The Lady in Pink

I fondly remember the day, I saw mom in her full strength. She wore a light pink gown like attire that morning. I was young but I could feel that she believes that the world is up for grabs. I was happiest that day. I felt most secured that day. And I felt most home that day. She hasn’t been at utmost comfort for the last year or so. She went through paralysis due to blood clotting in her brain in Jan’14. The fact that I wasn’t there for her when she was going through an operation makes me feel sad and bad about it. Her condition has improved but being a heart patient makes things more difficult for her. Lately, I am seeing her loosing her belief in life. Watching her struggle for a normal breathe every day is painful and heartbreaking. I wish I could tell her, you will be fine “one day”, but deep down I don’t know what our future is going to uncover.

For the last few days, my imagination is giving me hope. It is boiling up an event which I pray is true one fine day. And I want to live long enough to write a testimony to the blissful evening when I will see my imagination turns into a reality. Here is my sketch –

—–

A winter day about to hit dawn
With sun closing its eyes and lightning up the moon
Birds flying back to their nests, feeding their babies and chirping
And a slow musical breeze adding a plethora of lightness to everyone’s mood

Mothers and dads enjoying a light procrastination with their buddies
And at the same time watchfully looking over their children’s play
Old men and women sitting on lawns in circles with shawls and scarves
Feeling proud discussing their grandchildren’s success stories
And confident over their political and family views

Suddenly a loud whistle flipped my attention towards a warm house
A lady wearing a pink attire is cooking healthy meal for her family
She is lean with long black and brown hair and soft angled eyebrows
Washing dishes inch by inch and then moving sideways to ignite a stove
She turns back to my eyesight and peeks through her kitchen window
I think she is looking for her husband and is now relaxed
For she has found him talking to their friendly neighbor near a swing

Then she lifts her head smiling and waving her hands
As if she is asking me to run and come fast
I was confused because it was just me and my imagination
Suddenly my soul feels heavy as I watch a young boy going past me
As the moment unfolds, my eyes become heavier

He waves back at the lady, asking her to open door for him
She asks her younger son to open up the door for his brother
But he was busy contemplating at his childhood heroes
Seeing that she leaves the kitchen to go to the front door
Frustratedly looking at her younger child but smiling at the young boy
After helping him to washroom, she looks back at me
This time with a lot of hopes and proudness
Giving me chills of courage and self belief

This very moment, she was the most beautiful
This very moment, she was the most strong
And this very moment, she was the most confident

I wish I could experience this profound moment one fine day
But this time in reality not in a figment of my imagination and past memory
And this time, smiling and waving at a young man not a young boy
And I can tell you that I will be the happiest when it happens

—–

lady_in_pink

Image: Art by Giovanni Boldini

I end my post with a good piece of music for your ears – Loud Places

P.S. I dedicate this blog post to mom.

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The NEXT Chapter Begins! #startupjourney

Last year and a half has been excitingly eventful. It all started in August of 2013, when I joined Parth & Nikhil in their startup TommyJams. I vividly remember the day Parth called me. It was 10 pm on 19th of July when Parth and I had our first conversation on joining TommyJams. In the beginning, I wasn’t too sure about the prospect, but after a couple of skype calls with both Parth & Nikhil the next day, I decided to take a plunge into the startup world. I was so excited that by 21st morning, I had my train (from Jaipur to Bangalore via Delhi) booked to make sure I join them on or before 29th of July at Microsoft Ventures.

Why is MUSIC a dear friend and Why did I join TommyJams?

Music is very close to my heart since childhood. I participated in a lot of music competitions (group category) during my school days. There was, in particular, two reasons why I was so mesmerized by music. First, it made me super-happy (for no apparent reason) and second, it gave me a sense of being present in this very world. That was my fascination with music in school. Now, what about college? At BITS, I was exposed to tons of new music and especially to Indian music scene. At around the same time, I started following music talent shows like X-Factor. Watching hundreds of artists/musicians fulfilling their dreams on the X-Factor stage gave me thrill beyond measure. By the start of 3rd year, I made a promise that one day I am going to do something for musicians. So, getting an opportunity with TommyJams, where I can do good to both artists and music lovers was a dream come true. And, I joined them to experience that thrill and energy again!

MS Ventures days!

During those 4 months (August – November), we, literally, worked our asses off for 10+ hrs every day for 7 days a week. It was FUN! I am not kidding. We worked together, laughed together, and ate together. To simply put it, we wanted to accomplish great things no matter what. Apart of immense business knowledge/ethics from entrepreneurs, mentors, aspiring entrepreneurs and fellow interns, I also develop my love for technology in here. Technology opened up my mind to infinite possibilities. It made me believe that we have resources to impact millions and billions of lives. Two very important traits/features that I improved during this period were “how to be happy in all situations and how to share”. I thank Parth! for making it happen. I admire his traveller spirit. Talking about Nikhil, he is totally different from Parth. I learned the importance of focus, and hustle from him. Learning from other MS ventures teams was incredibly helpful and inspiring, too.

