A lot has been missed. I decided to give a quick update in a single post.
IITK was fabulous. I met several faculty members and got good response as well as feedback. I also got contacts of some people who could be helpful in our venture. Student turnout was the only thing that didn’t go very well in Alfaaz. Our money was not spent in the most efficient way. We could have spent it better. But we learned from that. It would be okay so long as, as Abhaya puts it, we do not run out of money by the time we learn everything 🙂
Delhi was okay. The govt. agency I wanted to go to was quite easy to locate and I got immediate response – not something I was really expecting. Met couple of JNU profs about the start-up.
Stayed with a cousin, who stays in Gurgaon – arr… no! Gurgaon-Fareedabad Highway. And for a while I really thought I was going to reach Fareedabad and have probably left her place behind. But it did appear from nowhere. A huge residential complex being built beside the highway, where just a minute ago, the driver was suspicious of any human habitation. “Madam, यहाँ तो सब जंगल ही जंगल दिख रहे हैं।” And I agreed with him.
Gurgaon-Delhi metro is badly wanted. It is not funny that the only thing people rely on for the commute between Delhi and Gurgaon are Call Center Cabs. Uniform fare of 10 Rs., no matter where you are going – so long as it is on their route. Now, they aren’t supposed to be doing that. But there is a reason black-markets exist. Its not always about lower prices. Its also the availability itself – at any reasonable price.
Silly! Its not the first time I have been to Delhi/Gurgaon and shuttled between them. But this time I was not on with corporate luxury. Traveling from Google meant this – get out of airport, get into an AC car. Get into an AC, 5 star hotel. If you have to go somewhere there is the same AC car at your disposal. Almost any places visited were AC too. So, it was not unusual for me to not even realize what the weather was like in the city I traveled to. Now, obviously, many aspiring entrepreneurs would be curious to know as to how did it feel. I won’t be a hypocrite and say it was all fun. No, it wasn’t all fun. Having a car at your disposal is certainly so much more convenient. But it isn’t too bad either. And that’s the point. It might have been a little more difficult in a place where I had language problems. But in Delhi/Gurgaon, with the good old principle of asking around, I managed fine with autos, buses and yeah – call centre cabs. Couple of things helped. One was that I hadn’t been in corporate world for so long that I had forgotten the old ways. And the second was the realization that I didn’t have to do it. I am not broke, not yet 🙂 I can, personally, still afford to hire an AC car. It just didn’t make sense.
At this point, let me pause for a minute and say a few things about being an entrepreneur. I am not a successful entrepreneur yet. It is likely that I would fail miserably. So, does it even make sense for me to talk about entrepreneurship at this stage? What would anyone else contemplating entrepreneurship learn from me? So, let me justify this first. When I was on the other side of being an aspiring entrepreneur, I heard many people. Many successful entrepreneurs told their stories. Many others repeated them. There was only one problem I saw in all those stories. They were as dramatized as my story of coming from a small town in Bihar, living on my own in a private lodge in Ranchi, shuttling between tuitions and school and all chores, and still managing an All India Rank of 88 in JEE was. It is dramatized and simplified. You have the talent, you put in the hard work and you succeed. How simple that is! Unfortunately, when you are actually living through the drama, its not a drama. Its real life, its not fun. What it does not state is that it wasn’t fun running around in those hot summer afternoons from tuitions to tuitions, on foot, on cycle or on auto – not knowing whether it is going to lead anywhere at all. What it does not state is how frustrated I felt when I was so tired that I dropped dead by 9 pm and in the morning realized that I hadn’t completed either school homework or tuition work! What it does not state is how many times I felt like running away from all that, how many times I cried silently (sometimes not so silently) at nights – at the sheer magnitude of all the things I had to do – all at once. And lot many other things, which were not about having talent, or putting in hard work or succeeding. It was about living through that uncertainly of whether I have sufficient talent, whether I am putting enough hard work and whether even enough talent and enough hard work necessarily lead to the success I am aspiring for. It is that uncertainty that is difficult to state after you are over it. I don’t think I am able to state it properly for that period now, although I am making a conscious effort. I think what really helps is to know that the uncertainly is bad – and yet its not so bad. Its manageable. And you’d survive and go on even if it ends up in failure. Nobody fears success, when they are getting on to an uncertain path. They fear this uncertainty and possible failure. So, about entrepreneurship also – I have to say this. There is uncertainty. But its not unmanageable. Its not too bad. Even if it does not lead to success, I would not be dead. I would find another job, do some freelancing or start up yet again. I’d not die. And then there is that thrill of working on what you are passionate about, so long as the uncertainty does not turn into failure. If you succeed, nothing like it! Yeah – just like its bad not having a dedicated car. But autos and buses are manageable. You are not dead.
Although I was sick at the end of it. But it wasn’t just about autos and buses etc. I think. I was generally exhausted. The days before going to IITK had also been full of running around. IITK was tiring too. And mentally I was (am) handling too many things. The body does take revenge at times 🙂 To top all this, I guess I got tempted by the Bengali Fish-Rice, which wasn’t quite good. I could not digest it. Vomited repeatedly the next day. Had to cancel the plan of meeting more people. Went to the doctor. Thankfully recovered sufficiently by the next morning to catch my flight back to Bangalore. But was weak over the weekend. On one hand there was upset stomach, on the other hand there was cold. So, could neither eat something too cold, nor something too hot. Didn’t feel like cooking. Was alone. It was miserable for a while, but I am fine now. Mind is taking time to get back to doing multi-tasking. So, hold on for a while if I owe you a response.
But a sick person, who fails to do anything else, can still watch movies. Race – the lesser said the better it is. In short, it is a whole Ekta Kapoor serial compressed in 3 hours. Anything can happen, anybody can do anything. Forget anything about understanding people!
But Khuda ke Liye was refreshing, even if it had a slightly bleak climax. A Pakistani movie, and a bold one. A must watch I would say. Okay, now that I have reached here, I think this deserves a separate post. So, later…