I’ve always believed that stories are the best guide we as humans can ever opt for. So reading novels isn’t as much a crime as our parents make it to be. The truth is that we end up learning less from books and texts that try to make you cram information… and meandering through a story has the power to make even the most stubborn mind learn a few vital facts.
I can see a few sceptical expressions that seem to say, ‘Can you learn history if you’re reading a novel by P G Wodehouse?’
‘Of course, you can!’ Let me just add here that it is actually fiction and stories that are powerful enough to lead us on to investigating a point or an issue or a personality… and then we ‘learn’ with our heart in learning and understanding. Information is otherwise guests at a home dinner where you go and greet without really knowing or understanding anyone because you want to hurry back to whatever it is that you are doing at that point of time.
So, to prove my point, let me just say that I was reading a novel by Wodehouse and loving the humour in it when I came across Gandhi… and because of what I read here, I went over to the library and took out book on and by Gandhi and read them all.
“Courage, Tuppy! Think of Gandhi.”
“What about Gandhi?”
“He hasn’t had a square meal for years.”
“Nor have I. Or I could swear I hadn’t. Gandhi, my left foot.”
I saw that it might be best to let the Gandhi motif slide. I went back to where we started.
Look, let me just say that stories lead us to investigate our own strengths… as well as weaknesses. ‘Arise, Awake’ by Rashmi Bansal has stories of entrepreneurs. What I mean is that the book has a lot of stories of people who seem like us but who have taken the plunge to become someone… or have taken the right step to see their dreams in action. Let me just add here what I wrote in my review on Flipkart:
These stories tell us that ‘a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. But the road is slippery and wet. You don’t have the right shoes. You don’t have Google Maps. Yet, you must put that foot forward.’ The book is a peep into the way ten young entrepreneurs stepped out from having mere dreams and tried to ink in the real world all their assumptions of a great business. Yes, they are the sorts who have these catalysing start-up urges even as they are in college and then they do have the strength to say no to really lucrative placements only to plunge into the hypothetical world of success.
Like Aruj Garg, who started BHUKKAD even as he was studying in the prestigious National Law School in Bangalore, who realised ‘that the thing an entrepreneur really needs is a problem – a ‘pain point’ – to solve’. The pain-point that he identified was food for hostellers and went on to establish his company that now believes in ‘inspired alternatives’ even as he realised during his journey that an ‘entrepreneur is selling a dream, a vision of ‘how things will be’. While the ground reality may be quite different.’ Or like the creators of MAGICRETE, who believe that to ‘dream big, ideate karo, there are people with funds, funds is never a challenge.’
The book, as it takes a reader into the heart and the mind of young people with a dream, also takes us along the ‘6 spokes of life – finance, family, society, physical, emotional, and spiritual health’ and informs us helpfully that you need to ‘constantly maintain a balance’. There are business mantras as pithy as: Try toh karke dekho!
Not all the successful businesses featured have people who are plunging into the mad revolution that their mind proposes… there are people like Roopesh Shah from Inopen Technologies, who admits: ‘Your objective should not be, ‘I want to work for myself.’ Instead you should first work and if the work needs to be expanded, then you should start a company.’ Mad or insane passion isn’t something to fall for without the sanity of a decision-making that is based on experience is what some of these people seem to be saying.
The truth is that whatever they are saying is true… for them. Reading their lives or their conclusions are not the sole reason that anyone else can adopt for a venture into the deep, dark woods of entrepreneurship. These are probably the thoughts that some of those who ventured out have voiced… and the stories are not just about success. There are struggles, failures, the will to stay on, the ability to ideate and try again, and as the founder of DOSAMATIC says: ‘the toughest part of being an entrepreneur is dealing with your own emotions.’
To me the book read like a gripping anthology of stories with a number of protagonists and a number of characters… and all them trudging through obstacles to reach their dream. The book did not frighten me at all as I was fascinated at the way young minds were able to interpret and convert what they saw into viable business opportunities. My only lament was why I waited until I was in my mid-fifties to leave all else and follow my dream.
Details of the book:
Title: Arise, Awake
Author: Rashmi Bansal
Publisher: Westland Ltd
Price: Rs 200/- (in 2015)
Buy on Flipkart: Buy Arise
13 February 2015