A hint of Sci-Fi and religious philosophy lie behind this story of modern Hi-Tech business interrupted by a terrorist bomb ...
Jim is about to find out that life isn't always fair during a regular business trip to Mumbai, but can he and his friends all survive the experience?
“Mok-saaaannnnngggggggggggggg . . . “
As the last notes of the call echoed around the rafters of the dojo, he breathed in – slowly, through his nose, pushing the air up to the top and back of his head, then smoothly exhaling out through his mouth as he pushed the air down his spine to his toes and then all the way back up to the top of his head as he inhaled again.
Jim had been training Kendo now for about 4 years, and he always looked forward to the circular breathing session at the close of training. After a fast and furious hour and a bit of smacking the living shit out of everyone else, that first deep breath in & out was kind of delicious!
He'd taken a wee while and a bit of research to cotton on to the idea of circular breathing – how could any sensible person think that you pushed air up into your skull etc?, but once he twigged, the practice really did become very peaceful & soothing, and he could see how with a bit more application, there was the possibility of achieving that “no-mind” state where the next level of learning might be achieved.
“Good training” he said, bowing to the others in the dojo.
And then, he tapped one of the mid-level members on the shoulder and said “I was watching your attacks tonight – I think you are holding back too much. You can do it, I know you can, I've seen you do it, - you just need to be confident in yourself and always attack, attack, attack.”
Jim always tried to offer constructive advice to the members that were obviously trying hard. As one of the club seniors it was expected of him, and he knew that not only did it help the learners, but it helped push him too, as he had to observe the others and analyse their strengths and weaknesses while working on his own weaknesses – and all in the heat of “battle”.
As he wiped and stowed his armour in his bogu bag, Jim's mind started returning to “the real world”. He checked his cellphone for any missed calls or messages and saw one text message had arrived - unheard during the confusion of loud kiai's and the stamps and thwacks of bamboo sword on battle armour.
It was from Tim. “Mail frm Chris. U r on for jpn & me 2 mmbai. C u 2moro, fly on w/e.” “Great”, he half groaned to himself.
Approaching his teacher, Jim bowed and said “Sabumnim, I won't be at Kendo next week – I have to go to Japan.”
“No problem James, maybe you can train Kendo while you're there?” his teacher replied. “Hmmm, I'm not sure, but I'll try!”
Only his Kendo teacher called him by his real name, everyone else called him “Jim”. At 44, Jim was starting to suffer the effects of age. He supposed he wasn't doing too badly compared to others his age, but part from the Kendo, the only other exercise he did was biking to and from work, and so the morning tea hot chocolates and other sweet things he craved from time to time were starting to be noticeable in the tummy area.
He had always been pretty active but recently the demands of his higher position at work meant there weren't enough hours left in the day for the long distance running he quite enjoyed. Well, that's what he always said – truth be known, it was much easier to give in to the laziness! Of course he knew there was only one person he was fooling, but he figured he'd worked hard to get where he was and had earned a bit of laziness here and there.
Jim was Programme Manager for a family of airport flight information products. The 'boards' that show you if the flight is on time and what gate it's arriving at were just a small part of what they did. What was really needed was a complete integrated information system that connected the arrivals & departure times, passenger check-in details, baggage handling and full airport information.
The beauty of what they did was the integration of otherwise separate systems that gave the airport management much more control and analysis and increased efficiency and therefore profits. Tim was Product & Marketing Manager for their suite of systems. Together they decided and delivered the company’s product line and roadmap. Tim steered the direction and Jim made sure it happened.