27 January, 2010

Netra and I go to Krishnagiri

At 110 kilometers per hour on an Avenger 200cc bike on the national highway, all you can afford to do is sit still and drive with full concentration. The adrenaline rush can be felt on the skin. There is a sense of thrill associated with it, however any mistake or a lack of concentrations on your part can be fatal. And it is all the more risky when you have a loved on sitting behind you.

I had been wanting to experience the ride on the newly built expressway over Hosur Road here in Bangalore. The Republic day seemed a nice day to try it out. So I asked Netra to get ready and vrooom we went off. Now bike riding is something that interests me a lot apart from Photography. Often I try to club them together, but it just does not happen. In the end its either photography or biking. Either ways I am happy.

So finally after a long time I decided to take Netra out for a drive. The past few months have not been very pleasant. We have not spoken much. As much as I blame it on the work pressure, I know that this is not fair on my part to do so. Just because ours is an unconditional love and Netra does not say anything, I should not take advantage of it. Isn't it. In fact no one should in true love. But let's not get there into the what to do and what not to do in true love. The whole concept of true love itself is a debatable topic in the first place.

So with Netra seated behind me, on the bike, I headed out to explore the expressway. Having experienced the horror of the traffic on the Hosur Road, before a zillion times, I must confess that this new experience was divine. I was smiling all the way along. I am sure Netra was too. Before I knew the flyover came to an end. The momentum kept me going.

The sun was still hot, and there was a lot of time in the sunset to happen. We decided to keep going on NH 7 and before we knew we were in Hosur. It reminded me of the many times I had gone to Hosur, some 35 kilometers from where I live, just to have a morning tea and dosas and get back. I like the hustle bustle that goes on in Hosur and the markets are a good place to do some nice street photography. So is the Chand-Choodeshwar Temple that is up a small hill, from where you get a nice view of the city below.

For an instance I did feel like going to the temple, but something in me just wanted to enjoy the ride. I kept going on and on. I see a milestone that says: Krishnagiri 40 kms. I look up at the sky. The sun is still high, I said to myself, and it would take atleast another half hour for the sunset to happen. Could I reach Krishnagiri in that time was the question that began playing around in my mind.

I had heard from someone that the view of the sunrise and the sunset atop the rocky hills in Krishnagiri is nice. I thought it would be a perfect romantic evening, if me and Netra could reach any of these hillock and watch the sunset. Netra would be happy too and as a result I would be happy too.

The air had begun to get cold and I had to take out my jacket from the bag as only the Tshirt was doing no good and I did not want to get sick with the cold breeze whizzing past me at that high relative speed! Also with the roads starting to get more curvy, I had to be extra careful.

Netra clung to me as tightly as ever. Her presence was a motivation to complete the short distance in the time that was available, as I really wanted her to enjoy the sunset from the spots I had heard so much about. With speeds in between 80 and 100 kilometers per hour, I kept moving ahead.

As we reached closer to the city, we could spot the small rocky hills. A beautiful sight. The warmth of the evening sun made the sight even more pleasant. In the end we reached Krishnagiri, just in time for the sunset. Did not get a chance to go up the hills, but was able to watch it from a decent vantage point.

I had chai and Netra saw the scene around while I did this. There was the cops in the middle of the road, which we both wondered why, there was a statue pointing to the sky, and there was this huge rocky cliffs that surrounded the entire city of Krishnagiri.

Sensing that it gets dark very soon, we decided to get back home. Chai over, a couple of shots for memory taken, and off we started on our way back.

Little did we know that the adventure was not over yet. On our journey back the petrol indicator needle was at the extreme end of finishing. In moments like these, panic sets in and the fear tries to disturb the concentration. The high beams of the opposite way traffic does not help either. I remember seeing a lot of gas stations while coming, so logically there should be some on the return too. The only problem was that I was not sure how far back had I seen the last gas station. I start to hope for the best.

Thankfully after driving around 5 kilometers, I spot a sign that says Bharat Petroleum gas station 3 kms ahead. With a smile and some extra josh, I reached the gas station and filled more than I ever would so that I do not run out of it again.

Got back to Hosur, took another short break for the lovely Dosas and chai and reached home safe and sound.

Later in the night, I asked her, did you enjoy the evening. The adrenaline rush, the sense of urgency and adventure, the fear of getting lost and being stranded on the National Highway 7 with loads of trucks going by, and reaching home safe in the end.

Netra smiled. I thought she did.
If only someone else could see her smile just way I do.


25 January, 2010

D for Discipline

I miss my boarding school days. Yes I do. As much as I hated the food, or the agonizing teases by the others for silly reasons, I still do miss the school experience.

