Those were the pre-liberalization days when Television or Telephone or, Scooters were for riches. In our village, we had a family with a television. They also had a battery backup. After all, electricity was scarce too.
Those days, Sharjah Cricket tournaments were hot. By some magic or betting, India and Pakistan would always end up in the finals. I was living in my village with my grandma those days. And like everyone else, cricket was a religion for me. We had early dinner and, we were at Ramesh Kaku’s (uncle) house. We had our spot on the chattai(mat) in the verandah. Most village elders men were there. The place smelled like a bus stand with paan, bidi, hookah, and tobacco smells all around.
Ramesh Kaku(uncle) owned the television. He returned after retiring from the Army. His mustache reminds me of a pigtail, an angry man, high on spirits from the army canteen.
India won the toss and elected to bat. After the first 15 overs, it felt we were in a commanding position. We had lost no wickets. We had runs too. Every single run scored was cheered up. Some of us would scream, stand up and do a parallel commentary, advising players. Our elders would tell them to sit and enjoy the game.
After four hours of a nail-biter, India lost. My impulsive cousin Mahesh went and broke the television screen. A cloud of smoke with a smell was all around us. We were all speechless.
We had the sadness of India losing. Now with the television screen gone, another pain. Ramesh Kaku shouted, maro maro (beat him) and, Mahesh got a thrashing. He was laughing, not sure it was bhang or sadness of money he lost in betting.
A founder’s life is a roller coaster ride, someday painful while another with happy surprises. There is no end to it. One has to be or act like a router between customers, team, and other stakeholders. In the end, a founder is responsible for the journey of the rocketship. They decide and take the route they would like to: build another copycat product or venture into new territory with fearlessness.
Our life throws us all the choices. It rests on us which to pick: falling to FOMO is easy, giving up is easy but riding in equanimity and taking care of the crew is what matters most.
It is like traveling on a route with a limited map as an explorer and, everything that matters, in reality, is the journey.
If some founders say they know the end, either they are lying or are clueless.
I remember how attracted I was to converse shoes. From my first salary, I visited Sarojini Nagar market and bought half a dozen colors of it. Among all, I liked the red one most. I was watching too many vampires movies those days and attribute my likings to it.
What I am going to tell you will sound funnier. I went on my maiden US trip in my red converse. I decided to put my foot in the land of opportunity wearing it.
My excitement was short-lived. At the airport, my sister and brother-in-law met me. They asked my reason for wearing red shoes. I told them because I like the color. They inquired if I am attracted to males, to which I politely said No. I was surprised but inquired how the color of the shoe defines my sexual preference. He said it sends a signal. Next, I was in Walmart for a shoe purchase.
All ten days of my stay in America, my red converse shoe lived in my suitcase. I did not mention it to anyone. And when I returned, airlines had swapped my luggage, and it had gone to Eastern Siberia. The airlines asked about my loss, and I was speechless.
I was happy that if not me, my converse went to meet the Eskimoes and penguins. I was in the US to attend a Linux conference and, my red shoe went to meet penguins.
I told my then GF about the encounter and, we laughed for a few hours over beer and bidi. Next week, she had another pair of shoes for me. I think she had her internship paying her well.
Coco was not an ordinary cat; Rudra’s life circled around it. He had surrendered himself to Coco. He would care for Coco like his own child.
I was surprised to see Rudra maintaining a checklist of food, exercise, vet visit. I had never seen him taking care of his life with such clarity. Every decision of get-together, partying, or outdoor had to match Coco’s schedule. It reminded me of a king whose life lived inside the parrot.
Coco has been fed well, a cat being lazy; she cared about food and comfort. But the night of August had something else in store for Rudra. All of a sudden: Coco went missing. All hell broke loose, Rudra had a panic attack. He went in grief and hunger strike. The positives, he lost some weight.
All search operations got nothing. The apartment CCTV camera traced her leaving at wee hours all by herself. It was not that someone came to abduct Coco. It appears she left Rudhra at her own wish.
I met Rudra last week, and he seemed like a different person. Sometimes heartbreak makes you a better person and fuels you with seeking the purpose of self. Rudra has finally decided to switch his job, which he hated to the core. He jokes that Coco left me to make me a better person.
It’s ironic how we attach ourselves to others be it, humans or creatures, that at our own meaning and purpose end up living for others?
I have seen people living life with plans at a small and finite granularity. I have also seen people living life moment to moment.
In the former case, when a plan misfires, misery kicks in. While in a later scene we accept things as it happens.
I am not saying we should have a life with defined or un-defined plans. All I am saying is that we can only do things with the certainty of giving the best foot forward from our side. But expecting a desired or planned outcome from it is not wise.