Starting a Company Is Hard But….

Hunter Walk

As a seed stage investor to young companies (and someone who has previously worked at a brand new startup), I know it’s hard. Really hard. The type of hard where you joke that if founders could properly calculate the odds of succeeding, no one would ever start a company!

Two recent blog posts have stuck in my head which focus on the exception focus, skill and luck you need to build a startup. The first was Jason Calacanis’ “You Don’t Have What it Takes,” which, as the title suggests, is a plea to the 99% of founders who Jason doesn’t think have what it takes to start a company. And there’s nothing wrong with making that choice. As Jason writes:

“You see, what I’ve learned after 25 years of doing this startup thing is that 99% of people simply don’t have what it takes to lead a startup —…

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Behne Do – Rekha Bharadwaj

So I came across this beautiful song from the Marathi movie Shala sung by Rekha Bharadwaj about this kid who bunks a class and later finds out that his crush actually notices him bunking the class. He is happy to see his crush noticing his presence. The girl asks him not to bunk the classes further. And that’s the beginning of the song.

Rekha Bharadwaj’s beautiful voice adds depth to the situation. The song describes the boy’s feeling towards this beautiful girl. The video very brilliantly captures the first love of the boy; the stolen glances; those “supposedly” accidental meet ups at places, etc. A soothing music by Aloknanada Dasgupta gives the song a perfect closure.

In case you haven’t watched the movie, please do. It does remind you of your school days. Nostalgic!

Oath Of The Vayuputras Quotes

ImageI have this habit of collecting quotes from nice books. I keep underlining nice lines that I find in each of the books that I read. Then I make notes out of it. (I know, most people find it annoying to read the same book after I’m finished with it.) But I keep losing these notes on a very frequent basis. Today I came across one such note from this incredible book that I read last summer – The Oath Of The Vayuputras by Amish Tripathi.

Here’s a small list of nice lines that I found in the book.

  • A lot of people are capable, Neelkanth. What makes capable person truly dangerous is his conviction – Gopal.
  • Often, our immediate reaction to a sudden crisis helps us save ourselves. Our response to gradual crises that creep up upon us, on the other hand, may be so adaptive as to ultimately lead to self-destruction. (The Frog in the hot water cup story) – Ganesh.
  • “Shreyan sva dharmo vigunaha para dharmat svanushtitat” It’s better to commit mistakes on the path that one’s soul is meant to walk on, than to live a perfect life on a path that is not meant for one’s life – Parvateshwar.
  • Nobody in the world, not even God, can tell us what our duty is. Only our soul can can – Parvateshwar.
  • It is attachment that makes people forget not only their moral duties but even who they really are – Shiva.
  • After all, an enemy’s enemy is a friend.
  • You should respect a man, not his position – Shiva
  • There is nobility in truth, even if it hurts – Sati.
  • People have a tendency to do what they want to do rather than what they should be doing – Gopal.
  • Sometimes, for the sake of the larger good, one has to do things that may not appear right at the time – Karthik.
  • For history is written by victors. They can write it however they want. The losers are always remembered the yway victors portray them – Kali.
  • If there’s a victor’s version of events, then there’s a victim’s narrative that survives equally – Gopal.
  • A man becomes God when his vision moves beyond the bounds of victors and losers – Sati.
  • There is always unity at the end and it brings a new tranquility, But the meeting of two worlds causes a lot of temporary chaos – Ganesh.
  • But an inspiration before its time appears like a rebellion – Mithra.
  • Circumstance is just an excuse for the weak to rationalise their failures – Sati.
  • Delusions create the most compelling of beliefs.
  • Vengeance is a waste of time. Don’t surrender to anger. Surrender only to dharma – Sati.

This is a nice book and it gives an apt ending to the awesome Shiva Trilogy. Fast paced, logical, gripping. Although I found that some parts of the book are a little stretched out, than it was necessary. But overall the content is good and worth reading. Amish keeps amusing you with plot twists and turns. The books also changes your perspective on the mythological things that you’ve been reading/learning from your childhood.

Dabangg – A Movie Watching Experience

I was very skeptical about the meaning of Dabangg until I watched the movie today. “Dabangg” is the word for fearless and bold people who do not go by norms and make their own rules. Believe me, the movie was true to it’s name.

I watched the movie along with my parents at a local cinema hall and it was an incredible experience. I am not going the describe the plot or the line up of events of the film. So the post remains to be a non-spoiler alert. 🙂

Debutant director, Abhinav Singh Kashyap, has made a deliberate attempt at directing an ordinary script in an extraordinary way. The movie is a remarkable amalgamation of strong dialogues and powerful action sequences. The strength in the dialogues is marked by both the strong accent of North-Indian Hindi as well as Salman Khan’s buffoonery style of delivering them. The action sequences are good but they are a bit long and sometimes I felt like they were unnecessary. I cannot but help myself from saying that they were redundant, no matter how genuine they seemed to be. Apart from these, the movie is filled with some nice compositions including an item number, Munni Badnaam Hui.