Life at boarding school teaches you Discipline to its core. I am not saying that you do not learn it elsewhere, but it is an integral part of the Boarding School Experience. And at this point of time in my life when I am working a few things in some random order, I hate to admit that I lack that discipline. A discipline of finishing up things on time, doing things with full concentration and without diverting from the set tasks.

In my opinion a proper discipline is required in order to successfully set up a business. The business can be anything small or big, technical or non technical. Everything requires a discipline.

For a freelancer, or a person starting your own company (entrepreneur) a proper discipline is important. It is so easy to keep pushing things for the later just because you are not answerable to anyone in terms of time. It is so easy to pick on some bad habits just because there is no one watching you.

Often in the hustle bustle of activities around a startup, one fails to realize the lack of discipline. We fail to realize that things are not happening at the proper times, because all that we are thinking is that I am utilizing my time some way or the other. So things like chatting over the net takes precedence over going and taking some fresh air. Late night chats, Facebook and emailing takes precedence over early morning walks. One starts to work 24 X 7.

Now if Discipline was an easy thing, everyone would have done it easily. But trust me, it is not. It's all the more difficult when you are on your own. There are many components to this Discipline thing. I am just throwing out some of them here...

Time Management
First and foremost is Time Management. Time and again we hear from people that entrepreneurs are people who manage their times constructively. They are busy all the time doing something or the other. So managing the time in a manner that it leads to higher productivity is important. Also identify what are the activities that would result in, so that the productivity increases. Do decisions like should you choose a online game or reading up some subject matter? Watching TV or sending sales and marketing presentations. The choices are there always.

Then there is question of Procrastination which I think every entrepreneur should put an end to. I say 'end to' and not just improve on it. Now this is something that we as normal humans always do. But we have to strive towards that Say No to Procrastination situation. Write it in front of your table- Say No to Procrastination.

Be Answerable to Someone
The good thing is that you have no one to report to. But the bad thing is also that you do not have someone to report to. In my opinion one should have someone to be answerable too. It need not be the boss (as you are the boss of your own company), but someone else who is aware of the activities and the situation. So why not have that being answerable person be your spouse, the business partner, parents, guide or whatever. Also remember that in the end it is about being answerable to yourself.

Mind dump exercises

Do a mind dump exercise from time to time. Write down everything that is going on in the mind. Yes I mean EVERYTHING. And I re-stress.. WRITE it. Only when u do do a mind dump u realize how many things the ming is thinking about. Prioritize the tasks based on their importance and empty out the mind. Remember only when one empties whats inside, can there be room for fresher and newer exercises.

Timely Meals
Trust me. This is something that we tend to forget often. Breakfast at Night Dinner at 11. lunch at 3pm. Set a routine clock and stick to it. Morning 7 am rise means 7 am. Breakfast between 9-10 means it is done with during that time.

A time for yourself
In the end, do have sometime for yourself. Go out for a walk, relax staying away from the system. Interact with people offline, face to face.

I am no expert in the whole entrepreneurship arena, but am just sharing some experiences that I have been having in my startups.

17 January, 2010

The Priceless Feeling

You have to give it to the MasterCard fellows for creating the Priceless concept. Every time I have seen their ads, I have always yearned for such a feeling. There have been numerous occasions that have come close, but there are ones that are special. As a person who lives life by the moments to cherish, this priceless feeling is indeed a nice feeling.

Today was one such Priceless moment. A childhood friend had a kid a few months back .. and we are all uncles now officially. :) We had gathered at his place over for lunch. We here are 4 of us from the same small town in Bihar. The moment that I will cherish is the discussions on the childhood memories and the love we have for our home town.. Priceless. It is a feeling that one cannot describe in words.

Of late there have been numerous of these priceless moments. One of them being seeing one's own company take shape... after the countless nights of hard work put into it. and then Seeing first payment cheque in the name of your company.. Priceless. The present state of the company is a secondary thing. If the start is made.. there will be more to follow.

I had a dream of traveling all India before i turn 30. I did quite a bit myself, but now am doing so more frequently thanks to the photography workshops, being invited as a photography visiting faculty. But the joy of sharing the stories from the travels and sharing the knowledge...Priceless.

Start noticing these priceless moments in your lives, if you have not started it yet! Smile at it... and then spread the smile!

14 January, 2010

The four P's

One of things I love doing is sharing stories from my experiences. In fact I once wanted my job profile to read "story teller". Stories make really interesting hear during my presentations. Needless to say it also adds humor to the talks.

So today I was having a talk or just sharing some stories with one of my friend about entrepreneurship and what it takes to get into it. I was again sharing my experiences. I do also agree and believe that everyone need not go through the same process, but still it helps to know.

In my opinion entrepreneurship is based on four P's. The four pillars if you may call it. And if even one of these things is shaky, I think it impacts the whole entrepreneurship idea in a big way.

