“Be in the moment” by the girl that avoids Christmas!

What does it mean to ‘Be in the moment?’

<< December 2007: On Christmas Day just as I had settled down, I received a phone call before midnight requesting my attendance at the hospital to be with my sister. I was meant to be there at that time.

>> December 2008: I flew my first solo trip to Sydney, Australia. During that trip, coincidentally, on Christmas Day, I visited the oldest Sikh Temple where I had a quiet tearful moment to myself. It was there that I decided to run away every Christmas, go somewhere far flung and celebrate life by doing something completely crazy to test my endurance, challenge myself and feed my soul.


>> December 2017: I was incredibly restless but focused on completing my application for the PULSE programme. It had been an ambition of mine for a decade, since the programme had been established. Little did I know that the stars were just about to align.

>> December 2018: I am working with Save the Children Philippines, on the Christmas Campaign #LahatDapat targeted to raise funds and continue the delivery of the NURTURE Programme which supports children suffering from chronic and moderate malnutrition.

 “The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” ― Eleanor Roosevelt

Since 2008 I have been incredibly lucky to travel to the most beautiful and unique places on this earth, most of it on my own and I have learned much about the diversity of many cultures and our incredible environment.

10483737_10152086007386626_6499919114382662703_nChristmas 2012, I watched a sunrise at Haleakala National Park Crater, Hawaii. Armed with a camera I drove through the dark night; the stars were so visible and huge. I was sitting on a wall at the summit when dawn broke, the sun peeped through the clouds and the sky lightened showing clouds that were beneath me, it was such an overwhelming scene as my eyes searched the landscape which showed a volcanic crater and path.

Being in that moment was heavenly, I looked through the gap in the clouds and smiled, hoping she could see me.


Christmas 2014, I ticked off my first skydive at Lake Taupo, New Zealand which had boasted as being the only 15,000ft dive at that time. Feel the fear and do it anyway, right? That was probably one of the most insane activities that I have done, and one of the most exhilarating. As I floated down, I smiled and thought about her.


During this past decade I have taken a good hard look at each facet of my life and embraced the tough times but focused on celebrating the successes, I thought that I had challenged myself in every conceivable way, that was until my PULSE assignment this year. It has been the super-ultimate test that has pushed me out of every comfort zone possible and has led me to a healthier realisation that all life’s moments need to be embraced fully. Which means emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually.

A PULSE assignment is most definitely a business professional’s most extreme thrill-seeker challenge.  

I dedicate my work during my PULSE assignment with Save the Children Philippines to my sister, who was nicknamed ‘Chris’. It sounds quite strange for a Sikh lady, but everyone called her Chris as she was born on 25th December. She had spent her 50th birthday in hospital and on that night in 2007, she spent her final moment at midnight with my daughter and I.

Since then I have avoided the Christmas season by running away.

Please may I have some bread

I agreed wholeheartedly to my PULSE assignment even though its purpose was to fundraise for the Christmas campaign in a country where it is celebrated for a whole quarter of the year in the months ending ‘BER’. Let me tell you, Filipinos are crazy for Christmas and there is no escape!

“Why fit in when you were born to stand out.” — Dr Seuss


Since my departure in July and from the moment my feet touched the ground in Makati, I have been strategically placed to ‘be in many moments’ by the universe as my journey unfolded.

Through chance meetings, I have met and interacted with the most influential people, shared real life issues and united them with a common purpose – to positively contribute to societal changes that benefit others, the lens firmly fixed on little Filipino children. I have been resolute and unshakable with my commitment to the objectives associated with my assignment related to the campaign branded #LAHATDAPAT targeted at raising unrestricted funding, primarily to address malnutrition in the Philippines.

“It takes a long long time, and a lot of wisdom to discover the true Spirit of Christmas which is a sweet, internal peace that testifies of the power of kindness and charity.” ― Anon

My current role in GSK as Serialisation Training and Documentation Coordinator, Global Manufacturing and Supply and previous Corporate positions in HR, adequately equipped me with the knowledge and skills to fulfil my obligations with Save the Children Philippines as a Marketing and Fundraising Coordinator. I listened, used fresh eyes to look for potential opportunities and nudged things along to progress them. My curiosity drove the need of subtle changes to improve ways of working. Most of all I focused, I was bold and very determined to exceed in my targets exercising patience when faced with obstacles.

As tough as it has been, miraculously, I have successfully overcome my emotional detachment related to this season which has been more complicated and taxing.

The drive behind it?

Not monetary or status orientated but just simply to do the right thing for the vulnerable children using GSK’s and Save the Children’s values as my moral compass.

And, through this work I have rediscovered the spirit of Christmas, of meaningful giving to those in need. Now I am living in the moment!

Avoiding Christmas has faded into the rearview and I am finally ready to say something that I have not said in a very long while …

Merry Christmas Everyone 😊

“Lift up your eyes from your books, from your past, from your hurts and look upon all people with love, because when you look into another’s eyes and see innocence, you find it in yourself.” ― Dragos Bratasanu, Ph.D.

What’s your story? Everyone has a story!

#Changemyself #Changecommunities #ChangeGSK or #GSKchangedme

The PULSE Volunteer Partnership is GSK’s flagship skills-based volunteering initiative. Through PULSE, motivated employees are matched to a non-profit organisation for three or six months full-time, contributing their skills to help solve healthcare challenges at home and abroad. Our employees lend the same expertise that they have been applying in their GSK roles in order to help our non-profit partners.
#LahatDapat – Save the Children Christmas campaign where your donations will fund local programs on nutrition, among other efforts, that save at-risk children from dying and allow them to reach their full potential. Don’t spectate … participate … DONATE 🙂




  1. Phenomenal a real life experience of using self in the service of others and in doing so, we reap untold rewards for ourself. Super proud of you xxxx you are a true inspiration xxx

  2. You are so amazing, you are everywhere all time, sending pictures, I am so impressed by your energy ! When do you sleep if you ever sleep! And you are also a wonderful storyteller !
    Thank you to be who you are! 😍

  3. Have followed your story Manjit with immense pride.. that a fellow human being can have so much courage, love and dedication.
    The world owes much to angels like you xx

  4. What a powerful story Manjit – you put your whole heart into everything you do and it has been very inspiring to watch!

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