have chosen to monetize at a level perhaps a lot lower than what I could have done with a different set of choices.
I have also chosen to maintain an extensive artistic and cultural life.
You can look at a short dance clip from our annual Diwali Arts Salon this year here.
We have successfully curated a set of friends around us who are in tune with our rhythm.
And I have nothing but enormous gratitude for all these exquisite components that add up to our harmonious, elegant whole.
Perhaps, then, I am grateful most of all for that internal compass that has helped me navigate my way this far.