Dexteyra Consulting Group Inc.

Photography by Mandeep across St. Lawrence waterway and an ice-hotel in central Canada.

A journey of North American home base lifestyle

 

Mandeep S. Oberoi*

 

December 8, 2009

 

Overview

 

In the baseball sport, you score runs as you hit the ball and round the bases. This analogy came to my mind when I was offered a job as a information management consultant with a well known consulting firm. I was told that I could choose to make my home base in any city in the US. I would fly to work on Monday mornings and return home by Thursday evenings. Fridays were characterized to work from home. My expenses for flights, hotel, food, car rentals, etc were to be covered by my clients.  The preposition was interesting enough to start the baseball match that I am still playing. My initial home base was in Seattle, followed by Parsippany in New Jersey, then Jacksonville in Florida, and currently in Toronto in Canada.


In true honesty, I am not an ardent baseball follower, though I did my research for writing this article because the more I learnt about baseball, the more I could feel the connection between the sport and my own "home base" lifestyle.

Over the years, I have traveled for my projects extensively across North America, Caribbean, Europe, and Asia. I have consulted govenments of few countries including Canada and Trinidad & Tobago (TnT). I have also consulted mutiple private sector businesses such as Bacardi Rum, L'Oreal, Nature's Own bread (Flowers Foods), and the Weyerhaeuser Company among others. I could learn some interesting facts about each one of these places and my clients. For example, the cricketer Brian Lara's home is a hill in Port of Spain, TnT. I was surprised to learn that Bacardi also owned Absolut Vodka and Bombay Dry Gin, among other alcoholic beverages. L'Oreal owns Ralph Lauren, Lancome, and Diesel, among other accessory brands. Now my most favorite Indian restaurant is not in India, but it is in the UK. It has been like a baseball tradition of spring training for me.


I saw two dimensions of fire in the office, though with a twist. A former colleague, a Texan cowboy was "fired" from his job. He was known to be possessing a licensed fire-arm. So we were asked to leave in a hurry after he quit angrily. Makes me wonder about the firing of manager Cecil Cooper by the Houston Astros in 2009. Another occasion was when my office building in Chennai, India was on fire.


Air travel and onboard flight experiences

 

Like all air travelers, I had a few in-flight experiences over the years. I have been into a flight that was the concluding flight of the aircraft and also another flight that was the last flight of a retiring pilot. 

 

I was on a United Airlines flight from London Gatwick airport to Chicago O' Haire that happened to be the concluding flight of the pilot, an ex US Air Force veteran's flying career. His family including grandchildren flew with us in the cockpit. As we reached the hangar, a large water tanker poured a stream of water on the cockpit for welcome while the passengers clapped. I could imagine how the fans would have felt during the retirement of Babe Ruth in 1935.


On another occasion, I had to take an 8:00 am Delta Airlines flight during November '07 from Jacksonville to Atlanta and then a connecting flight to Philadelphia. After all passengers were seated, the captain announced that he detected a technical snag and it will delay the flight by an hour and we had to be seated inside the aircraft. Eventually after two hours we flew to Atlanta where I was accommodated in the next connecting flight. Guess what? After the passengers were seated, the captain of the next flight also announced that he detected a technical snag in the aircraft. We were again seated inside the aircraft for two hours! I remembered reading about how audience had felt during the longest baseball game between the Milwaukee Brewers and the Chicago White Sox in May 09, 1984. The game went 25 innings and lasted 8 hours and 6 minutes and so did my delay.


Once my flight got delayed by 30 minutes at Raleigh due to a snow storm at the destination in Newark. It took 5 hours eventually to get the next landing slot at Newark airport.  The next flight of this aircraft had to be delayed because the pilots had finished their on-call time. It was close to the Steve Bartman incidence on October 14, 2003 that I read about recently. One of the fans, Steve Bartman, touched the ball to disrupt a potential catch by the Cubs that impacted the outcome of the National League pennant.


I happened to sit next to a lady in a flight who was a fellow consultant and her husband also worked in the same profession. I asked her how the travel works with the relationship. She told me that she was into her second marriage and this works better because they both get their own space.


Experiences with storms

 

I was caught on a severe snow storm on a weekend while all flights going into New Jersey and New York were cancelled. My boss who also had his home base in Parsippany told me that we shall drive because he wanted to see his kids over the weekend. As we rented a car, he handed the keys over to me and asked me to drive. I was taken with a surprise because I had no prior expereince of driving on the snow. Though I realized that the boss is the boss. So I drove 500 miles overnight from Raleigh to Parsippany through the snow storm. Being a consultant and a driver reminded me of reading about Cal Hubbard, an umpire in a MLB who was in two games, baseball and football.


After completing one of my assignments in Thomasville in Southern Georgia, I moved to Miami to consult L'Oreal. This was the time when 2008 hurricane season was beginning. While watching TV during lunch hours in the office cafeteria, we watched tropical storm Fay gaining strength which was initially projected to affect us in Miami. But as it came closer, it moved slightly to the West and went North, with its eye to hit Thomasville, GA. That was the strongest storm ever that hit the township, though just after few weeks when I had left. And the following five named tropical storms that were initially projected to hit Miami deviated their paths slightly to either the East or the West of the city. So I thought that I was immune to storms. But lately, I got caught off-guard in a hurricane in Toronto. I got a slight crack on my car's windshield. I reminisced reading about Canadian, Glen Edward Gorbous, who has the longest baseball throw on record. In 1957, the ball left his arm at an estimated 120 MPH. Travelling a longer distance could not save me from getting hit by a storm.


Driving and directions

 

My GPS always helped me navigate in North America. Though, it was easier to get directions in TnT in the Caribbean. It was alright to pull over anywhere off the road, even on highways and ask for directions. The small island country seemingly was quite bigger than Gaedel's strike zone that measured just an inch and a half. Carl "Eddie" Gaedel, born in Chicago, was 3 feet 7 inches and the shortest MLB player in August 1951.

 

While in Lyon, France, every time I asked for directions from a fellow driver, for some reasons mostly I got the same answer: "follow-me". Voila! That was easy. GPS was not very common those days in 2007.

 

Conclusion

 

When it comes to baseball, foul poles are really the fair poles. So is true in the SAP and management consulting business. Guess, because they are in the fair territory. Please stay tuned if you liked reading about my home base lifestyle.

 

*Mandeep S. Oberoi works as Director & Principal Consultant with Dexteyra Consulting Group Inc. He has also worked with large consulting firms such as Hewlett-Packard Canada’s Business Consulting Group and Capgemini USA LLC, among others. Some of his key past clients include Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), Bank of Canada, MolsonCoors Brewing Company UK, Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, Ministry of Works - Government of Trinidad & Tobago, and Bacardi Rum, among others. He specializes in designing SAP Best Practices based banking, finance, public sector management, and supply chain solutions. Mr. Oberoi has worked on projects across North America, Caribbean, Europe, and Asia Pacific. He was awarded a Medallion by the Indian National Academy of Engineering (INAE) in 2001.

 

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