Watching Dabangg in a cinema Hall was a completely different experience altogether. We were accompanied by a loud, noise-making audience that whistled and danced at every dialogue/song. As soon as the movie started, the local audience started complaining about closing the entry doors in their characteristic way. That was followed by Salman Khan’s entry which was received with a huge response. For some time, we were not even able to hear the words uttered by the actor.  The audience went gaga for every little action that Salman performed on the screen. For every song, the audience cheered up, danced and created a lot of ruckus by throwing coins and currency notes. The energy in the crowd was so high that for a moment I felt as if I was in a rock show and Slash had appeared on the stage.

The fashion sense in my town is highly inspired by the Indian cinema. Everybody in the town today owns a pair of Ray-Ban glasses, just like the ones worn by Sallu. And even the style of keeping them on the backside of the collar has also been copied. I learned about that new style in the interval.

Second half of the movie did not meet my expectations. As the Munni song appears in the second half, the audience went absolutely crazy and started dancing in the balcony. There was a group of 15-20 boys who were dancing as if they were dancing with Munni herself.

Altogether Dabangg was a great watch. I enjoyed the movie thoroughly. There is more than one occasion in the film where I’d laughed my heart out. Salman Khan was outstanding in the movie. Sonakshi didn’t have a big role, but she has justified the character that she played. Arbaaz Khan was good, if not better. I was taken aback by looking at the body of Sonu Sood. His role, too, was good and he has carried it very prominently. Vinod Khanna and Dimple Kapadia were okayish. So there we go. A complete masala entertainer with a little heart and some stupid comedy. It’s a must watch movie to all those who have been working hard for quite some time now. The movie will definitely relieve you. I give a 3.5 stars for the movie and believe me out of those 3.5, 3.499 are for Salman only. 🙂

A post on Procrastination

In the previous post, I had mentioned about my first endeavor with the Govt. Sector. I’d be continuing that story.

So, the next day I reached at the passport office at 5:00 in the morning after traveling for 23 kms from my place of residence. I was a little surprised to see 50 people in front of me even at that time. However, I was sure that this day I was going to get through the gate. And after standing in the line for the next 5 hours, finally I was sent inside the gate. The same line continued inside the office as well. The token guy gave tokens to some 40 odd people and then let us wait for the next 1 hour. It’s never easy to deal with these government servants. If you shout at them, they’ll throw you out of the gate; if you don’t shout, they’ll never do the work; and if you ask them politely, they’ll say they know what has to be done very well and I don’t no need to interrupt him/her.

Anyways, so after standing in the line for 5 hours to get inside the gate, add 1 more hour to get inside the office, finally I went into the office. There again, I had to wait for another 1 hour to get a chance to see the officer. Once the lady officer had confirmed the presence of all important documents and after checking my passport validity against her DB, she asked me to stand in another line to pay the money to another officer. Now, this another officer was a real bastard. All he had to do was: collect money from the people and stamp a few papers here and there. This guy was at the top of his voice, shouting at people to sit down and that he wouldn’t accept the money from people who were standing in the line. When I approached him, he refused to take the money from my hands and asked me to go to the end of the line. But the people behind me were supportive. They told him that I had been standing in the line with them for the past few hours and asking me to go back, at the very last moment,  would be a disgraceful remark on their behalf towards my honesty. He finally accepted the money and thus the deal was sealed.

Long story short: In India, never, ever get the paperwork done by yourself. I stood in the line for 8 hours, and I wasn’t even sure that I was going to get the passport till the last minute. Wait, I’m still not sure whether my passport will arrive at my place of residence in the nest 30 days!

I have decided to name this post as a post on procrastination, as I had been postponing this thing for many days now. And finally, on July 14th, I had accomplished this task with a strongly determined heart but with some pain in the ass.

P.S.: Feels good to do some real work in this real world. 😉

Corruption at Passport Office, Hyderabad.

Till yesterday, I was a proud Indian. But today, that feeling of patriotism seems to be silently drowning somewhere in the deep ocean of frustration, anger and hate. If you are wondering, let me clear the air on this.

Today, no paper work in India is being carried out without corruption. It is as if corruption and Govt. Services have almost become synonyms. There are, still, many sectors like banking and all which I respect to the core and are less subjected to the kind of corruption I’m referring to, but still, I see the whole Govt. sector as corrupt. My words might seem to be harsh, but then some time or the other these government employees have got to learn that their deeds are causing a lot of problems to their own fellow citizens.

