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What’s really been going on…

Ever have a time in your life where so much is happening, it seems almost unreal? As I wrote my immigration form a few hours ago to re-enter India from Singapore, I declared my travels in the last 6 days – Singapore obviously, but also India for a day, before that the UK and Canada.

And why so much travel? The real reason combines the personal and the professional.

On the personal front…

Lots of different things however the real big news is… drum roll here… my partner and I finally took the plunge to sign a piece of paper in Winnipeg with a wee wedding at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. We knew from the moment we met over five years ago that we wanted to spend our lives together, however took our time to get to this stage of bringing our respective families together in celebration.

It still feels strange when folks teasingly call me “Mrs Smith” – a last name I am not adopting but respect completely. I apparently even accidentally hung up on a consulting associate who merrily greeted me that way! (in fairness, the call didn’t connect properly)

Within a week of being wedded in Winnipeg, I was on more planes and found myself in Singapore for some work related meetings. Which is only the tip of the iceberg so to speak as on the professional front as much has happened over the last few months:

  • I was delighted to be back in Jakarta working on a project from September 2016 to December then back briefly in March and April 2017. Naturally this meant a few stops in Singapore in my crisscrossing back and forth between India and Indonesia…
  • January and May were pre-occupied with India projects that enabled trips to Kolkata and Kochi – it had been years since I was in Kerela so that was a particular treat!
  • February brought me to Delhi to co-facilitate a remarkable conference
  • More is unfolding in the technology space with the India company association… plus some new developments brewing that seem particularly exciting!

Beyond the personal and professional, everyday life in India inspired a few amused cribs about:

  • Ready or not, July 1st introduces India’s Goods & Services Tax with some absurd moments and migration migraines from Service Tax to GST
  • After a couple of years of effort, I finally successfully withdrew my last Indian Provident Fund. If ever anyone has tried to do this – foreigner or Indian – you will understand this is NOT necessarily a simple process!
  • After even more effort, a weird system error was finally corrected so that the Indian government was finally convinced I actually had paid my taxes in 2009. Really… honestly… I did… it only took 8 years for them to admit it!!
  • We also learned to survive the aftermath of November 2016’s demonetization in which cash was temporarily dethroned

So from newly wedded bliss, professional developments, to the everyday follies in India, life continues to be an amazing adventure!

There you have… a bit of insight into what’s really going on…

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Everyday Asia – feast or famine?

Yes Everyday Asia… you have been sorely neglected!

Yes there are a bunch of partly written blog posts sitting in your draft folder…

Yes your phone is full to bursting with photos from various adventures…

Yes you were busy busy busy!

So… if you can’t write juicy little separate posts, just do a quick round-up… yes?

Here goes! (more…)

Door No 2 – Bangla bound!

I’m getting back into travel times – so far all in India!

The trip to Jodhpur was delightful and I may eventually get around to sharing another post or two about our time at the palace or film set.

However right now, all attention and focus is on preparing for Door No 2 – Kolkata.

Kolkata (usf.vc)

Kolkata (usf.vc)

Good news! I did get the short assignment – yeah!

Even better news! It will take me to Kolkata for a few days – even bigger yeah!

Alas my client’s office is not exactly in the heart of the city. So scope to revisit some familiar haunts is minimal – not so yeah…

And, keeping my client needs paramount, I’ve put together a schedule that leaves nearly no room for play.

Naughty me.

I’m still hoping a friend or two can come rescue me for a small adventure on my one free evening.

No matter what – can’t wait to hear the music of Bangla in my ears, chow down on delicious Bangla food, dive into a good project and… let’s be honest… escape the Mumbai heat for a couple of days!

PS – Just in case you are wondering, skipped ‘Door No 3’ aka the Chennai trip. However have another Delhi / Gurgaon trip coming up soon!!

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Pppffft Provident Fund Follies in India – Part 2

Yesterday set the stage for my efforts to access my Provident Fund (PF) aka retirement savings in India.

I have three PFs so I was hopeful that with those odds, there would be some progress at least with one or two – hopefully the bigger ones. I’ve been here long enough to know it wasn’t going to be easy. But I had my sense of humour girded to be amused by the follies to come… (more…)

Pppffft Provident Fund Follies in India – Part 1

Dealing with the tax authorities, government officials and more can be so painful in India that every time I’m able to take one step forward, I’m absurdly happy.

As in right now – witness me doing a manic happy jig as I managed to calculate my Service Tax charged less Service Tax paid with a gazillion little receipts to determine my Service Tax payable.

Yessir! I’ve paid it, printed my ‘challan‘ (proof of payment) and the online filing is happening as I speak.

I’m a happy camper!!

Except who knows what will go wrong next… (more…)

Company anniversary – welcoming work

With social media, being inundated with birthday greetings – especially over Facebook – has become the norm. Hundreds of enthusiastic personalised wishes can get a bit overwhelming!

What snuck up on me was the recognition social media brought to the 1st anniversary of opening my company in Singapore.

Given that I’m buried deep into sorting through the accounts and navigating another tax system, the last thing I’ve been thinking about is celebrating one year of being my own boss internationally!

Which made it all the more delightful to see how many folks paid attention to LinkedIn’s ‘work anniversary’ alert to hit ‘like’ plus send a congratulatory message! Thanks folks!!

So in celebration of “CLH Consulting Pte Ltd” turning one, I’m delighted to introduce the new ‘work‘ category to Everyday Asia. (more…)

Re-unions and giving someone a chance…

Living literally on the other side of the globe from where I grew up tends to disconnect one from those awkward high school re-unions where folks exclaim how well they are holding up after 30 years then secretly sigh about the extra weight, wrinkles but do thank gawd the pimply days are long gone!

So while I haven’t made it to even one high school re-union I did manage to get to an ex-company gathering.

Yup – we’re suckers for punishment. Not only did we work long hours together faithfully for years, we CHOOSE to hang out one evening a year. (more…)

Mumbai to Malaysia

Watch out Kuala Lumpur… I’m on my way to you!

As shared, I’ve been distracted lately… and not just with the play

Good news! First consulting project of 2014 – yippee!

Even better news! I’m finally going to Malaysia. Though technically a country I had some responsibility for in my earlier work avatar, this is my first time physically in Kuala Lumpur.

Not so good news…. It will be a hectic project. From now until I get on a plane 16th February, there is one day ‘off’ – which I know will be used to catch up on preparations for the balance.

Even worse news… No scope for explorations outside of KL and likely limited within.

So… KL experts, what can’t I miss? The one or two absolutely under any circumstances must be experienced?!

Kuala Lumpur (Photo: www.geeksonaplane.com)

Kuala Lumpur (Photo: http://www.geeksonaplane.com)

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