Important decision to JOIN TommyJams full-time!

After my gig with TommyJams at MS ventures, I decided to join them full-time. My first two months (Jan-Feb) were focused on business operations. At TommyJams, business operations include maintaining a proper sync between an artist and a venue before an event, work collectively with all the team members, taking full responsibility of on the day event management (micromanagement), and smooth handling of payment procedure after the gig. In nutshell, providing a smooth and enjoyable gig experience to both the artist and the venue.

March-November period – A roller coaster ride! Learned the true meaning of a startup!

Just after MS ventures program, we were selected as top 100 startups around the world by StartupChile program. By mid-January’14, both Parth & Nikhil decided that it was a good opportunity for the company to explore international expansion and kickstart operations in Chile through the StartupChile program. It was a huge opportunity for me, individually, to head TommyJams India. For initial few months (after Parth & Nikhil left for Chile) we only had a team of 4 people (Nikhil, Parth, Nandan and me) who were running TommyJams in India and Chile. It was amusing in the beginning to play (work) in different timezones. I still remember waking up 3 or 4 o’clock in nights fixing bugs and discussing way forward with them. Similar, was the situation for both Parth & Nikhil. Virtual team management is difficult to sustain, therefore, we decided to meet twice a week (Monday and Wednesday/Thursday) on skype. These meetings were sort of mandatory. We exchanged over 30 emails every day continuously for a period of 3-4 months, properly going through every piece of work. I know you must be feeling that it is micromanagement and it is not good BUT it was the right thing to do. I was totally NEW to our business and it was every important that we do the right things, right from beginning. That helped me a lot in developing self-confidence as well. My curiosity took a totally different trajectory during this period. I was responsible for the company’s business here in India, so it was my job to keep our company fresh with new ideas/suggestions/feedback. And boy! that was FUN.

During this time, we also collaborated with Solstice Festival, to organize our first International festival in India on World Music Day (21st of June). By early May’14, we hired Abhijit to kickstart our Mumbai operations (he later played a significant role in sponsorship deals for the festival). Throughout the preparation, we faced huge challenges. We had only 2 weeks to make it and since it was World Music Day, many other venues and organizations like Alliance Francaise were organizing their own festivals/events. We were facing stiff competition to attract good artists and to convert more and more venues for hosting our festival. Daily routine was damn! busy. We were setting up meetings with venues, sponsors and calling artists right, left and center. We were, literally, on a 24-hrs clock every day and at one point it seemed that we would lose it BUT Abhijit nailed Millers sponsorship at the right moment and with most of our calls getting converted towards the end, we were right back on track. After 2 weeks of sweat, frustrations, devotion, rejections, we proudly organized pilot run across 12 venues in Bangalore. Convincing artists/musicians to perform for FREE (to keep world music day spirit alive) was a gruelling task for us. Fortunately, 10 out of 12 artists, who performed with us did it for FREE (closing deals feels so, so good! ). And Seeing 100s of music lovers turning up for our gigs at each venue was a delight to watch. I remember Sharath (a friend of ours, who was also helping us) and I were running from venue to venue on 21st June night, taking gig photographs, counting number of walks-in and making sure everything go according to our plan. Shout out to him as well for making it happen! AND A huge thank you to Construkt Festival team and all our friends, who supported us and contributed during the festival build-up and operations.

Time was running away, rather fastly!

By August second week, I ran out of all my steam. I just couldn’t work. I wrote a separate blog on my August month experience here. But with Parth & Nikhil’s support, I was back on track by the end of August. Things were looking fine again but around mid-September, I started having doubts whether I can continue further with TommyJams. I discussed my situation/options with a couple of friends, other entrepreneurs and my family and after my home visit (Diwali breaks), I knew that my time was up. I developed my fascination and curiosity for startups in mobile space during my time at TommyJams and thus, I started my search for startups where I can find this right opportunity. Vikas, a good friend of mine helped me and I was finally able to find my next chapter!

MOMOE!

I met Momoe’s co-founders in 1st week of November. After spending hours and hours over the next couple of visits, discussing their ideas, team structure, vision, mine and their past experiences (both at college and professional levels), I decided to join Momoe from 1st of December. Just to give you an heads up, we at Momoe have a vision to change the way WE LIVE. We provide you an easy mobile based payment solution to pay when you eat out, shop and commute. So, make sure you download and try out our app.

Final Thoughts

Today is 28th November (and my last official TommyJams gig) and with only two days left, I can’t believe my journey with TommyJams is coming towards an end. It has been such a fruitful and enriching experience both at personal and professional levels. Made a lot of new good friends, whom I can bug day and night. The sad part is, last year around the start of December, I joined TommyJams full-time and this year from December onwards, I would no longer be with TommyJams. BUT the good part is, I can see myself becoming the person I always fantasized. You know, a lot can happen if you throw yourself out in/for something/someone you love!