I have been to the passport office five times now, (courtesy: the Passport Office, Hyd.) and every time the result remained the same. The first time, I was given entry into the passport office, but the application was rejected for some unspecified reasons. Rest of the times, I just stood in the line for hours and nothing productive came out of that.

I have now figured out that my way into the office is not decided by the validity of my documents that I’m going to provide, it is rather decided by the amount of money that I carry in my pocket.  The brokers and the security guards of the office have built a strong, invisible fence around it. And there is an entry fee for this exhibition. Only people who can pay Rs. 6000/- or more are eligible to get their way inside the passport office and get a fresh, new, ready-made passport just within 5 days. The rest are those poor bastards who think that they can get inside without paying the aforementioned amount and keep standing in the line everyday hoping that luck will favor them someday. I’m afraid, I was one of them. I, quickly, realized that my way to the passport office was possible only through a broker. So I went to ask one of them about their rates and the complete procedure of getting things done. Here’s what I learnt from them:

A. Brokers are never polite. They really don’t give a shit of what you think about them. They never take a bath. Their faces are unshaven with a thick beard growing in every direction on their cheeks. They chew Guthka without brushing their teeth. They wear 2 gold rings on every finger,  on both the hands, including the thumbs.

B. They never really tell you what documents you have to show and what documents you have to carry along with you at the time of verification until you start talking about money. And then they’ll give you 3 options. (at least I was given 3 options):

Option 1. Pay Rs. 350/- and your file will be taken into the office. Then stand in the line for tokens. When you get your token, you can get inside the office and get your things done.

Option 2. Pay Rs. 1500/- and they’ll buy a token for you. So, now you don’t have to stand in the line of tokens from 6 in the morning and get disappointed when the gate security guard politely asks you to fuck off.

Option 3. Pay Rs. 6000/- and relax.  You don’t even have to come here. If you want you can go into the office, have a coke, chat with the other employees, use the toilet etc.  The broker will make the passport ready in 5 days and deliver to you at your door, personally.

C. As my name was misprinted on the passport, I had applied for correction of the same. Now, the brokers are the gods of their will. They will pronounce correction as ‘collection‘, and some times even ‘corruption‘, as they are the kings there. (Hell yeah! They are right. 1. They are going to ‘collect‘ money from me for the work which is actually supposed to be done without their help. And 2. They are helping me to ‘corrupt‘ them as I am left with no other option.) Education and literacy has got nothing to do with making black money. Nothing!

Anyways, after knowing these things, I said to myself that I can get the token if I stand in the line and there is no need to pay them. So, I stood there silently for a few minutes. People (there) were discussing about the number of tokens that are given each day for passport correction/renewal. I came to know that only 150 tokens were given everyday for that purpose. I immediately went to the beginning of the line and counted the number of people standing in front of me. I realized that mine was the 95th position. (Fuck! 94 people came before me and the time was only 7 in the morning). Nevertheless, I was sure that I was going to get through the gate.

Fate, it seems, is not without a sense of irony. After allowing 60 people, the guard at the security gate asked us (the few unlucky guys) to fuck off saying that the 150 tokens were already taken and there was no point standing there. There was no ray of hope that could fetch us inside that gate and that no amount of argument would ever be sufficient to convince the guard. The only way we could get inside the office was by paying Rs. 1500/- to the broker. The broker, to whom I’d spoken earlier, came running to me saying that I should’ve accepted his offer beforehand. But still, I refused to agree. He then asked me to try convincing the security guard for the last time before leaving back home.  But that last forlorn attempt, too, was useless as this guy made some gesture to the guard asking him not to permit me in.

So, there I was! Broken, failed and disappointed with the system. This disappointment lead to some kind of frustration which turned into anger and quickly got converted into hate. I started cursing the system, the corrupt officials, and the bloody, motherfucking brokers and the security guards. But is there any use of cursing them, I wondered! Well, here I was! Living in the world of dreams, thinking that India is not as corrupt as the people claim it to be. How wrong I was!

Yet, I’m glad that I have a powerful tool with me. A tool, which can make my voice heard. A tool, which can help the desolate and desperate people like me to come forward and raise their voice against this evil nurturing in our own home.  I sincerely thank wordpress for giving me the freedom to express what I have come to know about my country, my people.

From K..K..Kiran to K..K..Khan

Some people can make success out of thin air. SRK is one of them. His way of delivering dialogues has hardly changed from Darr(1993) to MNIK(2010). Back then in 1993, the audience used to appreciate the obsession for love of a stuttering character. But its a little hard to believe that even in 2010, people still love the same stuttering but with a little difference in the story. There must be something wrong. Either the taste of movies among the people hasn’t changed over the time or SRK has come up with a formula for success known as “stuttering” :P.
PS: Pun intended. 🙂