August 10, 2011
I have been looking forward to August 9th and August 10th, as I was scheduled to do a focus group in town. These are long days starting at 8am and going until 9pm with me on my toes, moderating customer feedback. But the reason I was looking forward to these particular focus groups was because Raka was to work with me for the entire day, on both days. I simply could not wait for this to start. The evening before the groups, I went out snack shopping for Raka. It reminded me of the snacks she loves for lunch and it was my way of reliving her high school days.
When Tuesday morning finally arrived, Raka was ready, looking professional as ever and ready to rock the world. She was her usual confident self and cautious at the same time, as these are important clients of ours.
Most of the clients she would be with that day have been in our lives since my corporate days at Pizza Hut. It was during that time, on a September morning, Raka was born. Hence most of the clients present knew Raka from the time she was a baby, but today she was there to assist me as I moderated the groups. Wow, how time flies.
I hit the first roadblock when on the way to the facility, we were stuck in a bad traffic jam. Raka immediately came to the rescue. "Dad, exit here." she said, "Then turn right and then left on Hampden," and sure enough we were on our way. Of course it does not take much from Raka to impress me, but with her navigating and with me following her directions, it was the first sweet moment of the day.
The work day was simply amazing. It was wonderful to see Raka interact with my clients as she jumped at every opportunity to help. In between groups when I was taking a break she had a big smile on her face, every time I saw her. Then she would whisper to me, and remind me to eat and stay well nourished. I used the first break I got in-between groups to brag to my clients about Raka's accomplishments, especially about her being nominated for Top 40 under 40 by Advertising Age magazine when she was only 13. Normally these focus group days are long and tiring, but each of the moments with Raka made the long day go by fast.
As we drove back home that night, Raka was tired after her first 12 hour + work day. I was too, but I realized that the days like these do not come too often. Wednesday will be another day with Raka, another enchanting memory with my princess. After this, whenever I will moderate focus groups on my own, I will remember every moment from these two days and cherish the memories we are creating now.
I love you Raka.