Also, I would like to appreciate Parth & Nikhil for their immense support and guidance. They played a very crucial part in my development. And I wish you guys my best.

To end, I am very ENTHUSIASTIC about my new chapter. Hope I can write a good story in this chapter, too.

Happy Thanksgiving! 🙂

next-phase

P.S. My inspiration behind this blog post is this song.

P.S.S. I have not tagged Sharath because he is currently unavailable on all social media platforms. Super busy! guy 😛

 

 

 

 

That Moment was Infinite

I was bored. Working on laptop all through the day is tiring. I love when everything around is moving so I can observe and learn. Keeping this thought, I went to my apartment’s 1st floor. We’ve a small park there. It was 7:30 pm; buzzing with kids, playing as if they are infinite, which you and I’ve forgotten a long ago. Nevertheless, with earphones into my ears, I sat down, to enjoy and see what those kids are up-to.

Scene-1: Two girls playing Hide n’ Seek:

This was really intriguing. Why so? Both were repeating their play! At first, I called it a coincidence. Then, I followed their play for 10-15 mins, to make a right consensus. And it was overtly exciting and enthusiastically interesting to watch them hiding at the same place again and again. It must not be a coincidence, don’t you think. Yes, it’s not.

Here is what I learn: For those two girls, seeking is never the fun part. It’s boring for them and rightly so. Re-enjoying the thrill of finding her friend in the end, is what they really seek. To make it clear, let assume: after a long time, you are visiting your family. The commute is long and you are sitting in your car, waiting for “the” moment, when you hug your parents, brothers, or sisters again. And that moment, when you actually hug them, is infinite. And those two girls, as I understand, want that sensation of being infinite again and again.

Scene-2: A bunch of 4 kids helping an another kid with his bicycle:

This was an eye opener. A boy, in a vibrant red t-shirt, was having trouble with his bicycle’s paddling chain. He was really confused, with no-one around to help. Then, there was a bunch of 4 kids, who were playing on other side. I can’t say how they found out that this other kid needs some help but all 4 quickly came and pulled him out of his dilemma. They all smiled in the end. And those smiles, for me, was “the” moment of being infinite.

What I learn out of this: Everyone needs help. Life is a cycle. You help others, they help you in return and this way harmony remains intact. Thus, we all must put our hands forward for help, when we see others in trouble and doubts.

Scene-3: Five-six girls dancing all round the park:

I was confused, to be true, on seeing a girl, in a lively pink color dress, asking other kids to group and join hands. She instructed them something, that I didn’t hear. But what happened afterwards, was completely mesmerizing: they all started dancing; hustling and making their own way; bringing smiles to everyone watching them.

What they teach me: Be a leader in your life. Make others feel special about themselves. Group, hustle and enjoy together because such moments don’t come often.

Conclusion: This post is not about how kids make us learn. It’s about those small moments, when you feel you are the happiest person on Earth. So, take some time out of your busy schedule to re-group with your friends, family. I bet, in the end, you would’ve many memories to cherish and learn.

we are infinite

I can see it. This one moment when you know you’re not a sad story. You are alive and you stand up and see the lights on the buildings and everything that makes you wonder. And you’re listening to that song on that drive with the people you love most in this world. And in this moment, I swear, we are infinite. – The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Last few hours at BITS

As my journey today takes another turn into a mysterious path ahead, I recall the day I came here. That day my aims were different, were different in all perspectives. It was not because I was ignorant “3 and half” years back but was not strong enough to accept who I am. I was weak emotionally and being in a protective family and sometimes even over protective, I have not seen criticism and being among the top half of the class I was totally unaware about how the other half thinks. To be there is totally different (I get it now). Being shy yet good at making friends are two of the few good things I have inherited quite superbly from my parents but how to be “choosy” hasn’t been my cup of tea hence it has been a learning curve that has challenged me quite often especially in a past year or so.

I also recall the day I went for “Quark 2010” inductions (on gut feeling that it would be fun) but didn’t know it would have such a huge influence on my career options. Being it be the electives I signed for or the classes I bunked, the decision was always inspired by it. Though I would never miss those bunked classes but will miss “Biju Sir” for sure as his work ethics drove me to success at Quark 2012.

I always want to be around good people with ambition and down-to-earth personality not to just to hang out but to listen to them, and to see them behave and few of them which I would proudly be calling friends today has helped me learn. Also I never believed so much in mentorship as I do strongly think now that successful man needs a strong/successful mentor during/at every turn and you have to be patient to achieve higher goals. To conclude I strongly believe that my time at BITS was not about scoring grades, or failures or few successes but a reminder of “what impact I want to be” which I lost when I decided to go along with the rat race a few years back.

Keep going, climbing up the mountain and one day you will be huge

mountain_top

You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream – C.S. Lewis