Monday, October 19, 2009

Day 55: Monk

My day starts early today as I participate in a 3-way conference call with Japan and the Middle East on the other line. It is so satisfying when one is in the company of intelligent, well informed people. That is the one thing I enjoy most about international finance. One tends to work with the best and brightest that each culture has to offer. I realize at 3 a.m. that I miss this very much, and feel happy to be included in the scene again. I putter off to bed, and wake up at 7 feeling quite groggy. The rain doesn't help.

Lunch is with a former rug dealer friend, who in his youth, discovered that poverty was over-rated, and turned the situation around. Conversations with him always remind me of a cartoon I used to watch in Japan called Ikkyu-san. Ikkyu was a child monk, who apprentices with the monks and seeks the meaning of life. This also reminds me of the TV series of Kung Fu, where the Shaolin monk Kwai Chang Caine travels the journey of his soul. My friend talks about transitioning from being a builder to becoming an architect, and how it is best to apprentice with an architect to learn the trade efficiently. I immediately think back to the old days on the desk starting with the rough-on-the-outside-and-mush-inside Dean (who taught me how to check whether something made sense intuitively), and his sidekick Jeff who actually jokingly called me "grasshopper" all the time. Since then, I have had many mini architects to learn from, none of them being complete in their monkhood, but all having snippets of wisdom. Hopefully, I have made progress, and while one never arrives till the end, I aspire to pass as a junior architect in my endeavors.

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