So I agree that it all starts with an idea. But in my opinion, what's more important is how passionate you are about the idea. In dire straits, it is only this passion that keeps the dream alive. What one is interested in, is hard to find or define, but its very easy to just let go of that passion. There are a zillion things which seek your attention, and hence the passion could change from time to time. One other way of looking at it is, to see how all things revolve around that passion. Passions is even more important, when your idea is one of a kind.

Oh do I really need to write about this? Lose the patience, lose everything. The dreaded D's come haunting. Moments of Despair, Depression, Dejection are just round the corner. The mind starts to play games and always tries to gives you options that would a) make you change the passion that got you started on the idea and b) always tease you by showing an easy way out. What you decide ultimately is a severe test of patience.

If you are passionate, and have a lot of patience, I am sure you will be high on perseverance. However, its easier said than done. Day in an day out you have to be at it with the self belief. There are numerous days when one is forced to think of giving up and just taking the easy way out. Not many are ready to face the reality when it comes to the likely days that one may get as an entrepreneur. So be prepared to face the storms happily. The storms could come in the form of a lack of motivation, the non commitment of the partner or others working with you, or financial situations.

So you have an idea, a lot of patience and perseverance and are willing to take the plunge. However there is one other thing that is extremely important. It's the people. Yes, the people whom you have met in the past and discussed the idea, will meet and will present the idea to, or could even be the people whom you are going to work with. In lieu of this last point, I should mention that the previous three P's are applicable to all the people who are going to start out with you. People (the one outside your company) are an interesting lot. If you succeed, their opinions about you are all rosy. But if you fail, their opinions are harsh. Instead of cribbing about a failure, simply learn from it and move on and do not worry much about what the other people will say.

In conclusion, I agree that entrepreneurship is not a easy game. Apart from these four P's there are a lot of other things that would be responsible. However if one is willing to take all these into consideration, and start out as an entrepreneur, I can say one thing. The satisfaction level that one gains out of this is way beyond anything else.

Would like to end with this favorite quote of mine.
"It's better to have tried and failed, than not to have tried at all!"


More on this series to follow.

13 January, 2010

Connecting the Dots

Recently a friend had put this up in his status message.. "Connecting the dots". I did not ask him why did he put that up.. or what he meant by it. But one thing that it did was make me think of connecting the few dots that are lying on all different planes in my life.

In my case, let us say that the dots are a result of the people that I have met and the interactions that I have with them. I am big believer of the fact that everyone you meet in life, comes to your life for a reason. The reason could be a variety of things. Some could be business, some to make you realize the value of things, some to shower their love, some to just do some harm in some way, which actually is a way to make you realize the things that you are missing out.

So as I said, the people you meet or interact have come into your life for a reason. Quite a few times, the reason is not evident upfront, and one gets to know it only when the person has exited your life for some reason voluntarily or involuntarily.

And when you are staying alone, or have your own company, the mind (yes.. the devil mind..) starts making the connections with these dots. Needless to say these connections often end up in a very complex network, but then that's the mind. It's job it that. No matter how hard you try not to, it still will do. And I think that is a lot to do with staying alone.

If one were to say in lay man's terms it results in is the mind playing kabaddi inside. And more often than not the kabaddi results in a not so pleasant situation. Insomnia, sleepless nights, mindless ramblings, futile waste of time on more futile things.

But in the middle of all this, somewhere there is hope. Hope that the dots would connect perfectly. But in order to know whether you are right or not, the only way one can know that is if you present the story that you build out of those dots, to a person who is a part of that dot network.

So say, I present that story that I have built after hours of contemplation, to one of those dots. What are the likely outcomes. The world laughs you off saying that you are thinking too much .
A part says that you say it all .. get it cleared. Either get a yes or no on the agreement on the story. It will result in the "letting go" of things and help one move on.

Oh, btw, did I mention that this letting go of things is not that simple as it sounds. You may ask, why is that? Well didn't I tell you that the mind is a devil. Even if the heart agrees to let it go, the mind does not so easily.

So if a dot you buried in the past resurfaces due to some circumstances, your great devil mind, decides that let's give another try. And you know what's worse? If that dot resurfacing thing happens from the dot itself and not from you. So basically, you a better story this time .. which will be more acceptable and again have the hope that this time around it will get accepted.

So you have two choices.
Move on without thinking about the past, or give it another try.

I am too caught in the net to find a concrete answer to that and find a solution.

05 January, 2010

Of losses that are hard to put down..

Dear friend,
We all miss you.

May your soul rest in peace.

God Bless your family.

01 January, 2010

New Year.. New Dreams.. Same Me


Wishing myself and all a very happy new year 2010.

Will be sharing a lot of my experiences with the startup and the life as a entrepreneur on this blog :)

Hope it will inspire more to take it up.. and a lot more to not make the mistakes that I did!

Happy New Year 2010!